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Important Hindu Festivals & Religious Rituals

 
     

Festival

Importance

Lunar Month

English Month

Gudhi Padva

This is the new year day as per the Shalivan Shak.  It is believed that Lord Brahma created the Universe on this day. Hence it is celebrated by erecting the Bramha Dhwaja (flag of lord Brahma) which is also known as Gudhi.

 

Gudhi Padva is one of the 3 Muhurta (Auspicious Days), but may not be necessarily shubha (auspicious) for marriage.  New purchases like house, land, vehicle, Gold, Silver etc... starting new venture, business etc... is done on this day.

 

Chaitra Shuddha 1  (Pratipada)

 

Gauri Trutiya

 

Chaitra Gaur or

 

Gauri Teej

Festival of Goddess Gauri is celebrated on this day.  Married women worship Gauri on this day and invite at least 5 other married women and felicitate them with Haldi Kumkum, a blouse piece and coconut.  Kumarika (unmarried girls) are also invited and felicitated.

 

It is also known as .

 

The spring has also arrived and hence the ladies welcome it and express their happiness by arranging various plays like swings etc...

Chaitra Shuddha 3 (Trutiya)

 

Ramnavami

On the 9th day of the bright half of the Lunar Month Chaitra, the Birth of Lord Ramchandra is celebrated in all the Shri Ram temples throughout India.  Shri Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu was believed to be borne on this day at noon.

 

In Northern and Southern India Ramnavami festival is celebrated for 9 days beginning on Chaitra Shuddha 1 (Pratipada) and ending on Chaitra Shuddha 9 (Navami).

 

During this festival the devotees go to the Shri Ram Temple and read the Ramayana as well as chant the Mantra "Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram" as many times as possible.  In many Ram Temples Kirtan, Bhajan, Pravachan (lectures) on Ramyana - one of the legendary epics - are arranged. 

 

In many Hindi speaking states and regions of India, people greet each others "Jai Ramji ki".

 

Prabhu Ramchandra was ideal son, ideal husband and an Ideal King.  He was the true symbol of truth and morality.  Following qualities of Prabhu Ramachandra are remembered, cherished and adopted during this festival:

  • "Ekpatni Vrata", which means married to only one woman and loyal to her throughout the life;

  • "Purushottam", which means best of all the men.

  • "Satyavachani", which means person always speaking truth.

  • "Nrupottama", which means best of all the Kings.

Chaitra Shuddha 9

(Navami)

Mar / Apr

Hanuman Jayanti

On the day of Chaitra Shuddha Paurnima (Full Moon Day) the birth day of Bajarangbali Hanuman is celebrated in Temples of Hanuman.  Especially those who take regular exercise in gymnasium; practice wrestling and play adventure sports are devotees of Lord Hanuman because he is the God of Strength.

 

Lord Hanuman himself was a devotee of Lord Shri Ram.  In many Hanuman Temples Kirtan, Bhajan, Pravachan (lectures) on Hanuman and Ramyana - one of the legendary epics - are arranged.

 

Chaitra Shuddha 15 (Paurnima)

 

Akshayya Trutiya

Vaishakh Shuddha Trutiya - the 3rd day of bright half of Lunar Month Vaishakh is known as Akshayya Trutiya.  It is one of the 3 Muhurta (Auspicious days).  New purchases like house, land, vehicle, Gold, Silver etc... starting new venture, business etc... is done on this day.

 

Akshayya means the one that does not have an end or which does not die or perish.  So any Holy, Social or charity work done on this day lasts for ever.  Hence people perform Pooja, Hom Havan, Dan Dharma (donations) etc...

 

On this day Shraddha of the dead people in the family like (Father, Grand Father, Great Grand Father, Mother, Grand Mother, Great Grand Mother etc...) is performed.  It is an occasion to remember them and thank them.

 

If Akshayya Trutiya falls on Wednesday with Moon in Rohini Nakshtra, it is believed to be very highly auspicious.

 

Birth day of Lord Parashuram - the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu - is also celebrated on this day especially in Goa & Konkan region of India.

