2008 is the year of the earth Mouse (2135). The full moon falls on the 15th day and the new moon on the 30th. Occasionally there are discrepencies when calculating between the lunar calendar and the western solar calendar. In the lunar calendar this is rectified by adding additional days or dropping days from the calendar month or adding an additional month into the year. By counting forward or backward from the full moon day the correct Sakya holidays from the list below can be arrived at without to much difficulty. With Windows operating systems use the shareware program Lunabar to put a changing lunar phase icon on the desktop tray.
The following is an extract from In the Presence of My Enemies; Memoirs of Tibetan Nobleman Tsipon Shuguba.
"It is difficult to work out an exact corollary between the Tibetan calendar and the one used in the West. First, our lunar year consists of twelve thirty-day months -- which adds up to three hundred and sixty days -- so an extra month is added every third year and may be inserted any place among the twelve which is considered auspicious for that particular year. The next difficulty arises because the real lunar year has only three hundred and fifty-four days so a certain number of days must be left out each year. There are squares on our calendars with no number but only the word chod, meaning "cut off." That day for that particular year no longer exists. Also, in order to avoid an unlucky day, an auspicious date may happen twice. That particular date repeated in two consecutive squares will be offset by chods elsewhere in the year.
Toward the end of each year a new calendar is worked out by the state astrologers. Consequently, no one knows what the next year will contain until it has almost started. Therefore, it is often difficult to plan festivals accurately, as the dates -- particularly for the New Year's Festival -- are not known much in advance. The Monlam Festival usually occurs somewhere during mid-February to mid-March on the Western calendar. Our months are numbered instead of having names, but the days of the week are named after the planets as in the West.
Our calendar has always been based, since the ancient days of King Gesar and perhaps before, on a great twelve-year cycle. Each year is named after an animal: mouse, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, bird, dog, and pig. In the eleventh century, a sixty-year cycle was introduced by combining the names of the animals with the five elements: wood, fire, earth, iron, and water.
Our new year begins officially as Losar with the rising of the new moon March or February, depending on when and where the extra month has been added that year. Monlam begins on the third or fourth day of the new year, depending on whether or not there was a missing day at the beginning of the year. This festival celebrates Buddha Sakyamuni's triumph over the evil spirits who tempted him during his meditations." --- Tsipon Shuguba
[In the Presence of My Enemies; Memoirs of Tibetan Nobleman Tsipon Shuguba. By Sumner Carnahan with Lama Kunga Rinpoche. Clear Light Publishers, Santa Fe, New Mexico: 1995, (page 58)].
Regular Holy Days:
The four Great Celebrations during the year:
(1) Shakyamuni Buddha displayed miracles from the 1st to the 15th of the 1st Month.
(2) [a] The Birth of Shakyamuni Buddha, 7th day of the 4th Month; [b] entering the womb, [c] attaining complete enlightenment at dawn, and [d] passing into parinirvana at dusk, all on the 15th day of the 4th Month.
(3) The first turning of the Wheel of Dharma on the 4th day of the 6th Month.
(4) The Descent from the Divine Realms; Shakyamuni agreed to descend on the 15th of the 9th Month and actually descended on the 22nd of the 9th Month.
Regular Monthly Holy Days:
The Six Holy Days of the month are the; 8th, 14th, 15th, 23rd, 29th and New Moon.
The Three Holy Days are the; Full Moon, New Moon and 8th day.
Solar and Lunar eclipses are auspicious times to practice.
Regular Monthly Special Days:
1st Day - Buddha Samadhipradharaja (Kshitigarbha Sutra).
3rd Day - Dharmapala Tsiu Marpo.
8th and 29th Days - Medicine Buddha, (merit is increased one hundred-fold. Kshitigarbha Sutra).
8th, 14th, 23rd and 29th Days - Shri Hevajra.
9th, 19th and 29th Days - All Dharmapalas, Panjarnata and Chaturmukha Mahakala, and others.
10th Day - Padmasambhava.
10th and 25th Days - Vajrayogini.
14th Day - the Thousand and Two Buddhas (Kshitigarbha Sutra).
14th Day - Dharmapala Magzor Gyalmo, Shri Devi, Rabtenma and others.
15th Day - All Peaceful Deities (merit is increased one hundred-fold. Kshitigarbha Sutra).
15th and 28th Days - Amitabha Buddha (Kshitagarbha Sutra).
21st Day - Avalokiteshvara (Kshitagarbha Sutra).
23rd Day - Vairochana Buddha (Kshitigarbha Sutra).
24th Day - Kshitigarbha (Kshitigarbha Sutra).
30th Day - Shakyamuni Buddha, (merit is increased one hundred-fold. Kshitigarbha Sutra).
1st Month, 1st - 15th days - Shakyamuni Buddha displaying miracles.
1st Month, 3rd Day - Anniversary of Dragshul Tinley Rinchen.
1st Month, 21st Day - Anniversary of Gorampa Sonam Sengge.
1st Month, 21st Day - Anniversary of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.
1st Month, 26th Day - Birthday of Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen.
2nd Month, 8th Day - Anniversary of Yabje Kunga Rinchen of the Drolma Podrang.
