Festivals of India

Discussion in 'Introductions & Greetings' started by Blitz, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. Blitz

    Blitz Founding Member

    Feb 17, 2009
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    Baisakhi, derived from the month of Vaisakh, is New Year's Day in Punjab. It falls on April 13 and marks the ripening of the Rabi harvest. Baisakhi is always celebrated with unusual vigour and gaiety and the performance of Bhangra. Baisakhi also has a religious significance for the Sikhs. It was during the Baisakhi celebrations in 1699 AD that the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa Panth. On Baisakhi, people gather in Amritsar to offer prayers at the Golden Temple and to have a dip in the Holy Sarovar. Sikhs visits gurdwaras and listen to kirtans and discourses and read texts from the holy Guru Granth Sahib.


    Bohag Bihu or Bhogali Bihu is the bspring festival that falls on 14th April and marks the beginning of the first month of the Assamese calendar. Invigorated by the spirit of spring, people dance and make merry in gay abandon, transcending religious and class barriers. This is the reason that Bohag Bihu is also called Rangali Bihu (Bihu of merriment). The festivities of Bohag continue for a month, the formal ceremonies begin on the last day of Chot and extend up to a few days in the month of Bohag. The first day of Bihu is known as Goru Bihu (Cattle Bihu) when the cattle are washed and decorated with garlands. The next day, the first of Bohag is Manuh Bihu (Human Bihu) when people visit and greet each other on the New Year. The distinguishing feature of Bihu is the performance of the Bihu dance and song with the accompaniment of dhol, pepa (buffalo-horn pipe), taka (split bamboo clapper) and tal (cymbals).


    The Bundi Festival is being organised for the last five years in Bundi, a town in Rajasthan. The festival attracts a large number of foreign tourists who throng the city to witness the various unique programmes organised during the two-day festival. The various events include big colourful procession of camels and bullock carts, carrying people dressed in their traditional attires and the Deep Daan, the flux of lamps at the famous Jaitsagar Lake.


    This spring festival is held in March-April in the honour of Gauri or Parvati, the goddess of abundance. Gangaur is the most important local festival in Rajasthan. Although celebrated throughout Rajasthan with great enthusiasm, the celebrations in Jaipur and Udaipur have their own charm and attraction. The festival is also celebrated with great pomp and show in Bikaner, Jodhpur, Marathwara and Jaisalmer. The tribal men and women have an opportunity to meet and interact freely and during this time, they select partners and marry by eloping. This is an unusual,romantic custom, which is sanctioned by the community.


    The Maharashtran New Year's Day is celebrated in March/April, on the first day of Chaitra as Gudi Padwa. It is a day of great festivity and rejoicing. People get up early and clean their houses, decorating them with intricate rangoli designs. A silk cloth is tied to a pole with a brass goblet or kalash atop it, which is supposed to drive away evil from the house. Fresh leaves of neem tree, puran-pori and Shrikand are eaten during this festival. Historically, Gudi Padwa marks the victory of the Satavahana king Shalivahana over his enemies, about 1921 years ago.


    This is celebrated twice in a year in April and October in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh in the honour of the Goddess of Volcano.


    This is held in several places in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the month of Karthik (October-November) in the honour of Lord Shiva.


    The Khajuraho festival of Dances was started in 1975 by the Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad with a view to promote tourism in the State. The aim of the Festival is to attract attention to the rich architectural heritage of Khajuraho. The festival imbibes the spirit of an eternal glory, where the artists and the backdrop of the Khajuraho Temples merge together in total Harmony.


    Kharchior Khmarchi festival is a celebration for worship of the tutelary deity of theroyal family of Tripura. Once prevalent only in the royal family, the worship of theFourteen Gods has now turned into a festival of the general public of Tripura irrespectiveof caste or creed. The popular names of the Fourteen Gods are -Hara, Uma,Hari, Ma, Vani, Kumara, Ganapa, Bidhi, Kha, Abdi, Ganga, Sikhi, Kama and Himadri.
    Every year, on the eighth lunar day of the month of Asadha, the festival starts and continues for seven days at a stretch. The Kharchi festival has united the people of Tripura in the bond of fraternity.The State Government had declared the period from March 1999 to March 2000 as the 'Khajuraho millennium' since many of the Temples at Khajuraho completed 1000 years of existence.
  3. Blitz

    Blitz Founding Member

    Feb 17, 2009
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    Ladakh presents a mesmerising blend of Buddhist and Muslim cultures. The Ladakh festival is celebrated in the month of September, during which the people throng the streets, fabulously bedecked with gold and silver ornaments and monks dance to the entrancing rhythm of cymbals, flutes and trumpets. The Yak, Lion and Tashishpa dances depict the many legends and fables of Ladakh.


