Hindu Festivals

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Index Page of ‘Hindu Festivals’

……… The Hindus are great lovers of festivals, or should we say that they look forward to an excuse to sing glories of God at any turn of an event. Being basically an agrarian society, most of the festivals were linked with seasons when the farmers had free time to turn their attention to cultural & spiritual matters. 

………The theology of the land also contributes to the variety of festivals. As the variety of our ‘Gods’ for us are various manifestation of one divinity, so we get occasion to celebrate important days connected with all deities. There are so many festivals that we may miss out on quiet a few. So I would like to state this before hand only that the festivals which I am going to mention in this section are those which are prevalent in the central & northern part of India. We would be open to add any others too if any particular one has missed our attention.  

………Each of the section will have details of that particular festival. Its story, significance and also nature of its celebration. The Pages which have been uploaded are in bold, others will be shortly created & uploaded.

 

Note: These are primarily festivals which are celebrated at Vedanta Ashram. There are many more festivals in different parts of the country.

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1. Makar Sankranti

This is one of most wide spread, important and ancient festival of the Hindus. On this day begins the Uttarayana, when the sun enters the Northern Hemisphere. It is celebrated as Pongal in the South and as Lohari in Punjab. Lord Sun is worshipped, devotees take dip in the tirthas, and offer tarpan for their ancestors. Fathers visit their sons and offer them his blessings & best wishes.

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2. Mahashivratri

This is the biggest festivals for the devotees of Lord Shiva. There is special significance of worship of Lord Shiva during the night. Devotees fast on this day, and devote all their time & energy worshipping Lord Shiva. Japa of the mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, and meditation on Lord Shiva is also done.

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3. Holi

Holi is the festival of colors. This day is celebrated to commemorate the victory of goodness over evil. Forgetting all differences people play with each other. The night before there is burning of the Holi-fire, after which all celebrations start. By evening people dress up in nice clean clothes and go and meet their elders & friends.  

 

4. Ramnavami

This is the day of the birth of Lord Rama. On this day the nine-day long Navratras also end. At dot 12 in the afternoon Lord was born, so all kind of festivities start at that time, and go on till evening.   

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5. Sankaracharya Jayanti

On this day was born one of the greatest teacher & philosopher of the land – Sri Adi Sankaracharya. This day is celebrated more in Ashrams & other such places. Special feasts are offered, lectures on his works are organized, and people devote this day to remember the message of Upanishads.   

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6. Guru Poornima

On this day was born the great sage Sri Veda Vyasa. The celebrated author of Mahabharata, Brahma Sutra & Puranas Sri Veda Vyasa had such an impact on the culture of this land that this has become a ‘Spiritual Teachers Day’. Disciples make it a point to visit their teachers on this day and express their gratitude. 

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7. Janmashtami

On this day was born Lord Sri Krishna. At dot twelve in the night descended the Lord. The devotees celebrate the day with devotional songs, Vishnu Sahasranama Archana, chanting of Gita shlokas etc. Krishna is an avatara of Lord Vishnu who to came to re-establish the dwindling order of Dharma.

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8. Ganesh Chaturthi

For ten days starting from Ganesh Chaturthi to Anant Chaudasa, an idol of Lord Ganesh is established in homes & different localities. Lot of religious & cultural programs are organized during this time. On the tenth day the idol is immersed in lake, river or sea.

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9. Navratras

This is a nine days celebration devoted to the worship of Adi Shakti. During this time three days each are devoted to the worship of Durga, Laxmi & Saraswati. These three represent the ‘powers’ of the famous trinity. On the tenth day is Dashera. 

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10. Dasshera

On this day Lord Rama killed Ravana. Thus effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarana & Meghnad are built, with crackers hidden all over. After some rituals & worship he is burnt. This day is loved by children a lot, and the others once again get re-assured that the evil will always fall, and goodness will reign supreme.

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11. Diwali

Diwali or Deepavali is the famous festival of lights. On this Lord Rama is said to have came back to Ayodhya. So people cleanup & then light up their houses with small oil lamps. They burst crackers, and celebrate the arrival of lord back in their midst. The goddess of Laxmi is also worshipped on this day.

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12. Gita Jayanti

As the very name tells on this day Lord Krishna gave his famous discourse of Gita to Arjuna. This is the only festival where people celebrate the birthday of a scripture. This shows the special place  Gita had in the hearts of people, and through this the younger generation were impressed upon to keep the message of Gita topmost in their hearts.  

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