Cham calendar

The Cham calendar (Cham: ꨧꨆꨥꨪ sakawi) is a lunisolar calendar used by the Cham people of Vietnam since ancient times. Its origins is based on Saka Raja calendar which was influenced by the Shaka era (78 CE) Indian Hindu calendar, with the current standard called Sakawi Cham likely instituted during the reign of Po Rome of the Champa kingdom.[1]


The Cham calendar has a system of a set of revolving cycles of days, weeks, months ad years. The Cham month consists of two lunar phases of 15 days each. The 1st half denotes the full moon phase called Bingun, while the new moon phase is called Kanam. The 12 year cycle similar to Chinese zodiac is referred to as Nâthak. The Cham calendar known as Sakawi Cham is a term used to encompass two calendar variants.[1]

  • Sakawi Ahier: This is used by Balamon Hindu Chams and is lunisolar in nature.
  • Sakawi Awal: This is used by Bani Muslim Chams and is lunar in nature.

The calendar is used as an agricultural almanac to ascertain the time of cultivation. The biggest Cham festival known as Kate festival falls on the 1st day of the seven Cham month.

Sakawi AhierEdit


The names of the days of the Cham week were derived from their Sanskrit names used in the traditional Hindu calendar.

Gregorian Day Cham day (Haray)
Sunday Adit
Monday Thom
Tuesday Angar
Wednesday But
Thursday Jip
Friday Suk
Saturday Thanchar

The length of the month: the full month (balan tapăk) has 30 days and the hollow month (balan u) has 29 days.

Gregorian month Cham month (Balan)
1st month Balan sa
2nd month Balan dua
3rd month Balan klau
4th month Balan pak
5th month Balan lima
6th month Balan nam
7th month Balan tijuh
8th month Balan dalapan
9th month Balan salapan
10th month Balan sa pluh
11th month Balan sa plu sa
12th month Balan sa plu dua

Cham zodiacEdit

The Cham zodiac is similar to the Chinese zodiac in its usage and arrangement of animals, but replaces the Monkey with the turtle (kra).

Chinese zodiac Cham zodiac (nâthak)
Rat Tikuh
Buffalo Kubao
Tiger Rimaong
Rabbit Tapay
Dragon Inagirai
Snake Ulanaih
Horse Athaih
Goat Pabaiy
Turtle Kra
Rooster Manuk
Dog Athau
Pig Papwiy

Sakawi AwalEdit

This variant is influenced by of 12 Arabic lunar months system consisting of 29-30 days. It uses an 8 year cycle called Ikessarak. This variant is used for certain Islamic festivals observed by the Bani Chams.[1]

Year Cycle Pattern
1 Lieh Normal, Leap
2 Hak Leap, Normal
3 Jim Normal, Leap
4 Jay Normal, Normal
5 Dal Leap, Normal
6 Bak Normal, Leap
7 Wao Normal, Normal
8 Jim Luic Leap, Normal


Important festivals in the Cham calendar:

  • Rija Nukan- Cham New Year(Mar/Apr)[1]
  • Katê- Harvest festival(Sep)[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Tran Ky Phuong, Bruce Lockhart (2011-01-01). The Cham of Vietnam: History, Society and Art. NUS Press. p. 326-335.
  2. ^ "The Great Indian festive culinary trail for November". Vietnam Plus. September 30, 2019.

Further readingEdit