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Festivals


Hindus observe sacred occasions by festive observances. All festivals in Hinduism are predominantly religious in character and significance. Many festivals are seasonal. Some celebrate harvest and birth of God or Heroes. Some are dedicated to important events. From Diwali the festival of lights to Holi, Bengali New Year, the festival of colors to Rakshabandhan, a special festival for brothers and sisters, Hindu festivals are colorful, fun yet with a deep social and religious significance. 'Utsava' is the Sanskrit word for Hindu festivals, meaning 'to cause to grow Upward'. A festival may be observed with acts of worship, offerings to deities, fasting, feasting, vigil, rituals, fairs, charity, celebrations, Puja, Homa, aarti, etc. They celebrate individual and community life of Hindus without distinction of caste, gender or class.

Deepavali - Uniting Hindus/India

Diwali is a festival of lights. Followers of many sects Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism observe Diwali in different regions for different reasons. Whole week is the festival week uniting different sections of India. People may celebrate Diwali on various dates because of traditional lunar calendars.
  1. Solar Tula month represents balance/Scales or Dharma. Also special for God of Justice or Dharmaraja, who gives impartial judgement. (Sun god Shamash, who was also the patron of truth and justice.) So ammavasai or new moon is famous. (அதுவும் தவிர, தீபாவளியன்று யமனுக்குத் தர்ப்பணம் பண்ண வேண்டுமென்று சொல்லியிருக்கிறது. வட தேசத்தில் தீபாவளிக்கு முதல் நாள் ‘யம தீபம்’ என்றே போடுகிறார்கள்.)
  2. Sun appears in the constellation Tula or Libra from October 31 to November 22. In sidereal astrology, from October 16 to November 15. Three brightest stars of Libra (α, β, and σ Librae) formed a constellation looking like a boat (sign to show saving people from great floods). During golden age of Guptas hindu kingdom, marks southern equinox or start of winter
  3. Tula month new moon is start of new year for some.
  4. In each month, one river is important (equality). Tula month, Cauvery is famous, so cauvery snan is ganga snan. Ganga was used to represent all rivers initially. Ganga was called bakirathy.
  5. It is the story of a mother celebrating even the death of her wicked son along with other fellow or country folks. Later developed in to Narakasura story.
  6. Rama's return after war (victory over evil)
  7. Bali Padyami - victory over Bali. Bali Padyami day have variations from state to state.
  8. Birth of dhanvaNdhiri, Laxmi and Chandra from sea and Neelakanta saving universe from poison by consuming poison
  9. Bandi Chhorh Divas, which is the Sikh celebration.
  10. Emperor Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism around the time of Diwali. Mahavira's attainment of nirvana is Jains holy day and so on ....
All these coincidence has resulted in Indians celebrating Diwali around this time.

Sankranthi

Celebration starts with Bhogi, Lord Indra showers his blessings on all. The first day of THAI is Pongal or Makara Sankranthi thanking Mother Nature in general and SURYA in particular, for a bountiful harvest. Next day is Mattu (cow) Pongal. Cows and the cattle were washed and decorated. Bull fights were part of these festivities in villages. Sisters prayed for the welfare and prosperity of their brothers on this Kanum Pongal day (similar to Rakhi festival). Offering colorful rice and Pongal balls to birds was a part of these festivities. The celebrations ended on the forth day

New Year

Varusha Pirappu, or Puthandu or Chithirai Vishu, is the Tamil New Year celebrated all around the world by Tamil people.

Masi Magam

The makam star in the Masi month usually falls on the full moon day and is considered highly auspicious in many temples across South India, taking of idols to the seashore or ponds. Therefore the festival is also referred as holy bath ceremony. Once in twelve years the Masi Magam attains even more significance and then Maha Maham is held. during the Maha Maham there is the movement of Jupiter into Leo (singha rasi.)

