Holi: The festival of colors
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 festival of Holi can be regarded as a celebration of the Colors of Unity & Brotherhood – an opportunity to forget all differences and indulge in unadulterated fun. It has traditionally been celebrated in high spirit without any distinction of cast, creed, color, race, status or sex.
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.
27th February, 2014:
Maha Shivratri, Meaning “great night of Shiva” is a Hindu festival largely celebrated in India as well as in Nepal. The day is celebrated to venerate Lord Shiva, an important deity in Hindu culture. Maha Shivratri, the night of the worship of Shiva is celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day of the krishna paksha or waning phase of the moon in Phalgun. Along with keeping a fast, cold water and bel patra (leaves of the wood apple tree) are offered to the lingam during the day. The festival is celebrated by traditional offerings such as bathing Shiva in milk, panchamruta (milk,curd,ghee,sugar and honey ), one after the other in succession; or anointing the lingam with vermilion (kumkum), white consecrated rice and askshata, (symbols of fertility or creation), when Shiva is worshipped as the god of dissolution.
14 Feb 2014 : Magh Poornima (significance and Celebration)
Magh Purnima is the full moon day in the Hindu month of Magh (January – February). Magha, or Maghi, is month during which the famous Kumbh Mela and the annual Magh Mela takes place at Sangam in Prayag or Allahabad.
According to Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Lord Vishnu resides in the water on Ganges on this day. Hence, it is believed that even touching the holy water of Ganges on this day provides salvation. It is also believed that Lord Vishnu is most impressed when a person takes a bath in the holy rivers on this day. Even fasts, donations or charities don’t impress him as much.
11th Febrary, 2014: Bhishma Dwadashi
Bhishma Dvadasi, is observed on the 12th day in the month of Magha (January – February) during the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon). Bhisma Dwadasi is also known as Magh Shukla Dwadasi. It is widely believed that Pandavas performed the last rites of Bhishma, the son of King Shantanu and Ganga in Mahabharata, on this day.
Deepawali or Diwali is the biggest and the brightest festival of Hindu. Diwali literally means a “Row of Lights.” It is a time filled with light and love. Diwali also called Divali, Deepavali is a five-day Hindu festival which starts on Dhanteras, celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha of the Hindu calendar month Karthik and ends on Bhaubeej, celebrated on the second lunar day of Shukla paksha of the Hindu calendar month Kartik. Deepawali is celebrated on kartik amavasyaa (15th krishan paksha).In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali falls between mid-October and mid-November.
The Diwali or Deepavali festival marks the victory of good over evil. The Sanskrit word “Deepavali” means “an array of lights” and signifies the victory of brightness over darkness. As the knowledge of Sanskrit diminished, the name was popularly modified to Diwali.
On Diwali, the goddess Laxmi, a symbol of prosperity, is worshipped. People wear new clothes, share sweets and light firecrackers. The business community usually starts their financial new year on Diwali and new account books are opened on this day.
Naraka Chaturdashi is a Hindu festival, which falls on the second day of the festival of Diwali. The day is also known as Kali Chaudas, Roop Chaudas and Choti Diwali.
The Second Day of Diwali is called Narak-Chaturdashi or more popularly as Chhoti Diwali or kali chaudas which falls on the 14th day of the month of Kartik. Narak Chaturdashi = Narak + Chaturdashi (Fourteenth) = The day when Demon Narakasura was slayed by Lord Krishna, falls on the 14th day of the month of Kartik. This festival is observed to commemorate the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king, Narkasur. This day is also celebrated as the birthday of Hanumanji or Hanuman jayanti. Also, on this day Hanumanji reached Ayodhya to deliver the long-awaited message of Lord Rama’s return. Just like diwali people light diyas on chhoti diwali to fill their homes with light, worship Goddess Laxmi and offer prayers to Her and they also burst firecrackers but all these things are not as grand as they are on the day of main diwali .
Dhanteras is the celebrated in India and it is the first day of the five-day Diwali Festival. In Sanskrit this festival is known as “Dhanatrayodashi” or “Dhanvantari Trayodashi“. It is celebrated on the thirteenth day of Krishna paksha in the Hindu calendar month of Karthik.
On this day, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped to provide prosperity and well-being. On the auspicious day of Dhanteras, peoples are supposed to buy any new utensil or gold or silver. It is said that if one buys any of these on the day of Dhanteras then Goddess Lakshmi showers them with more of these things. The Hindu God of wealth, Kuber is also worshipped on the day of Dhanteras. It is a custom among many communities to worship Lakshmi and Kuber together to double the benefits of prayers.