Thursday, June 23, 2011

Festivals in June 2011

  • Saint Gyaneshwar Jayanti
  • Sindhu Darshan Festival
  • Maharana Pratap Jayanti
  • Haldighatti Festival
  • Urs Ajmer
  • World Environment Day
  • Maheshwari Jayanti
  • Nirjala Ekadashi
  • Vat Savitri Puja
  • World Red Cross Day
  • Blood Donation Day
  • Saint Kabir Jayanti
  • Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti
  • Vat Savitri
  • Guru Arjun Dev's Punya Tithi
  • Guru Amar Das Jayanti
  • Goa Memorable Day
  • Father's Day
  • Hemis Festival
  • Naag Panchami (Bengal)
  • Sao Joao Feast of St John the Baptist
  • Champakulam Boat Race
  • Hazrat Ali's Birthday

June (Jyeshta / Aashada)

Happy Father's Day

June falls among the hottest months of the year in India. This is one of the four months with a length of 30 days. It corresponds with the Hindu months of Jyeshta and Aashada when many of the Indian festivals and important dates occur.

In the month of June, religious celebrations of Jyeshta and Aashada like Vat Purnima, Guru Purnima, a festival that is dedicated to Guru falls.
Important occasion of Ganga Dussehra is the festival that continues for ten days in which the Holy River Ganga is worshiped by the Hindus as a mother as well as a goddess. The day of appearance of mother of Vedas, Goddess Gayatri is observed as Gayatri Jayanti. An amazing festival named Jamai Shasthi is celebrated in Kolkata which displays beautiful bonding of son-in-law with his in-laws.

Another revered festival is Nirjala Ekadeshi that is a strict fast observed by people of all the ages in which even drinking water is prohibited and performed in dedication to Lord Vishnu so that devotees will get a place in heaven.

Father's Day is the most important event of this month though the initiation of the day belongs to western countries but now it is widely celebrated in India also. This day is an occasion to recall, recognize and remember those endless pains that every father bears for growth and upbringing of their children and is a great opportunity to pay sincere gratitude to him.

Shimla Summer Festival, World Environment Day, Maharana Pratap Jayanti, Hemis Festival, Blood Donation Day, Sao Joao Feast of St John the Baptist, Champakulam Boat Race , World Diabetes Day etc. also embellish month of June.

Festivals of India 2011

Indian Festivals celebrated by varied cultures and through their special rituals add to the colours of Indian Heritage. Some festivals welcome the seasons of the year, the harvest, the rains, or the full moon. Others celebrate religious occasions, the birthdays of divine beings, saints, and gurus (revered teachers), or the advent of the New Year. A number of these festivals are common to most parts of India. However, they June be called by different names in various parts of the country or June be celebrated in a different fashion.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vasant Navratri 2011 dates



Ghatsthapana – Navratri Day 1 – April 4, 2011
Sindhara Dooj, Dwitiya - April 5, 2011
Gaur Teej, Saubhagya Teej, Tritiya - April 6, 2011
Varadvinayak Chaturthi - April 7, 2011
Sri Laxmi Panchami Vrat, Naag Vrat Pujan - April 8, 2011
Skand Shashthi, Yamuna Jayanti - April 9, 2011
Mahasaptami Vrat, Chaiti Chath, Vijaya Saptami - April 10, 2011
Sri Durga Mahaashtami, Annapurna Ashtami - April 11, 2011
Vasant Navratri ends – Ram Navratri Day 9 – April 12, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011

Holi The Festival of Colours



Holi – the Festival of Colors is marked as the opening festival in Hindu calendar, falls on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun. People enjoy themselves playing with several colours and celebrate the whole day with much pump and gaiety.


Originally Holi was regarded to be the festival to celebrate good harvests and fertility of the land. There are several legends and stories behind Holi. A popular legend says that Holi is remembered for the sacrifice of Holika who burnt herself in fire on this day.

Holi is therefore regarded one of the most ancient festivals of the Aryans who finds an honored mention in our old Sanskrit texts like Dashakumar Charit and Garud Puran. Even the play "Ratnavali" written by Harshdev states a delightful description of Holi as a festival. In those days this very festival was celebrated as "Vasantotsav". Latter everybody started calling it "MADANOTSAV".

Holi 2011

Celebration of Holi festival is characterized by performing Holi puja as per Hindu tradition. Dhuleti, which falls day after Holi Puja, is considered to be the actual festival of colors. Children and youngsters vie with each other use fast and sticky colors to celebrate Holi. It is all fun and joy for them.

