वसंत पंचमी (Vasant Panchami / Saraswati Puja)

Saraswati is the goddess of learning, art and crafts. According to her different specialities she is known by different names like Bakdevi, Biraj, Sarada, Brahmi, Satarupa, Mahasweta, Sarbasukla, Prithudar, Bagiswari and, of course, Saraswati. This festival is held on the month Magh (January - February). It is a festival celebrated by the youth, particularly students who invoke the blessing of the goddess for success in learning, art and crafts. Through out Ang-Pradesh Saraswati Puja is celebrated in all educational institutions as well as homes. The images of goddess of learning are worshipped. According to the Matsya Purana, Saraswati evolved from the mouth of Brahma. Such was her beauty and grace that Brahma pursued her. As she fled in different directions a head appeared and so Brahma is attributed with five heads. She was the most unique creation of Brahma. Saraswati is our equivalent of classical goddess Minerva and also the Teutonic Goddess Fira. The moon and the lotus…
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दीपावली (Deepawali/Diwali)

The festival of lights is celebrated in the month of Kartik (October - November) on Krishna Chaturdasi. The moon rotates around the earth in 28 days. We have fourteen days of light and fourteen days of darkness, Krishna Chaturdasi is the darkest night of the dark period. It is associated with the cult of Kali. The mythological background of this festival is many and varied. It is said that when Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana in Lanka, the people of Ayodhya celebrated the event with lights and fireworks on Krishna Chaturdashi. In the month of Kartik, Narakasura, a demon, took into captivity all the gopinis ,(shepherdesses) of Brindavan and Mathura. Krishna was furious and in his anger he killed Narakasura. All the gopinis were rescued. The event was celebrated with lights and fireworks all over Mathura and Brindavan. Yet again the story goes that the Gods wanted the 'Amrit Kumbha' so as to get the elixir of life and conquer death. They joined the demons in thi…
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तिल संक्रांत (Makar Sankranti / Til Sankranti / Tilba Parab)

A festival of sweet preparation of chewra, dahi, tilkut,laduwa and tilba celebrated in Ang - Pradesh as Til - Sankranti. Makar Sankranti is also observed as a festival among certain classes. On this occasion, the participants and believers eat rice flakes, curd and sweets made of til. Also known as Tila Sankranti, the festival marks the beginning of the summer season. People believe that from this day on, the days become longer and the heat of the sun also increases. Every year it is observed on the 14th of January. People celebrate it by giving offerings to the poor.
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नागपंचमी (Nagapanchami)

Popularly known as the festival in honour of snakes, it is celebrated during the bright fortnight of the month of Shravana. In the celebration, in the South images of Snakes are crafted in cowdung on either side of the entrance to the house as a mark of welcome to snake God and offering of milks are given in the holes around the house. The festival is widely observed by the women folk who seek protection from the snakes otherwise known as Nagas.It begins with a fast. Bathing fairs are held on the banks of rivers.
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दुर्गा पूजा (Durga Puja / Dasahra)

YA DEVI SARVA BHUTESHU SAKTI RUPENA SANSHISTHA NAMASTHESAYEE NAMASTRESAYEE  NAMASTRESAYEE NAMO NAMAH. Smiling blue skies trimmed with fleecy white clouds, gentle breeze, warm sunshine and the 'kash' flowers usher in the month of Aswin (September - October). It is the time for Durga Puja, bringing with it new hope to thepeople og Ang-Pradesh. Preparations and expectations culminate in the Puja days, Shashti, Saptami, Ashtami and Nabami. The beat of drums, the clash of cymbals, the ringing of bells, dances before the image of Durga, incense wafting in the air, all form an integral part of Durga puja. All too soon it is Vijayadashmi the day when the images are taken in a procession and immersed in the river. Associated with the Puja, cultural functions and melas (fairs) are held. These melas create mass contact and develop various folk arts and cottage industries. Durga was a Puranic Goddess. In the Puranas, the struggle between the Gods and demons or 'asuras' is mentioned. Th…
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रामनवमी (Ramnavami)

The nine day celebration during bright fortnight of Chaitra month marks the birth ceremony of Lord Rama. The worship starts with morning ablations, chanting of Vedic mantras dedicated to Vishnu and offering of flowers and fruits to God. Excerpts from Ramacharitamanas extolling the glory of Rama are recited.Ramnavmi brata is considered as one of the five most important Vratas of the ancient time and everybody is obligated to observe the brata as it is the sole means of worldly happiness and salvation.
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गणेश चतुर्थी (Ganesh Chaturthi / Vinayak Chaturthi)