2nd Month, 12th Day - Anniversary of Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen.
2nd Month, 26nd Day - Anniversary of Jetsun Taranata.
2nd Month, 30th Day - Anniversary of Loter Wangpo.
2nd Month, 30th Day - Anniversary of Khangsar Jampa Sonam Zangpo.
2nd Month, 30th Day - Birthday of Tinley Rinpoche of the Phuntsok Podrang.
3rd Month, 18th Day - Anniversary of Sazang Pagpa Shonnu Lodro.
3rd Month, 18th Day - Anniversary of Dezhung Rinpoche.
3rd Month, 29th Day - Anniversary of Tarlam Mahasiddha Kunga Namgyal.
3rd Month, 29th Day - Anniversary of Luding Khenchen Jamyang Tupten Lungtok Gyaltsen.
3rd Month, 29th Day - Anniversary of Ngagwang Legpa.
4th Month, 7th Day - Birth of Shakyamuni Buddha.
4th Month, 8th Day - Anniversary of Khenchen Ngagwang Chodag.
4th Month, 12th Day - Anniversary of Khangsar Khenchen Lama Dampa.
4th Month, 15th Day - Shakyamuni Buddha's Enlightenment and Parinirvana Day.
4th Month, 23rd Day - Anniversary of Mahasiddha Virupa.
4th Month, 25th Day - Anniversary of Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo.
5th Month, 6th Day - Anniversary of Khyentse Chokyi Lodro.
5th Month, 21st Day - Anniversary of Jamyang Khyentse Wangchug.
5th Month, 21st Day - Anniversary of Mangto Ludrup Gyatso.
6th Month, 4th Day - Chokor Duchen - Shakyamuni's first sermon at Deer Park.
6th Month, 10th Day - Anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava.
6th Month, 10th Day - Anniversary of Sakya Lotsawa Kunga Sonam.
6th Month, 20th Day - Anniversary of Buton Rinchen Drub.
6th Month, 20th Day - Anniversray of Ngagwang Tutop Wangchug.
6th Month, 25th Day - Anniversary of Lama Dampa Sonam Gyaltsen.
6th Month, 29th Day - Anniversary of Ngor Ponlop Jamyang Ngagwang Legdrub.
7th Month, 5th Day - Anniversary of Panchen Shakya Shribhadra.
7th month, 12th Day - Anniversary of Sakyapa Ngagchang Kunga Rinchen.
7th Month, 15th Day - Anniversary of Tsarchen Losal Gyatso.
7th Month, 15th Day - Anniversary of Zhuchen Tsultrim Rinchen.
8th Month, 1st Day - Birthday of Khyabgon Sakya Trizin Ngawang Kunga.
9th Month, 4th Day - Anniversary of Dagchen Lodro Gyaltsen.
9th Month, 4th Day - Anniversary of Tartse Jampa Kunga Tenpai Gyaltsen.
9th Month, 14th Day - Anniversary of Bari Lotsawa Rinchen Drag.
9th Month, 14th Day - Anniversary of Khon Konchog Gyalpo.
9th Month, 14th Day - Anniversary of Sachen Kunga Nyingpo.
9th Month, 15th Day - Shakyamuni Buddha agrees to descend from the Divine Realms.
9th Month, 18th Day - Birthday of Gongma Jigdal Dagchen Sakya.
9th Month, 22nd Day - Lha Bab Duchen - Shakyamuni's Descent from the Divine Realms.
10th Month, 8th Day - Anniversary of Muchen Sempa Chenpo.
10th Month, 15th Day - Anniversary of Doring Kunpang Chenpo.
10th Month, 20th Day - Anniversary of Gyalse Togme.
11th Month, 11th Day - Anniversary of Lobpon Sonam Tsemo.
11th Month, 14th Day - Anniversary of Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen.
11th Month, 22nd Day - Anniversary of Drogon Chogyal Pagpa.
11th Month, 22nd Day - Anniversary of Dezhung Ajam Rinpoche.
12th Month, 14th Day - Anniversary of Rongton Sheja Kunrig.
12th Month, 17th Day - Anniversary of Lochen Rinchen Zangpo.
12th Month, 17th Day - Anniversary of Tarlam Jamyang Losal.
12th Month, 25th Day - Anniversary of Khenchen Shonnu Lodro.
Buddhist Astrology: Chart Interpretation from a Buddhist PerspectiveTibetan Astronomy and Astrology, by Jhampa Shaneman, Jan V. Angel, Dalai Lama (Introduction). (Available from Amazon.com)
Tibetan Astronomy and Astrology: A Brief Introduction. Men-Tsee-Khang (Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute of H.H. the Dalai Lama. Dharamsala, 1995. (Available from Amazon.com)
Tibetan Elemental Astrology by Tsering Dolma Drungtso (Paperback - 2002).
Tibetan Elemental Divination Paintings, Illuminated Manuscripts from the White Beryl of Sangs-rgyas rGya-mtsho.
Tibetan Astrology by Philippe Cornu. Translated from the French by Hamish Gregor. Shambhala: Boston and London, 1997. (Available from Amazon.com)