About Holi


The festival of Holi begins on Duwadashi - on the twelfth day of the waxing moon in the month of Phalgun. Spirits run high as the preparations for the festivities begin, as a custom, mothers make new clothes for their married daughters. Coloured powder (Gulal) is bought and prepared, long syringes called 'pichkaris' are made ready and water balloons are bought and filled. Preparations are made to cook the special food items that are exclusively meant for this festival.

Three days before the full moon, 'Rang Pashi' brings Holi into all households. The families get together in the evenings when people visit each other to perform the formal sprinkling of colour. In the past ‘the household purohit' or priest was invited to begin the celebrations. Today, however this task has been taken over by the eldest male member of the family. A 'thali' or plate is arranged with coloured powders and coloured water is placed in a small brass container called a 'lota'. The eldest male member of the family begins the festivities by sprinkling coloured water and powders on each member of the assembled family. It is then the turn of the younger ones to do the same. In this unique way, affection and blessings are shared by all in the family. The celebrations on this day end with the partaking of food specially cooked for this occasion - gujjia, papri and kanji ke vade. Sometimes, meat dish like kofta curry is also served. It is customary to serve drinks before the meal.

The next day is known as 'Puno'. On this day, Holika is burnt in keeping with the legend of Prahlad and his devotion to lord Vishnu. In the evening, huge bonfires are lit on street corners at the crossroads. Usually this is a community celebration and people gather near the fire to fill the air with folk strains and dances. Sheaves of green gram and wheat are roasted in the bonfire and eaten.

The actual festival of Holi takes place the day after this. This day is called 'Parva'. Children, friends and neighbours gather on the streets and a riot of colour takes over. Coloured powders called 'abeer' or 'gulal' are thrown into the air and smeared on faces and bodies. 'Pichkaris' are filled with coloured water and this is spurted onto people. Water balloons are thrown at friends and neighbours in the spirit of fun. Sometimes, mud baths are prepared and people are 'dunked' into this amidst much laughter and teasing. The visitors carry 'abeer' or 'gulal' to pay their respects to elders by sprinkling some on their feet. The younger crowd is drenched with buckets of coloured water and pummeled with water balloons. 'Dholaks' or Indian drums are heard everywhere and the songs of Holi are carried by the voices of these merry-makers.

There is no 'puja' or worship associated with this festival of colours. Some 'gulal' or 'abeer' is smeared on the faces of the Gods, especially Krishna and Radha, at the commencement of the festivities.

There are some quaint customs attached to this festival. Inviting sons-in-law and their families for a meal on this day is a must. When the meal is over, it is customary to give the sons-in-law, what is known as a 'pyala' - a crisp note of any denomination from rupees five to rupees five hundred is offered along with a glass of drink. Married daughters are given what is called 'kothli' or travel money by their mother-in-law, or the eldest lady in the family. Another custom entails a bit of fun, and is usually performed by a new bride with the help of the children in the family. The new bride is supposed to play a prank on the older couples of the family, usually her parents-in-law, and somehow lure them into a room to lock them in. The bride then demands a present for setting them free. The gift is usually a saree or a piece of jewelry. The bride is supposed to sing a song specially composed for the occasion, in which she will demand her ransom.

Holi is celebrated in the country with great zest and verve. It is a time to remember the brightness and splendor of living, a time to spread joy, colour and love into the lives of our near and dear ones.

Colour:
Phalgun arrives with the promise of warm days and new life - Spring is the season of rejuvenation and rebirth. The earth discards its winter gloom and begins to blossom again. As if to mark this change, Holi flings colour into Indian landscape and invites the celebration of life.

The spirit of Holi is colour - rich and vibrant, flung into the air and smeared with laughter on friends and loved ones. It recalls, very simply, the secret of life: a shifting panorama of sights, movement and feelings. Colours denotes energy - the vivid, passionate pulse of life. Colour signifies the vitality that makes the human race unique in the universal scheme. Holi, the festival of colour, is also the enactment of spring. It is, in a metaphorical sense, changing earth’s dull garb of winter for the fresh blue of the March skies, the bright colours of new blossoms, the brilliance of the summer sun washing everything with its red-gold hues.

Holi comes alive with the colours of 'gulal'. These are dry colours that are sold days before the festival actually begins. Markets are flooded with heaps of gulal - they are arranged in pyramids and sold loose. Vendors sit on street corners selling gulal to passers-by. Gulal is made up of many rich colours like pink, magenta, red, yellow and green. 'Abeer' is made of small crystals or paper like chips of mica. This is usually mixed with the gulal to give it a rich shine. These colours can be used dry, or mixed with water. New brides make a silver or gold colour from powders specially available in the market. This colour is mixed with a little coconut oil and stored in a bottle. It is applied in tiny quantities on the foreheads of near and dear ones, like a 'tilak' or a blaze-like mark.