Vinayak Chaturthi is set apart for the sole worship of Ganesh, the common deity of all Hindus. As he is supposed to be very fond of rice puddings, these dishes are cooked on a very large scale in every Hindu house and offered to the God, to be consumed by the members of the family, after the worship is over. A fresh image of Ganesh in clay is made and worshiped on this day. One hundred and eight different names of this God are repeated after the preliminary ceremonies and 108 different flowers are thrown in worship over them. Vinayaka or Ganesh is the eldest son of Shiva and Parvati, or of Parvati only, according to the following legend, as he sprang from the dirt of her body. Shiva had gone from home and Parvati was left alone on the Kailasa; she wished to have a bath and not liking the idea of any person entering the house then, she rubbed her body with her hands and from the dirt that rolled off produced a figure to which she gave life and named Ganesh. She then asked Ganes…
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तीज (Teej)

Teeja is celebrated during the monsoon months of shravana to commemorate the event of Parvati leaving the home of her parents as a bride and lord Shiva's visit to fetch her. The festival is extremely popular among the women in North India . Married women visit their parent's home to celebrate this festival. It is an occasion on their part to sing in the praise of Parvati whose devotion to her husband was exemplary. Married women beautifully dressed pray to Parvati for marital bliss. Parvati clad in red and gold, borne on a palanquin is taken out in procession. Teej in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharastra is observed as Haritalika. This is observed in the month of Bhadrapad. For three days the brata is observed with fastings. During the festivity they offer painted coconuts and fruits to friends and goddesses as thanksgiving. Once the ritual is over, normally jaggery and rice patolis steamed in banana leaves and a sweet made from coconut milk and rice and mixed vege…
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शिवरात्रि (Shivaratri)

Shivaratri is the day on which Maheswara takes up the Linga form for the benefit of spiritual seekers. What they have to seek from Maheswar is Jnana! ‘Janam Maheswaraardichched’. It is Jnana that makes manifest the divinity latent in man. It is the final achievement of all tapas, all Yajna and Yoga ” It is the name of a Hindu Festival observed in honour of Shiva, one of the gods of the Hindu Trinity. This falls generally in the month of Magha and the festival is called the Mahashivaratri as it is observed on the night preceding the new moon. Not only the night but also the day preceding the new moon in that month is devoted by the Smarta sect of the Hindus to Shiva's worship. On this day the orthodox Hindu rises early in the morning, bathes and attends most devoutly to his prayers. He attends a temple if there is one nearby. Fasting, as a general rule, is observed throughout the day and the night. Sitting up in wakefulness throughout the night entirely absorbed in worshi…
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होली (Holi)

Holi is the most popular of the three Indian festivals - Holi, Diwali and Dussehra. It is also the most secular festival although it has a touch of religiosity. This festival is celebrated on the Full Moon Day in the month of Phalgun (February - March). 'Phalguni Purnima' has its source in the phagua or phag, the powder used in Holi. The original colours used were red and green. Red as a symbol of desire and green stands for youth and vigour. In Bengal it is known as 'Dol Purnima' from the swing in which sat Radha and Krishna. Orissa celebrates 'Dol Jatra'. In Western India, in Goa and in the Konkan, it is called 'Simagh' in celebration of youth and vitality. It is 'Madan Daman' or 'Kamayan' in South India. Kamayan represents the fulfilment of desire. North India has just 'Holi' or 'Hori'. Holi has three distinct aspects. It is symbolic of hope for new crops, youth and vigour as well as invocation to the new year. It is said Phalguna was the last month of the year as stated i…
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रक्षा बंधन (Raksha Bandhan)

Raksha Bandhan falls on the full - moon day (Purnima) of the month of Sravana (July - August). Therefore it is also called Rakhi Purnima. The main celebrations of Rakhi Purnima takes different forms in different region. IThis ritual strengthens the bond of love between brothers and sisters. Rakhi is also tied on the wrists of close friends and neighbours. Women tie a Rakhi (rosette) around the right wrist of their brothers. If the brother is in a distant place the Rakhi may be sent by post. Women receive gifts and cash from brothers. Raksha Bandhan has a historical background. About 3000 B.C. Aryans entered India through the North - Western passes and settled in North - Western India. They brought with them their traditional custom, Raksha Bandhan. It was a tradition among the Aryans to have a 'Yajna' before a war to invoke God's blessing for protection and security. Apart from the regular army, the clan leader called the able - bodied men of the villages to join the war. Bef…
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बुद्धा पूर्णिमा (Buddha Purnima)

