Festivals

Diwali

Diwali is the most well-known of the Indian festivals: it is celebrated throughout India.
It is colloquially known as the "festival of lights", for the common practice is to light small oil lamps (called diyas) and place them around the home, in courtyards, verandahs, and gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls. The celebration of the festival is accompanied by the exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks. As with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies many different things to people across the country. In north India, Diwali celebrates Rama's homecoming, that is his return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana and his coronation as king; in Gujarat, the festival honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth; and in Bengal, it is associated with the goddess Kali. Everywhere, it signifies the renewal of life, and accordingly it is common to wear new clothes on the day of the festival; similarly, it heralds the approach of winter and the beginning of the sowing season. For more information , watch the video: Diwali Video

 

 

HOLI

The colorful festival of Holi is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which comes in February end or early March. Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of 'good' over 'bad'. The colourful festival bridges the social gap and renew sweet relationships. On this day, people hug and wish each other 'Happy Holi'. Holi celebration begins with lighting up of bonfire on the Holi eve. Numerous legends & stories associated with Holi celebration makes the festival more exuberant and vivid. People rub 'gulal' and 'abeer' on each others' faces and cheer up saying, "bura na maano Holi hai". Holi also gives a wonderful chance to send blessings and love to dear ones wrapped in a special Holi gift. For more information , watch the video: Holi Video

 

Navaratri, Dussehra and Durga Puja

The origin of Durga Puja goes back to as early as 16th century A.D. The festival is celebrated for ten days in Ashwin month of Hindu calendar. It usually falls in the month of September and October. Durga Pooja celebration involves worshipping of Goddess Durga, the ten armed Goddess riding the lion. Last four days called as Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami are being celebrated with much aplomb and gaiety. In Hinduism, Mother Durga represents the embodiment of shakti, the divine feminine force that governs all cosmic creation, existence and change. The last six days of Navratri in West Bengal is known as Durga Puja or Durgotsava and is the largest festival of the year for Bengali Hindus. In the months leading up to Durga Puja, highly decorated, life-sized idols of Durga that depict her slaying Mahishasura are created by potters out of clay. In large open spaces around West Bengal, elaborate pandals, or temporary temples made of bamboo and cloth, are created to house the idols. The idols are worshipped for five days and then carried in magnificent procession to a local river for immersion, symbolizing Durga's reunion with Shiva. For more information , watch the video: Navaratri Video

 

 

It's Ugadi in Andhra!

The Telegu New Year falls on the first day of the month of Chaitra (March-April). People in Andhra Pradesh, the southeastern Indian coastal state believe that Lord Brahma began the creation of the universe on this auspicious day of Ugadi. People prepare for the new year by cleaning and washing their houses and buying new clothes. On the Ugadi day they decorate their houses with mango leaves and "rangoli" designs, and pray for a prosperous new year, and visit the temples to listen to the yearly calendar ? "Panchangasravanam" as priests make predictions for the coming year. Ugadi is also an auspicious day to embark on any new endeavor.
 

Bring in the Goodies on Gudi Padwa!

In Maharashtra, the new year is celebrated as Gudi Padwa ? a festival that heralds the advent of spring. Early on the morning of the first day of the Chaitra month, people finish their ablutions, wear new clothes and decorate their houses with colorful "rangoli" patterns. A silk banner is raised and worshipped, and greetings and sweets are exchanged. People hang "gudis" on their windows on this day to celebrate Mother Nature's bounty. A "gudi" is a decorated pole with a brass or a silver vessel placed on it.
 

The Bright & Boisterous Bohaag Bihu

The northeastern state of Assam ushers in the new year with the spring festival of Bohaag Bihu or Rongali Bihu, which marks the onset of a new agricultural cycle. Fairs are organized where people revel in gay games. The celebrations go on for days together, and it's a good time for young people to find a companion of their own choice! Young belles in traditional attire sing "Bihugeets" and dance the traditional "Mukoli Bihu". The festive food of the occasion is the "pitha" or rice cakes. People visit each other's houses, exchange gifts and sweets and, greet each other a Happy New Year!