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Important Hindu festivals

Festivals enrich the culture of a society which have special significance both religiously and socially. It is a time of celebration and remembrance. Generally festivals create a special atmosphere which helps in diverting the otherwise tensed mind from the worldly problems as people mainly focus on religion with a joyous mind.

Festivals signify togetherness and thus help in the maintenance of cordial relationship among the members of the society. Festival celebrations are important part of culture which help in strengthening various relationships. Above all festivals act as excellent detox which help in removing not only the materialistic clutter from one's house but it also helps in clutter clearing the mind thereby refreshing and elevating the mind.

The practice of fasting for some of the religious festivals is very effective for the health of a body. Fasting is a very good practice which helps in cleansing of internal organs particularly the organs of digestive system and thus it helps in weight loss as well. Most of the festivals help in developing charity nature in humans as people / devotees go to temples on festival days and offer food, money, clothes etc to the saints and to the poor beggars.

During festival seasons, people clear the clutter from their houses and decorate the houses with fresh flowers and lights. This enhances the beauty of the houses and there is a spread of good spirits / vibes in the house. Festivals bring happiness and joy among the people who celebrate these with much fervor and enthusiasm. On the whole there is a spread of positive spirit in the society during the festival seasons.

There are several Hindu festivals some of which are specially important and celebrated at national level which there are also certain festivals that are confined to specific regions / states of India.

Ugaadi / Gudi Padwa / Yugaadi

The first day of the Hindu month - Chaitra Masam - is celebrated as New Year's day with different names in different regions of the country. Mostly this festival falls in the Gregorian month of March / April and is known as Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh. While it is known as Yugadi in Karnataka and Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra. The festival has much of social significance and is celebrated with much fervor.

Sri Rama Navami

Sri Rama Navami which has much of religious importance is the birthday of Lord Rama and is celebrated through out India on the 9th day of waxing moon in the Hindu month of Chaitra. People visit Rama temples, offer prayers, perform bhajans / keertans and in the temples in South India, Rama Kalyanam (the marriage ceremony of the divine couple - Lord Rama and Sita Devi) is performed in the presence of huge gathering of devotees.

Akshaya Tritiya / Akha Teej

Akshaya Tritiya is a festival with religious importance that is celebrated on the 3rd day of the waxing moon in the Hindu month of Vaishakam which usually falls in the month of May. The festival has been popularized as the Gold Rush day as people belief that making a purchase of gold on this day is highly auspicious.

Ratha Yatra / Car Festival

Ratha Yatra or the Car Festival of Lord Jagannath of Puri is an important festival celebrated on Aashada Vidiya day i.e. the 2nd day of the waxing moon in the Hindu month of Aashad. The festival is celebrated in all the Jagannath temples across the world when the deities are driven in colorfully decorated chariots made of special wood (deodar wood).

Guru Poornima / Vyasa Pournami

Guru Poornima marks the birth anniversary of the great Saint Veda Vyasa - the composer of great Hindu epic Mahabharata. It is celebrated on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Aashad when people offer prayers to their gurus. The day is specially celebrated in Shirdi Saibaba and Sri Guru Datta temples.

Varalakshmi Vratam

Varalakshmi Vratam is an important festival celebrated mainly by the women in the South particularly in Andhra Pradesh. The 2nd Friday in the auspicious Hindu month of Sravan / Sawan is celebrated as Varalakshmi Pooja when women specially worship Goddess Lakshmi for a happy, prosperous and blissful married life.

Sravana Pournami / Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan which is celebrated on the full moon day in the auspicious Hindu month of Sravan is an important festival celebrated in the North, East and West of India. The festival signifies strong relationship between brothers and sisters. While in South people celebrate it as Sravana Pournami when the men of certain communities replace their old sacred thread with a new one.

Janmashtami

Janmashtami which is known by different names in different regions lirike Gokulashtami / Krishnashtami / Sri Krishna Jayanti. The festival is celebrated on the 8th day of waning moon in the Hindu month of Sravan and it marks the birth celebrations of Lord Krishna who is one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The festival is celebrated with much fervor and enthusiasm through out the country with much of cultural and religious activities. 