In the old days, colour for Holi was made at home, from the flowers of the 'tesu' tree. This tree is also called 'the flame of the forest' or 'palash'. The flowers of the latter are bright red in colour and they used to be collected from the trees and spread out on mats, to dry in the sun. Once dried, they were then ground to a fine powder. This powder was then mixed with water to give a beautiful saffron-red colour. The mixture was considered good for health, probably because of the reddish glow it left behind on the skin.

Holi is, therefore, aptly called the festival of colour. Its spirit is uniquely Indian, colourful, exotic, and full of the energy of life.

Clothes:
Like all other festivals in India, Holi has its share of traditional clothing. Mothers usually gift new clothes to their married daughters and their young children. According to tradition, once the daughter's children get married, they automatically forfeit the right to this gift. A special saree known as a 'dandia' is gifted to the married daughter. The dandia is a white cotton saree, preferably of voile or 'mulmul'. Its borders are dyed with a non-fast colour called Indian Pink. The dandia is made by gathering all four sides of the saree and dipping each side, in turn, into the Indian Pink, allowing the colour to catch two to three inches of the cloth on each side. The colour spreads in uneven splendor towards the middle of the saree but to a limited extent. The effect is that of a slowly spreading blush. When the colour dries, the saree can be further decorated with paisley designs on the entire body. Other Indian motifs can also be used. When the colour and designs are ready, a border of gold or silver, about two to three inches in width, is stitched on to the edges of the dandia. This border is called a 'gota'. The portion of the saree that covers the head ('pallu'), has a 'kiran' or a fine fringe of gold or silver, attached to it. This adds shimmer to the dandia. According to the custom dandia is gifted, along with another saree, and blouses and petticoats to match. This traditional attire is a must for a newly wed bride.

On the day of Holi, mothers send their children out on the streets to indulge in all the drenching and smearing of colour. Many like to wear white sarees or salwar kameez, and the men often wear white pajamas and kurtas and these act as wonderful contrasts to the bright colours everywhere.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Basant Panchami Festival

Basant Panchami has a specific meaning, Basant means Spring, whereas Panchami means the fifth day of the spring. It falls on Panchami - on the Waxing Moon. The festival lies in the month of January-February.

The young girls dressed in the diverse shades of yellow magnify the splendor of nature. Kite flying, a popular sport in India, is associated with the Basant Panchami day. It is a day for young crowd - no routine work, no studies, only merry making.


The Celebrations

The festival is celebrated with full vivacity and festivity to mark the end of the winters. It is one of the first festivals of the Year and is celebrated all over India. The yellow color has great significance, people wear yellow clothes, offer yellow flowers in worship and put a yellow, turmeric tilak on their forehead. They visit temples and offer prayers to various gods. At home, kesar halva, also yellow in color, is prepared. The yellow flowers of mustard crop covers the entire field in such a way that it seems as if gold is spread over the land glittering with the rays of the sun.

Worship Goddess-Sarasvati

The day of Basant Panchami is dedicated to Goddess Sarasvati. Sarasvati is the goddess of learning who bequeaths the greatest wealth to humanity, the wealth of knowledge. Hindu mythology depicts Sarasvati as a pristine lady bedecked with white attire, white flowers and white pearls, sitting on a white lotus, which blooms in a wide stretch of water. The Goddess also holds Veena, a string-instrument, like Sitar, for playing music. The prayer of Sarasvati finally concludes as, "Oh Mother Sarasvati remove the darkness (ignorance) of my mind and bless me with the eternal knowledge."


Prasadam

The "Prasadam" for the Goddess at the time of Basant Panchami celebrations varies from community to community. Some offers "Ber"/- a fruit, that is found in abundance in Northern and Eastern India, or "Sangari"- a kind of bean that grows on the roots of the radish plant.


The Rituals Performed

The mythological history of Sarasvati associates her with the holy rituals performed on the banks of the river Sarasvati. She is worshipped as a goddess of speech, attributed to the formation of (words), invention of Sanskrit language and composition of hymns.


