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Festivals of India

Makar Sankranti or Pongal

Uttrayan

Makar Sankranti or Pongal marks the transition of the Sun into Makar rasi. It marks the gradual increase of the duration of the day.
Makar Sankranti is the day when the glorious Sun-God begins its ascendancy and entry into the Northern Hemisphere and thus it signifies an event wherein the Sun-God seems to remind their children that ‘Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya’- may you go higher & higher, to more & more Light and never to Darkness.
Different states in India mark this festival in different ways. Makar Sankranti is a very auspicious period and in states of Karnataka, Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh, Sankranti is a festival of goodwill and friendship.
To mark the auspicious Makar Sankranti, people of Gujarat fly kites. In Maharastra and Karnataka people exchange Til, molasses and coconut to acknowledge Sankranti. They believe that exchange of sweet will fill their lives with sweetness in the year to come.

Vasant Panchami

Vasant Panchami

It is believed that on this day goddess Saraswati was born. Hindus celebrate Vasant Panchami with great fervor in temples, homes and even schools and colleges. Saraswati’s favorite color white assumes special significance on this day.
This festival is celebrated every year on the 5th day or ‘Panchami’ of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Magha, which falls during January-February.
Vasant’ comes from the word ‘spring’ as this festival heralds the beginning of the spring season.

Holi

Holi

Holi commemorates the slaying of the demoness Holika by Lord Vishnu’s devotee Prahlad. Thus, the festival’s name is derived from the Sanskrit words “Holika Dahanam”, which literally mean “Holika’s slaying”
Holi – the festival of colors – is undoubtedly the most fun-filled and boisterous of Hindu festival. It’s an occasion that brings in unadulterated joy and mirth, fun and play, music and dance, and, of course, lots of bright colors!
In fact, on the days of Holi, you can get away with almost anything by saying, “Don’t mind, it’s Holi!” (Hindi = Bura na mano, Holi hai.)

Maha Shivaratri

mahashivaratri

Maha Shivratri, the night of the worship of Lord Shiva, occurs on the 14th night of the new moon during the dark half of the month of Phalguna. It falls on a moonless February night, when Hindus offer special prayer to the lord of destruction.
Shivratri is the night when he is said to have performed the Tandava Nritya or the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction. The festival is observed for one day and one night only.

Rama Navami

Ramnavmi

Ram Navami is a festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Rama. Rama Navami falls on the ninth day of a Hindu lunar year or Chaitra Masa Sukla paksha Navami, which usually falls in March or April. Lord Rama is an avatar of Lord Vishnu who came down to earth to battle the invincible Ravana in human form.
The important celebrations on this day take place at Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) Sita Samahit Sthal (Sitamarhi) (Bihar), Bhadrachalam (Andhra Pradesh) and Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu), thronged by thousands of devotees. Rathayatras, the chariot processions, also known as Shobha yatras of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman, are taken out at several places,including Ayodhya where thousands of people take a dip in the sacred river Sarayu.

Gudi Padwa

GudiPadwa

Gudhi Padva, is the Marathi name for Chaitra Shukla Pratipada.It is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month to mark the beginning of the New year according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar.
This day is also the first day of Chaitra Navratri and Ghatasthapana also known as Kalash Sthapana is done on this day.

Hanuman Jayanti

HanumanJaynti

Hanuman Jayanti or Hanumath Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman, the Vanara god, widely venerated throughout India. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the Shukla Paksha, during the month of Chaitra (the Chaitra Pournimaa).
Hanuman is an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, and is worshipped for his unflinching devotion to the god. From early morning, devotees flock Hanuman temples to worship him.
Hanuman Jayanti is an important festival of Hindus. Hanuman is the symbol of strength and energy.

Raksha Bandhan

rakshabandhan

The chaste bond of love between a brother and a sister is one of the deepest and noblest of human emotions. ‘Raksha Bandhan’ or ‘Rakhi’ is a special occasion to celebrate this emotional bonding by tying a holy thread around the wristThis thread, which pulsates with sisterly love and sublime sentiments, is rightly called the ‘Rakhi’. It means ‘a bond of protection’, and Raksha Bandhan signifies that the strong must protect the weak from all that’s evil.

Krishna Janmaashtami

Janmaashtami

Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Krishnashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Srikrishna Jayanti, Sree Jayanti or sometimes merely as Janmashtami, is an annual commemoration of the birth of the Hindu deity Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu.
Krishna took birth at midnight on the ashtami or the 8th day of the Krishnapaksha or dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Shravan (August-September). This auspicious day is called Janmashtami.
Krishna’s birthplace Mathura and Vrindavan celebrate this occasion with great pomp and show. Raslilas or religious plays are performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh chaturthi

Ganesha Chaturthi, the great Ganesha festival, also known as ‘Vinayak Chaturthi’ or ‘Vinayaka Chavithi’ is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.
It is observed during the Hindu month of Bhadra (mid-August to mid-September) and the grandest and most elaborate of them, especially in the western India state of Maharashtra, lasts for 10 days, ending on the day of ‘Ananta Chaturdashi’.Ganesha is the god of wisdom and prosperity and is invoked before the beginning of any auspicious work by the Hindus. It is believed that for the fulfillment of one’s desires, his blessing is absolutely necessary.

Navarathri

Navratri Festival

“Nava-ratri” literally means “nine nights.” This festival is observed twice a year, once in the beginning of summer and again at the onset of winter.
During Navaratri, we invoke the energy aspect of God in the form of the universal mother, commonly referred to as “Durga,” which literally means the remover of miseries of life. She is also referred to as “Devi” (goddess) or “Shakti” (energy or power).

Deepavali

HappyDiwali

Diwali, ‘Festival of Lights’, is celebrated with great fervor and gaiety. Diwali comes exactly 20 days after Dussehra on Amavas (new moon), during fortnight of kartik, some time in October or November. It is on the Diwali day that Lord Ram, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Treta Yug, returned to his capital Ayodhya after the exile of fourteen years. To commemorate the return of Ram, Sita and Lakshman to Ayodhya, people celebrate Diwali with the bursting of crackers and by lighting up their houses with earthen diyas. During the Festival of Lights, ‘deeps’, or oil lamps, are burned throughout the day and into the night to ward off darkness and evil.
During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of fire-crackers, joy, togetherness and hope. Diwali is celebrated around the globe.