India being a land of diverse cultures & religions, countless festivals are celebrated throughout the year. People of the same religion follow different customs, based on the region in which they live.

The celebrations include prayers to the Gods, rituals, meeting with friends, sharing of sweets & gifts.

It is a Hindu belief that vrtams followed with sincerity, as stipulated, will condition and discipline the body as well as the mind. Another aspect of the Hindu religious festivals are the utsavams, which involve a gathering, pomp and joyous activities.

There are festivals to the various Hindu Gods, Lords of the seasons. Most Indian festivals follow the lunar calendar and not the solar calendar.

The twelve months in the Hindu Lunar Calendar
Navaraathiri
Golu Displays
(I am only featuring photographs of golus arranged during the Season.  I do not sell dolls.)

The Hindu New Year day is celebrated in the first month called Chiththirai (Chaitra). It marks the beginning of spring. It is a thanksgiving harvest festival. People clean their houses, apply kolams or rangoli at the front entrance & pooja room, make delicacies special to the region. It is also the custom in most regions to mix neem leaves & flowers in their food on New Year day. A preparation is made with neem leaves or flowers, mangoes, jaggery etc. signifying that people should accept the bitter & sweet occurrences of life in the right spirit. It falls on 13th or 14th of April.
Baisaakhi, Gudi Padva, Naba Barsha, Ugaadi, Varusha Pirappu, Vishu
Mahaveer Jayanthi (Jain festival)
The birth day of the 24th Teertankara, Mahaveera is celebrated as Mahaveer Jayanthi on Chaitra Sukla Triyodasi.
Images of Mahaveera
Chitra Pournami
This festival is observed on the full moon day in Chithirai or Chaitra (the English months of April-May) to propitiate Chitragupta the chief accountant of Yama Dharmaraja (God of death). Chitraguptan records the deeds and acts, both virtues & vices done by human beings.

(Every action has an equal and opposite reaction). Every good deed will be rewarded with good in the next life. Similarly, every bad or wrong deed will definitely draw a bad result in the next life. Prayers are offered to Chitraguptan to pacify him to be more sympathetic.

Devotees take food without salt on that day.
It is believed that one can get rid of their sins by bathing in the Kuttalaaru in Tirunelveli district.
There is a temple in Kanchipuram for Chitraguptan.
Good Friday (Christian festival)
This was the Day Jesus Christ was crucified to death. He died praying for forgiveness even to those who had harmed him. The day is spent in prayer and fasting.
Easter Sunday (Christian festival)
This was the Day of resurrection, when Jesus Christ rose from the dead and appeared before his disciples. This day is celebrated with prayers and joyful sharing of gifts.
Akshaya Tritiyai
This falls on the third day of the bright half of Chithirai and is considered one of the most sacred days of the year. The word `Akshaya' means that which never diminishes. There is a belief that all purchases especially gold made on that day will continue to flourish. Results of our good deeds will also grow multifold.

Parasurama (one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu) falls in the evening of this day.
Meelad-un-Nabi (Muslim festival)
.
Aadi Pooram
This falls in the month of Adi or Asadha, corresponding to the English months of July / August. Prayers are offered to Amman & Andal.

In the Saiva temples, this day is celebrated as the Valaikappu festival for Ambal, when glass bangles are offered to Ambal & then distributed to the devotees. These bangles are said to provide offsprings and generally protect us from all evils. (Valaikaappu is a festival when a pregnant woman wears glass bangles, the sound of which is said to protect her and the child from evil forces).

Special poojas and processions take place in the Vaishnava temples to Aandal.
Aadi Perukku
.
Varalakshmi Pooja
.
Aavani Avittam
.
Gokulashtami
.
Vinayaka Chaturthi
.
Onam
.
Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Christian festival)
.
Navaraathiri
.
Deepavali
.
All Souls Day (Christian festival)
.
Ramzan (Muslim festival)
.
Karthigai Deepam
.
Hanumath Jayanthi
.
Christmas (Christian festival)
.
Makara Sankranti
.
Bakrid (Muslim festival)
.
Mahaa Sivaraathiri
.
Kaaradayaan Nombu
.
Holi
.
Muharram (Muslim festival)
.
|