Sarasvati --A Water Deity

The Vedas also describes Sarasvati as a water deity. The River Goddess --Sarasvat, according to popular belief originated from the Himalayas, Goddess in the form of river meander towards southeast of India, finally rendezvous with the River Ganges at Prayag and River Yamuna. Hence the place is called Triveni. In due time this course of water petered away.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Saare Jahaan Se Achha Song

The Indians celebrate the enforcement of the Constitution as Republic Day on January 26th every year. India became a totally sovereign, democratic and republic state on this day in 1950. This day is commemorated to remember the freedom fighters and great leaders of our country. A massive parade is taken out at the Rajpath in New Delhi. Melodious patriotic songs filled with love and patriotism are played on this day. 'Saare Jahaan Se Achha' is a well-known poem written by Urdu poet, Muhammad Iqbal. Though written in the ghazal style, this poem went ahead to become the anthem of opposition for the British Rule. Quite an old song, it is still cherished and sung with the same devotion and energy in the hearts of Indians. This song is better known as "Tarana-e-Hindi" or "Anthem of the People of Hindustan". To know the lyrics of this song, go through the lines given herein.

Saare Jahaan Se Achha Lyrics

sare jahan se accha hindostan hamara
hum bulbulain hai is ki, yeh gulsitan hamara

ghurbat men hon agar ham, rahta hai dil vatan men
samjho vahin hamen bhi, dil hain jahan hamara

parbat voh sab se uncha, hamsaya asman ka
voh santari hamara, voh pasban hamara

godi men khelti hain is ki hazaron nadiya
gulshan hai jin ke dam se, rashk-e-janan hamara

aye ab, raud, ganga, voh din hen yad tujhko
utara tere kinare, jab karvan hamara

maz'hab nahin sikhata apas men bayr rakhna
hindvi hai ham, vatan hai hindostan hamara

yunan-o-misr-o-roma, sab mil gaye jahan se
ab tak magar hai baqi, nam-o-nishan hamara

kuch bat hai keh hasti, milati nahin hamari
sadiyon raha hai dushman, daur-e-zaman hamara

iqbal ko'i meharam, apna nahin jahan men
m'alum kya kisi ko, dard-e-nihan hamara

sare jahan se accha hindostan hamara

ham bulbulain hai is ki, yeh gulsitan hamara

Vande Mataram Song

January 26th is one of the most remarkable days in the history of India and for all Indians. On this very special day in 1950, our constitution and our motherland became a totally sovereign, democratic and republic state. The day is honored with great respect and celebrated with immense zeal, fervor and grandeur. While the main event takes place at the Rajpath at India Gate in the capital of New Delhi, other states carry out their individual flag hoisting ceremonies. A large variety of patriotic songs can be heard from all across the country. 'Vande Mataram' is the national song of India, composed by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. The song lyrics combine both Bengali and Sanskrit words. Find the lyrics of the 'Vande Matram' song in the following lines.

Vande Mataram Lyrics

Vande Maataram, vande maataram
Sujala sufala malayaja-shitalaam
Shashya-shyaamala maataram
Vande maataram

Shubhra-jyotsna-pulakita yaamini
Phulakusumati-drumadala shobhini
Suhaasini sumadhur bhaashini
Sukhada varada maataram
Vande maataram

Koti Koti Kantha Kalakalaninada Karaale
Koti Koti Bhujaidhritakharakaravale
Abalaa Keno Maa Eto Bale
Bahubaladharinim Namami Tarinim
Ripudalavarinim Maataram
Vande Mataram

Tumi Vidyaa Tumi Dharma
Tumi Hridi Tumi Marma
Tvam Hi Pranah Sharire Baahute Tumi Maa Shakti
Hridaye Tumi Maa Bhakti
Tomaara Pratima Gadi
Mandire Mandire
Vande Mataram

Tvam Hi Durga Dashapraharanadharini
Kamala Kamaladala Vihaarini
Vani Vidyadayini Namami Tvam
Namami Kamalam Amalam Atulam
Sujalam Suphalam Maataram
Shyaamalam Saralam Susmitam Bhushhitam
Dharanim Bharanim Maataram
Vande Mataram...

Republic Day Parade

Republic Day Parade
Republic Day is one of the national holidays in India celebrated on the 26th of January every year. It is considered as one of the most important days in the Indian history, as India adopted the Indian Constitution and became a sovereign, democratic and republic state on this day in 1950. The day is honored and celebrated with great joy, gusto, splendor and magnificence. The whole nation is engaged in true patriotic spirit by singing and playing patriotic songs and organizing cultural programs. However, the main event takes place at the Rajpath in New Delhi, the capital of India. People gather in large numbers at the India Gate to view the gorgeous parade. The entire parade is telecasted live on the national television. Read on to know the main highlights of the Republic Day parade that takes place annually.

