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Glimpses of Hindu Festivals & Celebrations in India

I'm Manjushree. I was previously a school teacher and now I wish to gain fame as an aspiring writer.

Images of Diwali festival

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Glimpses of Hindu festivals of India

Our mother India is a majestic country. It extends from Jammu Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the southern part of India and from Gujrat in the west to eastern India in Assam. It is a dwelling place of many a religion like Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism etc which is being followed by the people of the nation. It is full of vibrant hues in the form of holidays and festivals adjoining the different states of India.

Most people also migrate from around the world to be a part of these celebrations and mingle with the localite and see the country at its best. A major part of the country follows Hinduism. Hinduism is followed by Hindus. It is said to be the world's third-largest religion followed by the people around the world having over 1.25 billion followers. It is associated with a multitude of myths and one deity worship in different forms in different states of India which again gives a plethora of festivals and celebrations in India.

In this article, I'm going to talk about major Hindu festivals and celebrations followed in major states of India. The list is as follows:

  • Diwali: Diwali or Deepawali is said to be a festival of lights. It takes place in late October or early November and comes with different myths from different parts of India. In North India, they celebrate it with the story of King Rama's return after defeating Ravana by lighting clay lamps and diyas. In southern India, they celebrate it as the day that Lord Krishna defeated demon Nakarasura. In western India, the festival marks the day stating that on this auspicious day Lord Vishnu sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world. It is a major festival of India. Over centuries, it has been celebrated by the Hindus as well as non-Hindu communities. The major celebration is for five days in North India where people clean their homes and buy gold or utensils to help bring good fortune in their lives. On the 2nd day, people decorate their homes with lights such as tuni/ mini bulbs and clay lamps. They also create rangoli on the floor using coloured powder or sand. On 3rd day, people gather together for Laxmi and Ganesh puja with their friends and family members. In some parts of the country, it is celebrated day 4, is the first day of the new year as per the Hindu calendar when friends and relatives visit with gifts and wishes for the season. On the 5th day, brothers visit their married sisters with gifts. It is also termed as Raksha Bandhan. It is known as Kali Puja in West Bengal and Odisha. In Sikhism, it is celebrated as Bandi Chor Diwas during which the people light the Golden Temple of Amritsar and indulge themselves in fireworks. Diwali Melas are organised all over the country. It is a five day festival in Karnataka. Diwali is dedicated to Lord Krishna in Braj region, and therefore Govardhan Mountain is worshipped by the people. The Festival of Lights is enjoyed with great vigour and pomp.
  • Dev Deepawali: Celebrated in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, it is the festival of Kartik Poornima. The festival takes place 15 days after Diwali. Houses are decorated, oil lamps are lit, processions of decorated deities are taken out in streets and diyas are set afloat in the river. The festival is a tourist-centric festival as the ghats are lightened up with millions of earthen lamps making the night-scenes a treat to one's eye. 21 young priests and 24 girls perform the Arti at the Dashameshwar Ghat. Ganga Mahotsav showcases the heritage of Varanasi. Cultural programs, martial arts, classical singing, and dancing also take place.
  • Raksha Bandhan: The festival strengthens the love of a brother and his sister. Sisters tie Rakhi on their brothers' wrist to protect them against any evil influences. The brothers bring gifts for their sisters and promise the necessary protection for a lifetime. The festival is widely celebrated in every state of India.
  • Holi: Holi is the festival of colours. In comes in the month of March in the spring season. It is the celebration of the victory of good over evil. According to a mythological story of North India, there used to be a demon king by the name of Hiranyakashyap who was very egoistic and commanded his kingdom to worship him only. His only son Pralad went against his wishes and started worshipping Lord Narayana. Due to this event, Hiranyakashyap tried to kill his son several times and failed. He had a sister called Holika whom he asked to sit on the fire with Prahlad in her lap. Prahlad all this while was chanting the name of Lord Vishnu. When fire engulfed Holika died but Prahlad was unharmed. Thus Holi is derived from the name Holika and hence from centuries-old, it has been celebrated the victory of good over evil. Even today in north India, Gujrat and Orissa. Holika is being symbolised and a part of their harvest or dried cow dung is burnt on the bonfire to mark the event. Next day, people play with colours and distribute sweets amongst themselves. People also have liquor on this event.
  • Onam: It is a Keralian festival. It is celebrated with utmost rejoice throughout the state. It also includes traditional sports like a tug of war and boat races. The mythological story behind the festival of Onam is that on this auspicious day the demigod Mahabali comes home.

