Hindu Festivals

Maha Shivarathri

Maha Shivratri is a Hindu festival celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha (waning moon) of the month of Maagha or Phalguna in the Hindu Calendar (that is, the night before and day of the new moon). 

The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael leaves to the Lord Shiva, all day fasting and an all night long vigil.

Holi

Holi is a spring religious festival celebrated by Hindus. The main day, Holi, also known as Dhuli Vandana in Sanskrit, is celebrated by people throwing coloured powder and coloured water at each other.

Bonfires are lit on the eve of the festival, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. 

Rangapanchami occurs a few days later on a Panchami (fifth day of the full moon), marking the end of festivities involving colours.

Ramayan Week

Ram Navami  is a Hindu festival, celebrating the appearance of Lord Rama to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya of Ayodhya. Ram is the 7th incarnation of the Dashavatara of Vishnu. 

Years later Lord Rama was married to Sita on the vivah-panchami. The festival falls in the Shukla Paksha on the Navami, the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. 

Thus it is also known as Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami, and marks the end of the nine-day Chaitra-Navratri celebrations.

Hanuman Jayanthi

Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the appearance of Hanuman widely venerated throughout India especially in North India. 
It is celebrated on the 15th day of the Shukla Paksha, during the month of Chaitra (the Chaitra Purnima)
Hanuman is an ardent devotee of god Rama, and is worshipped for his unflinching devotion to the God. 
Hanuman Jayanti is an important festival of Hindus. Hanuman is the symbol of strength and energy. 

Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima is a festival traditionally celebrated by Hindus and Buddhists.On this day, disciples offer puja or pay respect to their Guru (Spiritual Guide). It falls on the day of full moon, Purnima, in the month of Ashadh of the Shaka Samvat, Indian national calendar and Hindu calendar. 

Traditionally the festival is celebrated by Buddhists in the honor the lord Buddha who gave His first sermon on this day at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India. While Hindus celebrate it in the honour of the great sage Vyasa, who is seen one of the greatest gurus in ancient Hindu traditions, and a symbol of Guru-shishya parampara, the Guru disciple tradition. 

Vyasa was believed to have started writing the Brahma Sutras on ashadha sudha padyami and ends on this day, hence their recitations as a dedication to him, are organised on this day, which is also known as Vyasa Purnima.

Raksha Bandan

Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is a festival primarily observed in North India, which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. 

The festival is observed by Hindus and Sikhs. The central ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on her brother's wrist. This symbolizes the sister's love and prayers for her brother's well-being, and the brother's lifelong vow to protect her.

The festival falls on the full moon day (Shravan Purnima) of the Shravan month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar.

KrishnaAshtami

Krishna Janmashtami also known as Krishnashtami, is a Hindu festival celebrating the appearance of Krishna, an Avatar of the Hindu deity Vishnu.

Krishna Janmashtami is observed on the Ashtami tithi, the eighth day of the dark half or Krishna Paksha of the month of Bhadrapada in the Hindu calendar, when the Rohini Nakshatra is ascendant. The festival always falls within mid-August to mid-September in the Gregorian calendar.

Rasa lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature in regions of Mathura and Vrindavan, and regions following Vaishnavism in Manipur. 

While the Rasa lila re-creates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna's youthful days, the Dahi Handi celebrate God's playful and mischievous side, where teams of young men form human pyramids to reach a high-hanging pot of butter and break it. 

Ganesh Chathurthi

Ganesha Chaturthi also known as Vinayaga Chaturthi is the Hindu festival of Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, who is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees in the duration of this festival. 

It is the appearance day of Ganesha who is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.

The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period).  The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period).

Navarathi

Navarathri is a Hindu festival of worship of Mother Shakti. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. It is commonly referred to as Dussehra. 

The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are two very important junctions of climatic and solar influence. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar.

Navaratri represents celebration of Goddess Durga, the manifestation of Deity in form of Shakti [Energy or Power]. Dasahara, meaning ‘ten days’The Navaratri festival or ‘Nine Nights festival’ becomes ‘ten days festival’ with the addition of the last day, Vijayadashami which is its culmination. On all these ten days, the various forms of Mother Mahisasura-mardini (Durga) are worshipped with fervour and devotion.

Diwali

Diwali popularly known as the festival of lights, is an important five-day festival in Hinduism, celebrated for different reasons, occurring between mid-October and mid-November. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes.

The name "Diwali" is a contraction of "Deepavali" which translates into "row of lamps".Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas ) in Sanskritfilled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. 

During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. Most Indian business communities begin the financial year on the first day of Diwali.Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama, along with Sita and Lakshmana, from his fourteen-year-long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. 

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