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Today, as we understand the concept of time, it is relatively easy. A year divided into months, months into days, and days into hours and so on. Except for the time zones being different in different regions of the earth there is no discrepancy that we come across. But I’m sure it was not that simple for our ancestors. They used various elements of nature – the sun, the moon, the tides, and the stars to read time. The Egyptians were the first people to design the concept of a day divided into hours and further into minutes.
Without going much into the history of the concept of time let us concentrate in learning some words in Hindi to refer to time and days. Hindi as a language runs not only through the length and breadth of the country but through the sub continent. The influence of Urdu on the commonly spoken language is heavy. Many words of the English language are also accepted as part and parcel of the daily language, but basic knowledge of the language is always welcome. Knowledge of the language facilitates travel and assimilation.
Please note that the italicized words are in Hindi. The article lists words used in everyday language.
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Months and Days of the Week
In Hindu Mythology the months are different from the months of the Georgian Calendar. The Hindu Year begins with Chaitra (starting towards the end of March) followed by Vaisakha, Jyaistha, Asadha, Shravana, Bhadra, Asvina, Kartika, Agrahayana, Pausa, Magha, and Phaguna. Names of the month as used in the Georgian Calendar are used and understood in India today. The pronunciation may differ from region to region.
The days of the week according to Hindu Mythology are dedicated to specific planets. They are as follows: Ravivaar- day of Sun (Sunday), Somvaar- day of Moon (Monday), Mangalvaar- day of Mars (Tuesday), Budhvaar- day of Mercury (Wednesday), Guruvaar- day of Jupiter (Thursday), Shukrvaar- day of Venus (Friday) and Shanivaar- day of Saturn (Saturday). Week is Hafta or Saptha.
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To tell the time in Hindi is easy. In India, we use the 12-hour clock. To denote the hour we simply say ek baja hai (It is one o’clock), do baje hai (It is two o’clock) and so on till twelve. The words subah, dopahar, shaam, raat can be prefixed to the time to indicate whether it is morning, afternoon, evening or night.
Discussing a few in detail: 12:00 midnight would be raat ke bahra baje, 12:15 at night would be raat ke sava bahra, 12:30 at night would be raat ke sadhe bahra and 12:45 at night. would be raat ke paune ek. We can also state the time as bahra baj ke pandreh minute (12:15 a.m.), bahra baj ke tees minute (12:30 a.m.) and bahra baj ke pentalis minute (12:45 a.m.). 12 noon would be dopahar ke barah baje, 05:15 p.m. would be shaam ke sava paanch and 10:30 p.m. would be raat ke sade dus.
It is only at 1:30 both early morning and afternoon for which a different term is used. To say the time is half past one, we would say deedh baja hai. Again to denote night or afternoon we can use the words raat and dopahar. The article learning Numbers in Hindi can be read to learn more.
Some more words that help us to convey the concept of time are:
Wall Clock: Deewar Ghadi
Tomorrow: kal (aane wala)
Yesterday: kal (beeta hua)
Nowadays: aaj kal
Sometimes: kabhi kabhi
After: baad mein
For your interest: I would like to share an interesting fact. There is a temple in the city of Konark, Orissa. The temple is known as The Sun Temple or The Konark Temple. The temple is designed in the shape of a chariot. The chariot is carrying the Sun God (Surya Devtaa). The chariot has twenty four wheels and seven horses. The wheels denote the hours of the day and the horses denote the days of the week. The wheels serve as sundials and the shadows give the precise time of the day.