Republic Day Parade At New Delhi


The day starts off with the Prime Minister laying a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to commemorate the martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the nation. This memorial is situated at India Gate at one end of Rajpath. A two minute silence is observed in the memory of these unknown soldiers. The Prime Minister is then driven to the main dais at Rajpath, where he is joined by the President and other dignitaries. The President then unfurls the Indian flag which is immediately followed by the National Anthem. He is then accompanied by the honorable Head of State or Government from a foreign country as the Chief Guest. Soon after, a 21 gun salute is presented.

The President comes forward to award the medals for bravery, such as the Ashok Chakra and Kirti Chakra to the people who have shown exceptional excellence in their respective fields. This marks the beginning of the parade by the three regiments of the Armed Forces, namely the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. Dressed in their finery and official decorations, the soldiers march past, bringing down their weapons, while passing by the President as a gesture of respect towards the head. The President, who serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, comes forward and takes the salute. The winners of the gallantry awards also pass by in open jeeps. Kids, who have won National Bravery Awards, pass by on elephants.

The grand parade continues with the Indian Military showcasing its latest acquisitions, namely, tanks, missiles, radars, etc. Different helicopters from the Indian Air Force fly past the parade showcasing their stunts and showering rose petals on the audience beneath. This military parade is followed by a colorful cultural parade. Different tableaus display India’s rich cultural heritage from various states, with each one depicting its unique location, art and festivals. This section of the parade adds to the festivity of the occasion by exhibiting the diversity and richness of the Indian culture.

Various government departments and ministries also display their tableaus displaying new inventions and developments for the progress of the country. This is then followed by regional tableaus, with each region displaying its culture and heritage. School children perform different folk dances from across India on patriotic songs. This is followed by displays of dangerous and exciting skilful motor-cycle rides by the Armed Forces personnel. Last but not the least, jets and fighter planes from the Indian Air Force fly past the parade symbolically saluting the President thereby, traditionally concluding the Republic Day parade. The parade marches along the India Gate and ends into the Red fort in the walled city of Old Delhi.

Republic Day Celebrations

Republic Day is a national holiday that is celebrated every year with immense zeal and enthusiasm. The Constitution of India was enforced on 26th January, 1950 marking a historical moment in the Indian history. Hence, this day is honored with great joy, pride and vigor across the country as India was also declared a sovereign, democratic and republic state on this very day. The day calls in for grand celebrations, which are evident from the massive parades, cultural programs, recitation of patriotic poems and singing and playing of patriotic songs throughout. Though every Indian state holds its celebrations, but the capital of city of New Delhi witnesses a grand parade at India Gate, near the President's Palace. Read on to know all about Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.

How Is Republic Day Celebrated

The Prime Minister lays a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti early in the morning to honor the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the nation. A two minute silence is observed in their memory and the Prime Minister moves ahead to the main dais at Rajpath. The President joins him/her there along with the Chief Guest and other dignitaries. The Chief Guest is usually the Head of State or Government from a foreign nation. The President hoists the flag and soon, the National Anthem is played. This is followed by a 21 gun salute.

The parade starts off with the Armed Forces regiments walking past the President. All the three regiments, that is, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force dress in their best official uniforms and march past finely. The Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, that is, the President takes the salute as the regiment pass by. The parade also includes people from the armed forces and civilians who have shown exceptional courage and distinguished themselves in various acts of heroism in different situations. The military parade is then followed with a vibrant and colorful parade of regional tableaus.

Cultural and folk dances also form the part of the parade where school children sing and dance to patriotic songs. The parade ends by jets and fighter planes flying past the parade symbolically saluting the President. The parade is telecasted live on the national television, allowing the entire nation to view it. Lastly, the crowd stands up as the National Anthem is played. However, this is not the end of the Republic Day celebrations. It is, in fact, a three-day extravaganza, where on the 27th January, the creme of the NCC cadets hold a Prime Minister's rally. A wide variety of breath-taking performances and drills make the highlights.

All the major government buildings are beautifully illuminated with lights every evening from 26th to 29th January. On the third day after Republic Day, that is 29th, 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony is conducted consisting of massed bands marching to the popular tunes. The Drummer's Call follows wherein the drummers give solo performances. Thereafter, the Bugle Call follows which is characterized by the band master walking up to the President requesting to take the bands away. This marks the end of the closing ceremony of Republic Day. At 6 pm, the buglers sound the retreat and the National Flag is lowered. With this, the Republic Day celebrations are formally ended.

