View Full Version : Festivals, temple or otherwise

Eastern Mind
25 September 2009, 05:34 PM
Namaskaram, Vanakkam to all:

It seems Hindus celebrate a lot of festivals. I'm interested in personal tastes, history of, how they might be celebrated differently from place to place, and anything else on this topic.

The west seems to have selected Divali and Holi to talk about, yet there are tons more.

My favorite festival is my local temple 10 day festival. (I believe all temples celebrate one, at a different time for each.) This one commemorates the kumbhabhishekam for this temple. The last day is the anniversary of the grand mahakumbhabhishekam. Each day something different happens. I like the crowds, the friendliness, the fact that people come from afar. Its really a joyous time. Perhaps others have a local festival important to them.

After that, I would choose Skanda Shasthi, the six day festival for Murugan. It is more austere. here, just the hard core Murugan people go to temple each night.

Happy Navaratri everyone.

26 September 2009, 05:06 AM
Namaste EM,

I will tell you the important ones which are celebrated in North India :

i) around 14 January : Makar SankrAnti. It is the occasion when Sun enters into Makar RAshi.

Rituals : This varies from place to place.

a) Taking bath in a nearby river or pond & worshipping Lord Shiva. People take Chiwada (flattened rice) with curd, Sesame & things made from sesame.
b) Lohiri : celebrated in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi etc : People of family/community gather together & have feast. Dancing around bonfire.
c) Bihu : Feasting together, exchange of gifts, going to sister's place with gift. community feast & dancing together around fire

ii) Saraswati Puja (also known as Vasant Panchami) : Worship mother Goddess Saraswati for knowledge. celebrated all over India by students in schools & colleges & householders.Normally it is done by making make-shift community Pooja Mandapam & establishing Saraswati's Murti for Pooja. This Murti is immersed in a river after end of the pooja. Girls & boys wear colourful dresses. Start of Holi mood.

iii) Holi ---> you already know.

iv) Maha ShivarAtri : You already know

v) Teej : Celebrated by married women for long life of their husbands. The ritual involves fast without food/water for the whole day & night & worshipping.

vi) Karwa Chauth : Teej & Karwa Chauth are similar. However, in western part Karwa Chauth is famous & in the Eastern part Teej is famous.

vii) Vat Savitri Pooja : Celebrated by married woman for long life of their husbands. Fasting & worshipping near the Banyan Tree telling the story of Savitri ( who got her husband back from death) & Satyavan.

viii) Jwitiya : This is done by the mothers for long life of their son/daughter. Fasting for the whole day & night without food & water.

ix) Ganesh Chaturthi : Worshipping Lord Ganesha. This is celebrated with much pomp & show in western part of India ( for 11 days).

x) DurgA Pooja : Worshipping Mother Goddess DurgA. This goes on for 10 days. Celebrated by making make-shift grand Pooja Mandapams in various places. This is one of the major festivals for Hindus & is celebrated with full glory, pomp & show in eastern part of India.

xi) RakshA Bandhan : This is celebrated by sisters for long life of their brothers. The brotheers & sisters take bath in the morning, do pooja & then the sister ties a scared thread on right hand of the brother wishing him a long life. In return, the brother gives her dakhsina ( some money or gifts) & promises to take care of her whenever she needs him.

xii) Yam Dwitiya : This is celebrated on second day after DeepAvali. This is quite interesting. The girls keep fast & worship God for long life of their brother. However, they curse the brother initially in a ritual to ward of any evils from him. Then they pierce their tongues with thorn & bleed as a penance. After worshipping they garland their brothers & feed him with sweets & "bajari" (seeds of a type of pulses) which the brother is supposed to devour without chewing by his teeth.

xiii) Kaali Pooja : You already know. This is also known as Deepavali.

xiv) Chhath : Worship of Sun God. This festival is celebrated by only Biharis & people from Eastern UP. However for those who celebrate this festival, this is the most sacred of all festivals. The whole procedure lasts for three days & a very strict discipline is maintained in preparation of PrasAdam & every aspect of this festival. The first day the devotee fasts a little late in the daytime & takes bath & worships Sun God. The worshipper fasts for the whole day the 2nd day & breaks fast by taking PrasAdam in the evening. Next day it is 24 hours fast without water or food. In the evening they offer Arghya to Sun God when He is setting in the west. Next morning the arghya is offered again at the time of sun-rise & fast is broken.

xv) Akshya Navami : This is celebrated in the garden of AmlA trees or under the tree of AmlA. The family members cook under the tree, worship God & give dakhsinA to the Priest. It is said that the PunyA accrued in this festival is Akshya or indestructible & helps one enter heaven after death.

xvi) Pitri Paksha : This is whole month dedicated to our forefathers & they are offered food & water during these days. People also go to Gaya ( aplace in eastern India)for pindadAn for the departed souls. It is said that after pindAdAn in Gaya, the souls get liberated from Preta-yoni ( as ghosts) & take birth.