Onam Festival

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Glimpses of Hindu festivals of India...contd

    • Maha Shivratri: According to age-old myth Lord Shiva is said to be the destroyer of the earth. To please the Lord we pray to God overnight and hence we celebrate Maha Shivratri. At some places people do Tandava, a dance form of Lord Shiva to celebrate the occasion.
    • Krishna Janmashtami: Lord Krishna is well-known in Hindu mythology. We celebrate the birth of Krishna with a lot of merrymaking, dancing and singing. In U.P Krishna idols are set up with various themes and Lord Krishna is remembered and even acted giving out his childhood memories. to the folklore. This occasion is a joyous event where Matka phod competitions are being held in the state of Maharashtra. The contents of the pot are then distributed amongst the people present as prasad.
    • Makar Sankranti: According to the Hindu calendar the sun enters Makara or the Capricorn part of the zodiac sign on 14th of January. On this day Lord Surya or the Sun God is worshipped religiously. We find diversity on this occasion from state to state as they do their associated customs. For Tamils, they call it Pongal, Assamese celebrate it as Bihu, and North Indians call it Lohri. On this day, in W, B people engage in kite flying and prepare sweet dishes and distribute amongst friends and relatives. In other parts, people lit a bonfire to mark the occasion and even do river bank rituals.

Dusshera Festival

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Glimpses of Hindu Festivals in India

  • Ganesh Chaturthi: The festival is celebrated in Maharashtra on the occasion of the birth of Lord Ganesha, the lord of a new beginning and fresh start. He is considered to be the symbol of writing, travel, wisdom and good fortune. It is a ten-day-long festival which usually comes in the month of August and September. It has a legendary myth associated with it. It says Ganesha is the incarnated Son of Goddess Parvati. Once Parvati was bathing and she had asked Lord Ganesha to keep an eye on the entrance so that no one can enter the premises, so he acted as a guard. Then came Lord Shiva who wanted to see his wife, but Lord Ganesha didn't let him enter. Lord Shiva got angry and chopped his head. When Parvati came to know what had happened she was heartbroken and she requested her husband to bring back his life. He instructed his followers to search for ahead and they got ahead of a baby elephant and that is how he was named Ganesha, the leader of Ganas.
  • Navratri/Durga Puja: Durga Puja or Navratri is a grand festival which comes in the month of October. It happens over a period of six to ten days. On Navrati 3 days are devoted to Durga Maa, 3 days are devoted to Laxmi and another 3 days are devoted to Saraswati Puja .Here all 9 forms of Maa Durga are worshipped. The Nine days Navratri Festival ends with the Ram Navami.Durga Puja, is celebrated during the Navratri and a day after Navratri. Bengalis celebrate this festival in India with so much energy by performing, fast, worshiping goddess Durga and performing cultural dances, songs, and dramas.
  • Dussehra : Dussehra is also known as Vijayadashami, popular among the Hindus. This religious Festival of India is performed in different forms in the Country. Ramlila is played on the life of Lord Ram is held everywhere for 10 Days. In Kullu, it is celebrated for ten days welcoming their mountain deities in their valley, in Mussorie a colorful procession is taken out, it lits like a bride and atmosphere filled with Music and Drums.

Dear Readers if I have left out anything please remind me in the comment section below.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Manjushree Biswas Maity

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