Today is New Years Day in Nepal, the month is Baisakh and the year is 2076 …. I think! So today in Nepal using the Bikram Sambat it is Baisakh 1, 2076, whilst on the rest of most of the planet it’s April 14th and Dr Bs birthday. My birthday always falls on April 14th but not always on Baisakh 1, because we use the Gregorian calendar whereas in Nepal they use a Lunar calendar!
Why am I telling you all this? Well it’s part of the answer to Andrew my blogging mate who a little while ago asked me to explain why it was so difficult to research my wife, Dr C’s, family tree.
Firstly it’s because of the calendar system where there is actually MORE than one calendar in use in Nepal with for example the Sherpa people celebrating their New Year, Lhosar, this year on February 5th, whereas last year it was February 18th. Try coordinating dates of birth, marriage and death across family lines and geographic boundaries and you’d go insane!
Second, the distinct lack of documentation is more than a minor irritant! For example Dr C has no birth certificate but knows the date, Bikram calendar, she was born. So when she applied for British citizenship in 1971 she had to explain this to the home office and then calculate backwards what date she was born using a Gregorian scale. Since that day she has always had two bloody birthdays, one fixed Gregorian, and one moveable Bikram! Most records of ancestry are verbally passed on.
Third, the language and script is just SO different. It’s possible to learn to speak phonetically as I did mostly for mountaineering trips, but well nigh impossible to read and write. So even if there WERE official documents, they couldn’t be digitised directly into readable script anyway. See if you can read this:
What it actually says is:
“A very happy new year to all of our family and friends across Nepal, and to every follower of our blog. The Two Doctors hope you have a prosperous and fulfilling year, and make plenty of resolutions you actually keep! And …. A happy birthday to my dear husband.”
And finally, here’s Dr C’s family tree passed on by word of mouth.