Vaishakh Shuddha 3 (Trutiya)

 

Vat Savitri Pooja

Vat savitri Pooja is performed on the Jyeshtha Paurnima (Full Moon Day).  On this occasion, the married women worship the Vata Vruksha (Banyan Tree - which is also the national Tree of India).

 

Some ladies cut a branch of Banyan Tree, bring it home and worship it.  After the pooja is performed the ladies wrap a cotton thread around the Tree.  However, it is not a good practice as it involves hurting the Tree.

 

Ladies are expected to observe 3 days fast starting on Jyestha Shuddha Trayodashi (13th day of bright half of Jyeshtha).  However, if it is not possible to observe 3 days fast, at least fast on the on Vat Paurnima day is desired.

 

The scientific reason behind going to a Banyan Tree and worshiping it by married women is; the fluid coming out of the leaves of Banyan Tree helps curing uterus related problems, which help during pregnancy.  The peel of Banyan Tree also helps curing body aches and increases the life expectancy.  Hence it is advantageous for the newly married women to be in the vicinity of Banyan Tree on this day as much as possible. 

 

Some ladies also tie swings to the Banyan Tree and play with their friends.

Jyeshtha Shuddha 15 (Paurnima)

 

Chaturmas

The four month period starting from Ashadh Shuddha 11 Ekadashi (11th Day of the bright half) till Kartik Shuddha Ekasadhi is observed as Chaturmas.

 

During this period a lot of Hindu Festivals, Pooja Vidhi, Religious Rituals are performed because the whole atmosphere is very favorable because of the Rainy Season falls during this period.  It is lush green everywhere.  Due to rains, the air is clean, plenty of different vegetables and fruits are available which are good for health.  However, if the diet is not controlled during this period, various health problems arise so there are lot of dietary restrictions during this period as part of the rituals.

 

The food items that cause gastric trouble or those difficult to digest are avoided automatically due to various fasts observed during this period.

 

Following restrictions are observed during this period:

  • Shravan: - Green Leaf Vegetables are prohibited.

  • Bhadrapad: Curd (Yogurt) is prohibited.

  • Ashwin: Milk is prohibited.

  • Kartik: Split Pulses are prohibited

  • Onion, Garlic and Non vegetarian food is strictly prohibited during this period as they stimulate undue excitement, cause digestion disorders and distract from the Prayers and Poojas.

A lot of "Upvas" fasts are observed through out the chaturmas.  Scientific reason behind the fast is to give rest to the digestive system.  So also this period is not good for having sex.  Fasting reduces the desire to have sex, substantially.  Fasting also helps controlling anger which is very essential in today's world.  As you all know "anger" is just one letter short of "danger".  Fasting also helps stabilizing the mind if coupled with Mantropasana.

 

Meaning of Upvas is; Up means JawaL (close) and vas - basaNe, asaNe - (Sitting, Being close to).  Thus upvas means going or sitting close to the God.

 

This time of the year is good for the Prayers, Pooja etc... and so the diet and behavior should not deprive you from the Upasana of God.  Hence all the restrictions are imposed during this period.

 

Ashadh Shuddha 11 (Ekadashi)

 

Till

 

Kartik Shuddha 11 (Ekadashi)

 

Ashadhi Ekadashi

 

Pandharpur Fair and Festival

Ashadh Shuddha Ekadashi (11th Day of Bright Half) is the beginning of Chaturmas.  Very strict fast is observed on this day.

 

It is expected to only drink water as much as possible.  This helps cleaning the digestive system.  If the health does not permit, any suitable juice can be taken through out the day.  If that is also not possible very light food to be taken. 

 

At least one time fast on this day helps a lot in giving rest to the digestive system.

 

A typical devotees who are known as "Varkari" celebrate a grand festival of Lord Pandurang in Pandharpur in Maharashtra.

Ashadh Shuddha 11 (Ekadashi)

 

Vyas Paurnima

Guru Paurnima

Ashadh Shuddha 15 (Paurnima) is celebrated as Vyas Poojan or Guru Poojan Day.  When the Gurus (Teachers) are worshipped  felicitated and offered Guru Dakshina (Money or Kinds) as a gratitude towards their contribution in the life of the human being. 

 

On this day Adhya Guru Lord Krishna and Param Guru Shri Vyasa Muni (Rishi) are also worshipped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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