Republic Day 26th January

Republic Day is one of the three national holidays of India and the greatest festival celebrated in the country. It is celebrated every year on January 26, in New Delhi with great pomp, fanfare and pageant. While in the capitals of the States and other headquarters, it is marked with patriotic fervor. The most spectacular celebrations are marked by the Republic Day Parade that takes place in the capital of New Delhi at Rajpath. It includes march past of the three armed forces, massive parades, folk dances by tribal folk from different states in picturesque costumes marking the cultural unity of India. Further, the streak of jet planes of Indian Air Force, leaving a trial of colored smoke, marks the end of the festival.

It was the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress at midnight of December 31, 1929 - January 1, 1930, that the Tri-Color Flag was unfurled by the nationalists and a pledge was taken that on January 26 every year, "Republic Day" would be celebrated and that the people would unceasingly strive for the establishment of a Sovereign Democratic Republic India. The professed pledge was successfully redeemed on January 26, 1950, when the Constitution of India framed by the Constituent Assembly of India came into force, although the Independence from the British rule was already achieved on August 15, 1947. It is because of this fact that August 15 is celebrated as Independence Day, while January 26 as Republic Day.

The Republic Day celebrations of India have rightly become world famous as one of the greatest shows on earth drawing thousands of eager sight-seers from all over the country and many parts of the world as well. No other country can draw on such a wealth of tribal traditions and cultures, with so many regional forms of dances and dress. And, no other country in the world can parade so many ethnically different people in splendid uniforms, all united in their proven loyalty to the Government elected by the people and in their proud traditions and legendary gallantry.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Makar Sankranti Festival

This festival, unlike other Hindu festivals, is not dependent on the position of the moon, but on position of the sun. On this day, the sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn. To compensate for the difference that occurs due to the revolution around the sun, every eighty years the day of sankrant is postponed by one day. In the present period Makar-sankrant falls on 14th January.

History

Sankranti is considered a Deity. According to a legend Sankranti killed a demon named Sankarasur.The day followed by Makar sankrant is called Kinkrant or Karidin. On this day, the female deity (devi) slayed the demon Kinkarasur.

Information

Information on Sankranti is available in the Panchang: The Panchang (Hindu Almanac) provides information on the form, age, clothing, direction of movement etc. of Sankranti. This information is appropriate to the changes taking place in Her according to time. He who is touched by Goddess Sankranti gets destroyed.

Importance

The northward movement of the sun begins on this day. The period from Karkasankrant (the passage of the sun into the zodiac sign of Cancer) to Makarsankrant is called the dakshinayan. A person who dies in the dakshinayan period has a greater chance of going to Yamalok (southward region), than one who dies during uttarayan (northward revolution).

Importance from the point of view of spiritual practice: On this day, from sunrise to sunset, the environment has more chaitanya (Divine conscious-ness); hence those doing spiritual practice can benefit from this chaitanya.

Methods of celebration

Benefit of highest merit acquired by a Holy dip on the day of Makarsankrant: The time from sunrise to sunset on Makar-sankrant is auspicious. A Holy dip during this period carries special significance. Those who take a Holy dip in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krushna and Kaveri at the Holy places situated on the banks of these rivers acquire the highest merit.

Makar Sankranti - January 14, 2011

Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious occasions for the Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of the country in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion, fervour & gaiety. It is a harvest festival. Makar Sankranti is perhaps the only Indian festival whose date always falls on the same day every year i.e. the 14th of January.



Makar Sankranti is the day when the glorious Sun-God begins its ascendancy and entry into the Northern Hemisphere and thus it signifies an event wherein the Sun-God seems to remind their children that 'Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya', may you go higher & higher, to more & more Light and never to Darkness.

To Hindus, the Sun stands for knowledge, spiritual light and wisdom. Makar Sankranti signifies that we should turn away from the darkness of delusion in which we live, and begin to enjoy a new life with bright light within us to shine brighter and brighter. We should gradually begin to grow in purity, wisdom, and knowledge, even as the Sun does from the Day of Makar Sankranti.

The festival of Makar Sankranti is highly regarded by the Hindus from North to down South. The day is known by various names and a variety of traditions are witnessed as one explores the festival in different states.

Celebrate Lohri 2011

Celebrate Lohri 2011 on January 13th, Thursday

Lohri, is celebrated every year on 13th of January. It is a festival to worship fire. Lohri Festival is celebrated with great pomp in North India. At this time Earth starts moving towards the sun marking the auspicious period of Uttarayan. First Lohri is very important for the newly wed and the new born babies as it marks fertility. At night, people gather around the bonfire and throw til, puffed rice & popcorns into the flames of the bonfire. Prayers are offered to the bonfire seeking abundance & prosperity. People make merry by dancing & singing traditional folk songs.