Buddha Purnima is the most sacred day in the Buddhist calendar. It is the most important festival of the Buddhists, and is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Although Buddhists regard every full moon as sacred, the moon of the month of Vaisakh (April - May) has special significance because on this day the Buddha was born, attained enlightenment, and attained Nirvana when he died. This strange, three - fold coincidence, gives Buddha Purnima its unique significance. The Buddha was born in 544 BC, over two thousand five hundred years ago. His father, King Suddhidana, was one of the best-known ruler of the Sakya dynasty. He, liked Lord Rama, was a Suryavanshi who traced his legendary descent from the sun. On the full moon day of Vaisakh, the Buddha's mother, Queen Mahamaya, happened to be on her way from the capital Kapilavastu to her parent's home in Devdaha. During the journey she stopped under the shade of two Sal trees at Lumbini, where she gave birth to the Buddha. When she …
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बक़रीद (Eid-Ul-Zuha – Bakar-eid)

Eid - ul - Zuha falls about two months and nine days after Eid - ul - Fitr. On this occasion Muslims who can, go on pilgrimage to Mecca. This pilgrimage is known as Haj. On Eid - ul - Zuha Muslims offer goats or sheep in sacrifice to God. This commemorates the attempted sacrifice by the Prophet Abraham of his son Ishmael, which was commanded by God to test the faith of Abraham. But when Abraham was about to kill his own son, God performed a miracle and substituted a ram in place of Ishmael. Eid - ul - Zuha celebrates this great act of sacrifice. As on Eid - ul - Fitr, on Eid - ul - Zuha also additional recitations are added to the morning prayer and people embrace each other in offering felicitations. Then they offer whatever animal they can afford by way of sacrifice. The flesh of the sacrificed animal is given to the poor and needy. Eid - ul - Zuha is , therefore, also known as Eid - ul - Kurban (the Eid of sacrifice). On this Eid also children are given eidee, but they are…
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ईद (Eid-Ul-Fitr)

Eid is a Muslim festival. Every year there are two Eids : Eid - ul - Fitr and Eid - ul - Zuha. Of the two, Eid - ul - Fitr is the more popular. The Muslim religious calendar is based on lunar months. The ninth lunar month is known as Ramzan. During this month Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and during these hours they are forbidden to eat, drink or indulge in any form of pleasure. So strict are the injunctions against eating and drinking that even the taking of medicine or water is forbidden, as also smoking cigarettes, bidis or hookahs. During Ramzan, Muslims are required to make a special effort to settle their differences and refrain from quarrelling, talking ill of others, and from lying, cheating, or using bad language. Any breach of these is regarded as violating the spirit of Ramazari and deprives the defaulter of any merit he might have earned. If someone deliberately eats or drinks anything - even tastes a morsel of food - the fast is considered as having been bro…
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छठ पूजा (Chhath Puja)

Though there are many festivals that are celebrated by the Hindus of Bihar, but there is one Hindu festival that is uniquely Bihari, and that is the festival of Chhath. Observed mostly by the people of North Bihar, it is dedicated to the worship of the Sun God and therefore, is also known as SuryaShashti. Chhath is considered to be a means to thank the Sun for bestowing the bounties of life on earth, as also for fulfilling particular wishes. The word Chhath denotes the number six and thus the festival begins on the sixth day of the Hindu month of Kartik in the Hindu lunar calendar, corresponding to late October and mid November, i.e. on 6th day after Deepawali, depending on the year. It is one of the holiest festivals for Biharis and extends for four days. Chhattha, the festival of the sixth day after Diwali is observed with great pomp and show. On this occasion the longest of all fasts is observed by the people, especially women, who before breaking it offer cow's milk, coco…
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जन्माष्टमी (Krishna Janmashtami)

Krishna Janmashtami (Devanagari कृष्ण जन्माष्टमी kṛṣṇa janmāṣṭamī), also known as Krishnashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Srikrishna Jayanti,Sree Jayanti or sometimes simply as Janmashtami, is an annual celebration of the birth of the Hindu deity Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. The festival is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Shravana (August–September) in the Hindu calendar. Rasa lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature in regions of Mathura and Vrindavan, and regions following Vaishnavism in Manipur. While the Rasa lila re-creates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna's youthful days, the Dahi Handi celebrate God's playful and mischievous side, where teams of young men form human towers to reach a high-hanging pot of butter and break it. This tradition, also known as uriadi, is a major event in Tamil Nadu on Gokulashtami. Krishna Janmashtami is followed by the f…
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समा – चकेवा (Sama Chakeva)

It is during the winter season that the birds from the Himalayas migrate towards the plains. With the advent of these colorful birds, celebration of sama–chakeva is done. This is a festival especially celebrated in Mithila and Anga. Mithilanchal dedicates this festival to the celebration of the brother sister relationship. It represents the tradition of this land as well as the art of making idols. This festival starts with the welcoming of the pair of birds sama-chakeva. Girls make clay idols of various birds and decorate them in their own traditional ways. Various rituals are performed and the festival joyfully ended with the ‘vidai’ of sama and with a wish that these birds return to this land the next year.
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