    Lohri marks the culmination of winter, and is celebrated in Punjab and Haryana on the 13th day of January in the month of Paush or Magh, a day before Makar Sankranti. An extremely auspicious day, Lohri marks the sun's entry in to the 'Makar Rashi' (Northern Hemisphere). Lohri celebrates fertility and the spark of life. The countryside is dotted by bonfires, around which people gather to meet friends and relatives and sing folk songs. Children go from door to door singing and asking for the Lohri prasad


    Makar Sankranti, also known as Gangasagar Mela or Til Sankranti, is celebrated on 14th January every year. It marks the commencement of the Sun's journey to the Northern Hemisphere (Makara raasi), signifying the onset of Uttarayana Punyakalam, and is a day of celebration all over the country. The day begins with people taking holy dips in the waters and worshipping the Sun. Special puja is offered as a thanksgiving for good harvest. Til and rice are two important ingredients of this festival. It is widely celebrated in Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The whole event lasts for four days, the first day Bhogi, the second day Sankranti, the third day Kanuma and the fourth day, Mukkanuma. At many places colourful kites are flown.


    Naba Barsha is the Bengali New Year's Day and falls on April 14. It begins with prabhat pheries (early morning processions), songs and dance to welcome the New Year. A dip in a river or tank is another essential feature of the day's ritual. With powdered rice, housewives make beautiful designs called Alpana on the floor of their houses.


    Onam is an important festival of Kerala and is celebrated in the month of August/September. It celebrates the bounties of nature and a year of good harvest. Ten days of feasting, boat races, songs and dances are part of the festivities.
    According to legend, Onam celebrates the golden age of King Mahabali, the mythical ruler of Kerala. The festivities begin ten days in advance and floral decorations (Pookkalam) adorn every home. Three days before Onam, the Thrikakara Appan, or a cone shaped out of clay adorns the centre of the floral arrangements. The graceful dance of Kaikottikali is performed around the Thrikakara Appan, which is finally immersed in a pond on the fourth day or Chadayam. Caparisoned elephants in a spectacular procession, fireworks and the Kathakali dances, are an integral part of the festivities.Pulikali, also known as Kaduvakali is a common sight during Onam season.

    The Vallamkali (boat race) is one of the main attractions of Onam, and is best seen at Aranmulai and Kottayam. The Onam Sandhya or the traditional feast consists of avial, kaalan, olan, erruseri, pulinji and paal ada
  4. Blitz

    Blitz Founding Member

    Feb 17, 2009
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    Pongal is an important festivals for Tamils that signifies the end of the harvest season and the ushering in of the Tamil month of 'Thai', bringing in prosperity and happiness. The Pongal celebrations are spread over four days. The day before Pongal is called Bhogi. It is celebrated as a family festival. Surya Pongal, the second day, is dedicated to the worship of Surya, the Sun God. On the third day called Maatu Ponga, the cattle are colourfully decorated with flowers. The valour of the Tamils is best illustrated in events like Jallikattu or Manjuviratt in which the youth who control the fearsome bulls are honoured and given prizes.
    On the fourth day, sisters visit their brothers and enquire about their welfare. During Pongal hundreds of temples all over Tamil Nadu arrange for Sama Bandhi Virundu (community feasts) in which people from all castes and religions participate.


    Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the fifteenth day of Shravan, in July / August. It celebrates the love of a brother for his sister. On this day, sisters tie rakhi on the wrists of their brothers to protect them against evil influencesThis is also the day set apart for Brahmins to change their sacred thread they wear.


    Sair-e-Gulfarushan or Phoolwalon-ki-sair is a unique three-day festival of flowers, which is a symbol of communal harmony, being celebrated by all the communities in the month of Bhadrapad at Mehrauli in Old Delhi. Pankhas or large palm-leaf fans are decorated with flowers and taken out in a procession to the darga of Khwaja Bakhtiar Kaki and then to the Jog Maya temple. The festival is of fairly recent origin, being started in the early 19th century by Queen Mumtaz Mahal wife of Mughal Emperor Akbarshah II (1806-1837) as a thanksgiving for the release of her son from imprisonment by the British.
    The festival was banned by the British in1942 due to communal tensions, but was revived and restored to its original glory in 1962.


    Teej is one of the most important and auspicious festivals of Rajasthan. Teej falls on the third day of the month of Shravan in July or August. It is the festival for the daughters of the house, who receive new clothes from their parents. Teej is also celebrated in Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan and parts of Uttar Pradesh. In Haryana it is celebrated as the Haryali Teej


    Vishu is a festival that welcomes the advent of spring in April/May. It falls on the first day of the month of Medam in the Malabar era. It is celebrated as the Malayalam New Year in Kerala. Fertility rituals are an integral part of this major festival.

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