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Presented By Ronit Patil Varun Panicker
National Festivals Harvest Festivals Religious Festivals
Before 15 August 1947 our country was not free. We were ruled by the British. They treated us badly. On 15th of August, 1947 we were able to throw the British out. Our country became independent. We celebrate 15th August as Independence Day. On this day The Prime Minister hoists The Tricolor on The Red Fort .
Gandhiji was the most important leader of our freedom movement. He led the people of India to freedom. That is why he is called ´The Father Of The Nationµ. He was born on 2 October 1869.We celebrate his birthday every year as ´Gandhi Jayanti µ.
Javaharlal Nehru was the companion of Mahatma Gandhi. He was a freedom fighter and also the first Prime Minister of Independent India. He liked children very much. Children·s Day is celebrated on 14 November, the birthday of Javaharlal Nehru.
Teacher·s Day is celebrated on 5th September, the birthday of Dr. Radhakrisnan, our second President.
Diwali Id Christmas Guruparbs Ganapati Utsav Dussera Karva Chauth Mahavir Jayanti Buddha Jayanti Raksha Bandhan Gudhi Padva Naag Panchami Gokulashtami Makar Sankranti Maha Shivratri Holi Aashadhee Ekaadashi Navratri Durga Puja Basant Panchami Gita Jayanti Lohri
Diwali is celebrated throughout India, as well as in Indian communities throughout the diaspora. It usually takes place eighteen days after Dusshera. 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. The celebration of the festival is invariably 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.
Id is a festival of the Muslims. It is celebrated after a whole month of fasting called Ramzan. On this day the men offer Namaz, or prayers, in mosques. After namaz they embrace each other and greet ´Id Mubarakµ. People have special sweet dishes called sevain, malpua, and phirni.
Christmas (25 Dec) ² is the Christian festival for the birth of the Christ, which the whole world celebrates. They light candles in Churches and offer midnight mass. His birthplace was Jerusalem.
The Gurparb festival is celebrated by the Sikhs to commemorate their gurus. Two major Gurparbs are held during the year. First one is to celebrate the teachings of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. And the second to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Govind Singhji. On the Gurparb day, the Granth Sahib is taken out in a procession through the streets of all the cities and towns, and prayers are offered at the gurudwaras, and prasada is distributed to the devotees. The second Gurparb is celebrated at Patna Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh. Langars (free meals) are served to all without distinction of caste or creed.
Ganapati Utsav (4th Bhadraparda) - Festival dedicated to Lord Ganesh, the son of Shiva and Parvati. This festival is probably the longest of all, going on for ten days. The Samajic Utsaav(public celebration) was started by Lokmanya TiLak a a rallying point during freedom movement from the British Raj. Even to this day, there are huge public displays of Ganesh idols with Aarthi(song of devotion to God) and loud music and dancing by the devotees. This activity is most popular in Mumbai and Pune, with Shrimant Dagadu Shet Halwai Ganapati in Pune being the main attraction of the Utsaav. People also install a Ganesh idol in their homes. On the tenth day, huge processions carry images of the God to be immersed into the water, praying for them to return early next year. Gauri Poojan - During Gauri Pooja, two idols of the goddess Gauri are decorated and worshipped. (First day is 'sthaapana', second day is 'pooja', and the third is 'visarjan'.)
Dussehra (1-10 Ashvina) - The festival associated with vanquishing demons, in particular Rama's victory over Ravana in the Ramayana, and Durga's victory over the buffalo-headed Mahishasura. People wash their vehicles clean on this day and decorate it with flowers and leaves of the mango tree, and perform ´vahana pujaµ. Sweets are made. The young people distribute leaves of a particular tree which are of symbolic gold.
Mahavir Jayanti (13 Vaisakha) - Birthday of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism. The main Jain Festival of the year. Mahavir was the son of Siddharth and Trishala. He was called ´The Jinµ after enlightment. He was the 24th Tirthankar of Jainism.
Buddha Jayanti (16 Vaisakha) - Buddha's birthday. He achieved enlightenment and nirvana on the same date. He was the son of Shuddodhan and Mayadevi. He preached in Pali, the language of the people. He attained enlightenment under a Peepul Tree at Gaya in Bihar. The tree was called Bohivriksha. He came to be known as Buddha after enlightenment. His real name was Siddharth.
A small Monastery
Raksha Bandhan/Narali Purnima (15 Shravana) Festival to honor the sea god Varuna. The Koli community (fishermen) venture into the sea for fishing after offering puja to the sea god. Brothers and sisters exchange gifts, the sister tying a thread as a rakhi, a symbolic bond, to her brother's wrist and brother vowing her protection.
Gudi Padva (1 Chaitra) - This marks the beginning of the Hindu calendar in Maharashtra and Karnataka. People erect sticks outside their house which is tied with a cloth and some sweets.