Regional Celebrations
As India is a multilingual, multi-religious, multi-cultural nation, the festival of Lohri possess unique regional celebration that is quite diverse according to the geographical regions.

People throughout India love celebrating the festival of Lohri but with different names and different tradition, customs and rituals. But everywhere this day leads to joyous celebrations, music, folk dances and songs. The homes are neatly decorated, new dresses are worn, prayers are offered to Gods and lot of sweets and goodies are cooked. Thus, different cultures also mean that different rituals are followed.


Across India, people celebrate the month and the bountiful harvest it brings Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Bhugali Bihu in Assam, Bhogi in Andhra Pradesh and Sankranti in Karnataka, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The festival is spread over three days in South India and signifies the beginning of harvesting. A Rath Yatra is taken out from the Kandaswamy temple in Chennai on Pongal. The day is celebrated as Ganga-Sagar mela in West Bengal and according to popular belief; Hindus can purify their sins by taking bath in the Ganges on this day. A big fair is also held on the Sagara Island, 64 km from the Diamond Harbor where the Ganga meets the Bay of Bengal. The various state of India where this festival is celebrated are:


Maharashtra
In Maharashtra on the Sankranti day people exchange multi-colored tilguds made from til (sesame seeds) and sugar and til-laddus made from til and jaggery. Til-polis are offered for lunch and these are specialties of Maharashtra. Maharashtrian women are proud of their excellence in preparing these delicacies. While exchanging tilguls as tokens of goodwill people greet each other saying - "til-gul ghya, god god bola" meaning "accept these tilguls and speak sweet words". The under-lying thought in the exchange of tilguls is to forget the past ill-feelings and hostilities and resolve to speak sweetly and remain friends. This is a special day for the women in Maharashtra when married women are invited for a get-together called "Haldi-Kumkoo" and given gifts of any utensil, which the woman of the house purchases on that day.


Gujarat
In Gujarat Sankrant is observed more or less in the same manner as in Maharashtra but with a difference that in Gujarat there is a custom of giving gifts to relatives. The elders in the family give gifts to the younger members of the family. The Gujarati Pundits on this auspicious day grant scholarships to students for higher studies in astrology and philosophy. This festival thus help the maintenance of social relationships within the family, caste and community.


Punjab
In Punjab where December and January are the coldest months of the year, huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Sankrant and which is celebrated as "Lohari". Sweets, sugarcane and rice are thrown in the bonfires, around which friends and relatives gather together. The following day, which is Sankrant is celebrated as Maghi. The Punjabi's dance their famous Bhangra dance till they get exhausted. Then they sit down and eat the sumptuous food that is specially prepared for the occasion.


Bundelkhand and Madhya Pradesh

In Bundelkhand and Madhya Pradesh this festival of Sankrant is known by the name "Sukarat" or "Sakarat" and is celebrated with great pomp merriment accompanied by lot of sweets.


South Indian State

In South Sankrant is known by the name of "Pongal", which takes its name from the surging of rice boiled in a pot of milk and this festival has more significance than even Diwali. It is very popular particularly amongst farmers. Rice and pulses cooked together in ghee and milk is offered to the family deity after the ritual worship. In essence in the South this Sankranti is a "Puja" (worship) for the Sun God.


Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh, Sankranti is called "Kicheri". Having bath on this day is regarded as most important. A mass of humanity can be seen bathing in the Sangam at Prayagraj where the rivers Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswathi flow together. At the confluence of these holy rivers every year Kumbh Mela is held for full one month.


West Bengal

In Bengal every year a Mela is held at Ganga Sagar where the river Ganga is believed to have dived into the nether region and vivified the ashes of the sixty thousand ancestors of King Bhagirath. This mela is attended by a large number of pilgrims from East India.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Hindu Festival Calendar


January
Lohri: Thursday, 13-01-2011
Makarsankranti / Pongal: Friday, 14-01-2011
Uttarayan & Kite Festival: Friday, 14-01-2011
Thiruvalluvar Day: Sunday, 16-01-2011
Thaipusam: Thursday, 20-01-2011


February
Vasant Panchami / Saraswati Puja: Tuesday, 08-02-2011
Ratha Saptami: Thursday, 10-02-2011


