Indian Festivals

Diwali or Deepavali

Indian festivals are famous around the world. Diwali is one of the important Indian festival. It is also popular as the festival of lights. During this festival, people worship Ganesha(the elephant headed god) and Lakshmi, the goddess of light, wisdom and fortune. We celebrate this festival with lighting oil lamps and candles to represent good winning over evil.

Hindu mythology tells us one of the most popular legends of great warrior Lord Rama and Sita(his wife). Lord Rama’s father wanted to send them both into exile. They were able to return to their kingdom after 14 long years. While in exile, Lord Rama defeated the formidable demon Ravana of Lanka (Srilanka) proving to the Hindu people that good will always defeat evil. Once Lord Rama and his wife returned to their hometown of Ayodhya, People lighted clay lamps, illuminating their path and representing their great victory.

Festival Time – October or November

Holi

Holi is one of the oldest and amazing festivals of Hindu. It is a festival of joy and happiness, celebrated with water and natural colour everywhere in India. In India there is always a reason behind every festival. So let’s understand the story of Holi, there was a King Hiranyakashipu, who was a king and demon. Once Lord Vishnu killed his brother because he was so cruel, So Hiranyakashipu wanted to take revenge.

He prayed for many years for power and finally he got the boon. After getting this boon King considered himself as God and asked his people to worship him. Hiranyakashipu had a son, his name was Prahalad, who worshipped Lord Vishnu against his father’s wish. So Prahalad’s father started trying to kill his son because his son was praying hi enemy. King asked his daughter Holika to sit in fire with Prahalad in her lap. Holika was immune to fire. Since Prahalad, was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, Lord Vishnu saved Prahalad, and killed Holika.

The defeat signifies the burning of all that is bad. After this, Lord Vishnu also killed Hiranyakashipu. So, Holi is celebrated on the full moon day of Phagun month in Hindu calendar which generally comes in the month of March. It is more famous in the states of north Indian region. Lord Krishna used to celebrate holi with his friends and Gokul in Vrindavan. Holi is also popular as Vasant Mahotsava’ and ‘Kama Mahotsava’. Bonfires are created, mothers with babies rotate around the bonfire to get blessing of fire god.

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Holi

Krishna Janmastmi

Hindu celebrates Krishna Janmashtami festival  in the month of August all over the world. Hindus plays out ‘’ Krishna Lilas’’ During the festival, drama-dance and enactments of the life of Lord Krishna. People do that all-night vigils with the singing of devotional songs, fasting, and on the following day in every home people make sweets and delicacies.

Usually People fast on this day, a waterless fast. Everyone do reading, reciting and singing his divine leela especially in the evening in mandirs(temples). At midnight, Devotee perform Arti to the Lord’s Krishna because it is his birth hour’. In all meals Makhan’ (butter) is especially included because lord  Shri Krishna loved this in his childhood. Everyone make ‘Panchajiri’ traditional prasad with five ingredients -powdered ginger, ‘suva’, coriander, sugar and ghee. 

Durga Puja

The most anticipated famous Hindu festival is Durga Puja in Bengal. This festival signifies victory of good over evil and is meant to worship the goddess Durga over a period of ten days. The eighth day is the most auspicious and important day of the celebration. Many puja(praying) pandals(tent) created for these days throughout India. The charming city of Kolkata turns into a completely different place during Durga Puja. Pandals set up all across Kolkata and idols shining in their fine clothing and jewelry.

The entire city lights up as if it is a work of art with decorations hanging over the streets and businesses. The city usually has more than 1,000 pandals located across different streets and communities per year. You can walk from one pandal to another and you will never run out of beautiful displays and things to see. You can join some of the celebrations with the locals.

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Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is dedicated to Brothers and Sisters. It is one of the famous festivals of India. The bonding between brother and sister is unique and is beyond description in words. The relationship between siblings or relatives is extraordinary and given importance in each part of the world.

Indian people celebrate this festival not only in India but in some other countries as well like Nepal and Malaysia to symbolize the love between a brother and a sister. Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu lunar-solar calendar in the month of Shravana which typically falls in month of August. According to the Sanskrit terminology, this festival means “the tie or knot of protection” where “Raksha” means for the protection and “Bandhan” denotes the verb to tie.

This festival symbolizes as the eternal love between brother-sister, which does not mean just the blood relationships only. On this day sister ties a rakhi (Band) around the wrist of her brother in order to pray for his prosperity, health and well-being. The brother in return offers a gifts and promises to protect his sister in every circumstance. It is also celebrated between brother-sister belonging to distant family members, relatives or cousins. People believe that Raksha Bandhan is a symbol of duty between brothers and sisters.

Ganesha Chathurthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is dedicated to lord Ganesha. People celebrate his arrival to the earth from the holy mountain Kailash. Lord Ganesh is known as the god of new beginnings and he has ability to remove obstacles and bring good fortune. This festival is widely celebrated in the bustling city of Mumbai and across the state of Maharastra with many rituals and joy.

People build pandals(tents) across different cities The highlight of this festival is the statues or idols of Ganesha.  Everyone celebrates this festival because it is the birth time of lord Ganesha. Because he is the son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi and Ganesh is popular as the god of prosperity and wisdom.

People celebrate this festival especially in the state of Maharashtra, particularly in Mumbai. Some of the popular Indian sweet for this festival include modaks, a sweet dessert with coconut, barfis, a dessert made of milk, and ladoo, a sweet with nuts or raisins. On the last day, Followers of lord Ganesha immerse his statues into water to symbolize Ganesh’s homeward journey to Mount Kailas, which is the home of his parents, Shiva and Parvati.

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Legends and stories of Ganesha Chaturthi festival

‘’Ganesh birth story’’ when the goddess Parvati (wife of shiva) made a son out of turmeric to guard her palace, Lord Shiva, came there and looking for his wife Parvati. But Lord Ganesha has stopped him for entering in the palace. This made lord Shiva angry and he cut off the Ganesha’s head after a battle.

This act of lord shiva made parvati angered and she insisted him to give rebirth to her child, then Shiva promised that he would bring the boy back to life. Lord Shiva sent Lord Brahma to look for any creature sleeping with its head pointing north direction. Later Lord Brahma returned with the head of an elephant. Lord shiva attached the elephant head tohis body. After that this moment this boy is became famous as Lord Ganesha.

Dussahra

Dussehra or Vijayadashami is a famous festival on Indians, we celebrate this festival because Goddess Durga won over Mahishasura and Lord Rama defeated Ravana(demon). This festival is celebrated for 10 days everywhere in India. Dussehra widely is celebrated with different traditions and rituals throughout the entire country. Dussehra celebrations give us a message of the victory of good over evil. People of every religion celebrate this festival especially in India.

This was the end of evil spirit of Ravana. People organize Ram leela  in many parts of the country and enjoy the enactment of the play Ramayana. This occasion shows the killing of Ravana on Dussehra. So People burn dummy of Ravana and his brothers Kumbhakarna and Meghnath (Brothers of Ravana) on the last day of festival and It is the last day of Ramayana.

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Rama

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Indian Festivals