Panguni Uthiram - Bring Harmony in Marital Life

Tamil month of Panguni (March - April) Uthiram Nakshatra (star) coincides with the full moon day and this stellar combination is considered as one of the most promising time to bring harmony in marital life. coinciding day of Poornima and Uthiram star in the month of Panguni, most of the divine weddings had taken place. Moon is a feminine planet and has the ability to stabilize the masculine Mars with love and affection. •The placement of Mars in the sign of Aquarius also enhances cordial relation between partners.

Karadayan Nonbu காரடையான் or சாவித்திரி நோன்பு

Karadaiyan Nombu, or Karadayan Vritham, also known as Karadayan Savitri Vritham is a vritham dedicated to Goddess Shakti or Kamakshi. It is observed mainly in Tamil Nadu on the last day in Masi month (February- March). Married women observe the vritham for marital bliss and unmarried girls worship the Goddess to be blessed with best husband. The vrata is performed in honour of Sathi Savitri who fought with Yama and got her husbands life back.
கார்காலத்தில் விளையும் நெல்லைக் குத்தி, இனிப்பு கலந்து தயாரிப்பதே காரடை ஆகும். This is connected to story of Savitri, daughter of Asvapati, king of Madra, and Malavi. When Savitri reaches the age of marriage, young men find her too divine to marry. She sets out on a pilgrimage and finds Satyavan, the son of a blind king Dyumatsena, who had lost everything including his sight, lives in forest. As, Satyavan is destined to die one year from that day, her father wants her to choose a more suitable husband. But, Savitri insists on marrying Satyavan and after the marriage, wears the clothing of a hermit and lives with her new parents-in-law and husband. Three days before the foreseen death of Satyavan, Savitri takes a vow of fasting to perform special austerities. Savitri go with Satyavan to forest and he suddenly becomes weak and lays his head in Savitri’s lap. Yama comes to claim the soul of Satyavan and Savitri follows Yama as he carries the soul away. Yama praises Savitri's dedication & purity and offers any boon, except the life of Satyavan. She asks for sons for herself and Satyavan. This creates a dilemma for Yama, as it would indirectly grant the life of Satyavan. Yama grants life to Satyavan and blesses Savitri's life with eternal happiness. Satyavan awakens as though he has been in a deep sleep and returns to his parents along with his wife. There are many films made in India with the story.
Savithri got her husband back on the first day of Tamil month "Panguni". So, this day is celebrated as "Karadayan Nonbu" in Tamil Nadu. On this day, married women and young girls wear yellow robes and pray to Hindu goddesses for long lives for their husbands.

Teej

Teej is a festival is dedicated to the re-union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Kajari Teej is celebrated on the fourth day of the dark half (Krishna Paksha) of the Shravan month. On this particular day the neem tree is worshipped and processions are taken out with beautifully decorated idols of Goddess Parvati.

Tiruvathira

Tiruvathira in the month of Dhanur is celebrated in the two states – Kerala and Tamilnadu. In Kerala Tiruvathira is essentially a women's festival, a celebration of devotion, beauty, love and dance. Women and young girls offer special prayers to Siva on this day in the hope that they, too, will have good husbands and lead happily married lives.

Ardra Darsanam, famous at Chidambaram Shiva Temple, is to celebrate the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva or Nataraja. Arudra star that symbolizes golden red flame, represents Shiva in the form of red flame dancing in every particle of the universe. The whole of the universe is said to have emanated from the sound of his damaru (dumbbell shaped drum). The special Prasad offered to Shiva on this day is called Thiruvadirai Kali.

Krishna Janmashtami

Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Krishna

Nag Panchami

Nag Panchami is a festival of snakes and is all about the worship of snakes. The snakes are offered milk and honey. More snake charmers than usual are out on the streets of India during the festival.

Hemis

Hemis festival is a two day festival that commemorates the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. The highlight of the festival is the Masked Dance, performed by the lamas and it illustrates good prevailing over evil.

Tribal Festivals

India is home to around 573 tribal groups and communities, each of which follow their own culture and tradition. Festivals are an important part of the life of these tribal groups. There are a number of tribal festivals which are celebrated by various tribes in India. Indian tribal festivals possess a distinctive quality of their own, with their costumes, their jewellery, their dancing, their singing, their language, etc...

more to come


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