Naag Panchami (5 Shravan) - Snake festival in honour of the naga snake deities. This tradition started long ago when farmers honored snakes for protecting their farms from cropeating pests.On this day people offer milk to snakes, specially to cobras
Gokulashtami (23 Shravana) - Riotous commemoration of Lord Krisna's birthday; terra-cotta pots filled with curd, milk-sweets and cash are strung from tenement balconies and are grabbed by human pyramids of young boys.
akar Sankranti (14 Jan) - This is the only festival which falls exactly on 14th of January every year. This festival marks Uttarayana( travel towards northern hemisphere) of the sun. On this day, people eat Tilachya Vadya (sesame seeds cake). Also, people bandy this sweet to each other and say "tiLguL ghya aani god god bola!´. Many young people fly kites on their building terrace.
aha Shivaratri - Annivarsary of Lord Shiva's Tandav(Creation) dance, and his wedding anniversary. A festival of pilgrimage and fasting, especially at the ´Jyotirlingasµ.
Holi (15 Phalguna) - People burn wood sugarcane and coconut outside their houses to commemorate the slaying of Holika through the devotion of Bhakt Prahlad. The sweet made for this occassion is Puranpoli. Believe me if you eat this thing, the taste will be unforgettable.
Aashadhee Ekaadashi -On this day, people go walking in huge processions to Pandharpur singing the abhangas(chanting hymns) of Saint Tukaram and Saint Dnyaneshwar to see their God Vithhal (Lord Krishna). People usually fast on this day.
Karwa Chauth is a fast undertaken by married Hindu women who offer prayers seeking the welfare, prosperity, well-being, and longevity of their husbands. It is said to have an extraordinary observance rate among married Hindu women. Following a bath early in the morning, well before dawn, the woman adorns new clothes and takes of a meal of very selected grains and fruit. For the remaining of day, the woman is bound to abstain from food and even water, though the more strict rules of observance are not always kept. In the text-book version of this fast, various items including a karwa, an earthen pot with a spout, are collected and a worship is offered to Shiva and Parvati.
Like most other festivals of Punjab and Haryana, Lohri too is a festival related to the seasons. Celebrated in the month of Pausa (December-January), it marks the end of the winter season. On this occasion, children go from home to home, singing popular Lohri folk songs and collect money. In the evening people gather together and light bonfires. They throw in sweets made from sugar and til, crispies etc. and sing songs. The joyous festivities assume a greater fervour on the birth of a child. Lohri is celebrated both in Punjab and Haryana.
Vasant Panchami (5 Magha) - Oneday spring festival in honor of Saraswati, the goddess of learning, celebrated with kite flying, yellow saris, and the blessing of schoolchildren's books.
Gita Jayanti, has its roots in the Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. To commemorate the holy Gita and Lord Krishna, festivities go on the ten days. The arti and deep daan at the Brahma Sarovar, where lit diyas (lamps) are set afloat in the sarovar (lake) to the chant of devotional songs, are an exercise in spiritual rejuvenation. A series of events take place during these ten days, which include the recitation of the Gita, a pageant depicting scenes from the Mahabharata, seminars and discussions on the Gita, and recitals of bhajans (devotional songs). A colourful celebration of the ethos and culture of the place where the historical battle of the Mahabharata is said to have been fought between the Kauravas and Pandavas.
A festival particular to women in rural Haryana, Sanjhi is a day for rituals, prayers and celebrations.. Sanjhi is the name given to images of the Mother Goddess designed by the rural women. Made of cowdung paste, the form of the Goddess is a symbol of health, wealth and prosperity. According to folklore, the Goddess of wealth only enters those houses the walls of which are decorated with the form of Sanjhi. The image is designed on the first day of the nine days of Durga Puja. And with the prayers everyday the Goddess on the front wall of the house is also offered food.
Vishu Pongal Bihu Baisakhi
Vishu is celebrated during the month of April in the State of Kerala. This is the time of the harvest season in this State. Vishu is also observed as the beginning of the new year as per the Malayalam calendar. On this day the Keralites exchange greetings to on another and children are given gifts by the elders the community.
Pongal is celebrated in Tamil Nadu. The celebrations last for 3 days. The rain God is worshiped on the first day and the Sun God on the second day. Cattle are worshiped on the third day. A special dish of rice mixed with milk and jaggery, called ¶Pongal· is prepared.
Three Bihus are celebrated in Assam during the year. There is lots of singing, dancing and feastng. Girls perform special Bihu songs and dances.
Punjab being a predominantly agricultural state that prides itself on its food grain production it is little wonder that its most significant festival is Baisakhi, which marks the arrival of the harvesting season. The word Baisakhi is derived from the month of Vaisakha (April-May) in which the festival is celebrated. Inevitably falling on the 13th of April every year ² a time when the farmer returns home with his bumper crop, the fruit of his whole year·s hard labour ² cries of jatta aai baisakhi rent the skies as the people of Punjab attired in their best clothes break into the Bhangra dance to express their joy. The dancers and drummers challenge each other to continue the dance. The scenes of sowing, harvesting, winnowing and gathering of crops are expressed through zestful movements of the body to the accompaniment of ballads.
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