March
Maha Shivaratri: Wednesday, 02-03-2011
Holi: Sunday, 20-03-2011


April
Telugu New Year/ Ugadi / Gudi Padwa/ Cheti Chand: Monday, 04-04-2011
Hindi New Year (Saka Era 1933): Monday, 04-04-2011
Ramayana Week: Monday, 04-04-2011 to Tuesday, 12-04-2011
Ramanavami: Tuesday, 12-04-2011
Tamil New Year: Thursday, 14-04-2011
Baisakhi / Vishu: Thursday, 14-04-2011
Bengali New Year / Bohag Bihu: Friday, 15-04-2011
Hanuman Jayanti: Sunday/Monday, 17/18-04-2011


May
Akshaya Tritiya / Akhateej: Friday, 06-05-2011
Buddha Purnima / Vaisakhi Purnima: Tuesday, 17-05-2011


June
Ganga Dashami / Ganga Dussehra: Saturday, 11-06-2011
Vat Purnima: Wednesday, 15-06-2011


July
Rath Yatra: Sunday, 03-07-2011
Guru Purnima / Asadha Purnima: Friday, 15-07-2011


August
Nag Panchami: Saturday, 04-08-2011
India's Independence Day: Monday, 15-08-2011
Raksha-Bandhan: Saturday, 13-08-2011
Krishna Janmashtami: Monday, 22-08-2011


September
Ganesh/Vinayak Chaturthi: Thursday, 01-09-2011
Shikshak Divas / Teacher's Day: Monday, 05-09-2011
Onam: Thursday/Friday, 08/09-09-2011
Vishwakarma Puja: Saturday, 17-09-2011
Pitri-Paksha: Tuesday, 13-09-2011 to Tuesday, 27-09-2011
Mahalaya: Tuesday, 27-09-2011
Navaratri begins: Wednesday, 28-09-2011


October
Gandhi Jayanti: Sunday, 02-10-2011
Durga Puja begins (Maha Saptami): Monday, 03-10-2011
Durga Puja (Maha Ashtami): Tuesday, 04-10-2011
Durga Puja (Maha Navami): Wednesday, 05-10-2011
Navaratri ends: Wednesday, 05-10-2011
Vijaya Dashami/Dusshera: Thursday, 06-10-2011
Lakshmi Puja / Kojagari Purnima / Sharad Purnima: Tuesday, 11-10-2011
Valmiki Jayanti: Tuesday, 11-10-2011
Karwa Chauth: Saturday, 15-10-2011
Dhanteras / Dhantrayodashi: Monday, 24-10-2011
Chhoti Diwali: Tuesday, 25-10-2011
Diwali / Deepavali: Wednesday, 26-10-2011
Vikram New Year 2068 / Gujarati New Year: Thursday, 27-10-2011
Skanda Sashti: Thursday, 27-10-2011 to Tuesday, 01-11-2011
Bhai Dooj / Bhai Phota / Bhav-Bij: Friday, 28-10-2011


November
Chhat Puja: Tuesday/Wednesday, 01/02-11-2011
Tulsi Vivah: Sunday, 06-11-2011
Guru Nanak Jayanti: Monday, 21-11-2011


December
Gita Jayanti: Tuesday, 06-12-2011

Friday, December 10, 2010

Santa Claus Wallpaper

Santa Claus Wallpaper

Santa Claus Wallpaper

A Brief History of Santa Claus,


Santa Claus has been called by several different names throughout the years. Traditions and legends of Santa Claus for the evolution of the modern-day Santa may have been based on the early Dutch legend of Sinterklaas, originating in the 1600's.

Santa Claus really started to get famous when American author Washington Irving published stories about Santa Claus, referring to him as Saint Nicholas who arrived on Christmas Eve bringing presents for children.

Santa Claus changed and became more famous when writer Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem in 1823 about a Christmas Eve visit from Saint Nicholas, better known as "The Night Before Christmas" (listed below). Millions of children now could have a consistent description of Santa Claus and his eight flying reindeer.

Around the world Santa Claus is known as:

English - Kris Kringle or Father Christmas = The Santa Claus name more likely evolved from the name of Saint Nicholas.

Belgium - De Kerstman (Christmas Man) is celebrated on Dec. 26th


note: Sinterklass (which is derived from the Dutch name Sint Nicolaas) is celebrated on December 6th

Italy - Babbo Natale

Germany - Weihnachtsmann or Sankt Nikolaus

Sweden - Jultomten, or Christmas Brownie

Hawaii - Kanakaloka

Chile - Viejo Pascuerro

France - Pere Noel

Japan - Hoteiosho - a priest who bears gifts or Santa Kurohsu

Russia - Ded Moroz - or Grandfather Frost who is accompanied by his grand daughter Snegurochka (Miss Snow or Snow Maiden) - note: "Babushka" or elderly woman does not appear in Russian Christmas stories.