Vinayaka Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi / Ganesh Pooja is one of the biggest Hindu festivals that is celebrated with great spirit across the length and breadth of the country with much enthusiasm. The festival which is celebrated on the 4th day of the waxing moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapad marks the birth of Lord Ganesha. Huge idols of Lord Ganesha are installed on pedals in every nook and corner and mostly the idol is worshiped for 9 continuous days from Ganesh Chaturthi day. The festival is also known by the name Ganesh Navaratri (9 days).

Mahalaya

Mahalaya also known as Mahalaya Amavasya is celebrated on the Amavasya / No Moon day before the beginning of the Hindu month of Aswayuja. The day is specially important for offering prayers to departed souls of ancestors / forefathers.

Dussehra Navaratri

Dussehra Navaratri or the Hindu festival of victory / festival of nine nights is the most popular, important and the most awaited festival which is celebrated for 9 continuous days in a grand manner. The 9 days festival starts from the 1st day after Mahalaya Amavasya and ends on the 10th day of the waxing moon in the Hindu month of Aswayuja. The festival has special religious significance and is celebrated through out the country in different ways but with much of enthusiasm and high festive spirit. Beautifully decorated idols of Goddess Durga Devi are installed on pedals in the community centers and special poojas are offered to the goddess.

Dhanteras / Dhana Triyodasi

Dhanteras is yet another gold rush day besides Akshaya Tritiya. It is celebrated on the 13th day of the waning moon in the Hindu month of Aswayuja. The festival is specially important for the business community in the North.

Deepavali / Diwali

Deepavali / Diwali is the most awaited Hindu festival of lights which is celebrated with high spirits and with great enthusiasm. The festival is celebrated on Amavasya day after the Aswayuja month. The festival which is celebrated of 5 continuous days in the Northern states, has special religious as well as social significance. Lighting up the houses with oil lamps or colorful electric lamps and burning crackers are the important events of the festival.

Kartika Pournami

Kartika Pournami has great religious as well as social significane and is celebrated on the full moon day in the auspicious Hindu month of Kartika masam

Makara Sankranti 

Makara Sankranti is the only Hindu festival that is based on the solar calender. This is mainly a harvest festival with social significance and is celebrated on Jan 13 / Jan 14 - the first day of Uttarayanam. It is the day when Sun enters Makara Raasi (the zodiac sign of Capricorn). People mainly take holy dips in the sea waters or river waters and offer prayers to Sun god as a gesture of thanksgiving for the good crop / harvest that He (Sun) gave. The festival is celebrated in different regions with different names. In the south in Tamil Nadu, people celebrate the festival as Pongal while it is celebrated as a 3-day festival of Bhogi Panduga in Andhra Pradesh.

Basant Panchami / Saraswati Pooja

Basant Panchami which is known as Saraswati Pooja in West Bengal, is a festival of religious importance and is celebrated on the 5th day of the waxing moon in the auspicious Hindu month of Magha Masam. People worship Goddess Saraswati on this day who is considered as the Hindu god of wisdom and learning. The festival celebrations are more in the East and North of India but is celebrated less in the South.

Maha Sivaratri

Maha Sivaratri is one of the most important Hindu festival that is celebrated with same spirit and devotion across the country. The festival has much of religious significance and is celebrated on the 13th day of the waning moon in the Hindu month of Magha. Most Hindus with a spiritual bent of mind, observe fasting on this day and worship Lord Shiva by performing Abhishekams (pouring of water, milk, fruit juices etc on the Lingam) and most importantly worship Shiva with Bilva patram / leaves.

Holi - the festival of colors

Holi which is celebrated on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Phalgun has much of social significance than religious. The festival is celebrated with high spirits  and is popular in the North, East and West of India. The festival is not much celebrated in the Southern states.

Comments

  1. Amazing info by admin... keep on posting new things admin. hanuman chalisa member

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  2. great article, please contact me to discuss more festivals http://www.thehinduforum.com/threads/list-of-hindu-festivals-holidays-in-2016.3422/

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  3. Thank you for those encouraging words. Will be coming up with more informative articles.

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