Xvii) RAm Navami : Worshipping Lord Rama & Hanuman. Fasting, fixing red flag & take out procession to temples.

Xviii) Krishna JanmAshtami : Worshipping Lord Krishna ( birthday celebration). Fasting for the whole day & in night till the birth of Lord Krishna (12 O' clock night). Celebrated all over India with great devotion to Lord Krishna. At its best in VrindAvan, Mathura & nearby places.

There are many festivals in South India too which are unique & there are other many small festivals.


Eastern Mind
26 September 2009, 06:19 AM
Devotee: Thank you. I knew there would be many. So which one hits you personally? I guess I mean if you think about it for 2 or 3 weeks beforehand and have some anticipation in heart.

Besides the local temple's festival (It's just called 'the festival' locally) mentioned earlier, I usually do Skanda Shasti. Murugan calls me right now.

In Tamil country there is also Thai Pusam, Thai Pongal, Tamil New year, Tiruvembavai, and Vinayaka Vitrayam. I would love to see Thai pusam in Malaysia or Mauritius.

Here in Canuckland the North Indians celebrate Ram Navami, and Krishna Janmashtami in bigger ways. ISKCON has its annual Rathayatri as well.

26 September 2009, 07:49 AM
Namaste :)

Right now my local Hindu community is celebrating Navratri (started last Saturday and ends tomorrow). I attended the celebrations last Saturday and I'm going again today; it was amazing. I might post some pictures of it. :D

Eastern Mind
23 July 2010, 04:21 PM

Today is Guru Purnima. I wish everyone here who follows a Guru and even those who don't a joyous day pondering on the words of your chosen wise one.

Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Guru Devo Maheshvaraha Guru Sakshat Parambrahma Tasmai Sri Guruve Namaha

Aum Namasivaya

24 July 2010, 12:50 AM
Tomorrow is Guru Purnima

Guru is a circuit breaker

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Jul 24, 2010, 12.00am IST, The Speaking Tree, The Times of India

A city without streets, a king without treasure, a merchant without business and a life without a guru are all considered the same. Why the emphasis on guru? Why do you need a guru?

Life sometimes seems very complicated. There is pleasure, pain, happiness, suffering, generosity, greed, passion and dispassion. When our life is full of such opposing values, our mind sometimes becomes unable to handle these complications and just breaks down.

It is then that you need wisdom to guide you through troubled times. Guru is that wisdom. You might have noticed you give great advice when you are not involved in a situation but the same is not true when you are in trouble. This is because wisdom dawns when you are out of the mess. Guru is one who is out of the mess. He watches the chaos, amidst the chaos.

Guru is like a circuit breaker. When you cannot handle life, your guru comes and saves so that you remain sane and balanced. If there is a compelling desire that bothers you, your guru is there to offer solace. You offer all your desires and pain to your guru. Having a guru means being able to relax and smile all the time, walk with confidence, be fearless and have a vision. That is wisdom.

Guru is a tattva -- an element, a quality inside you. It is not limited to a body or form. Guru comes in your life in spite of your refusing or being rebellious. The guru principle is so vital in life. There is an element of the guru in every human being. That wisdom in each has to be invoked, awakened. When this element is awakened, misery in life disappears. In our consciousness, wisdom comes to life when guru tattva comes to life. When we have no desires of our own, then the guru tattva dawns in our life. Wake up and see that our life is changing every moment and feel grateful for whatever you have received.

Guru Purnima is to review your growth. This review will give you encouragement. If you think you haven't grown enough on the spiritual path in the past few years, then you have not utilised the knowledge. If you feel you are stuck somewhere, then the realisation that you are stuck is also growth.

That is why we celebrate Guru Purnima. It is the day when the devotee arises in full gratitude and feels grateful for the great knowledge he has received from the Master. It is time to review how much knowledge you have ingrained in your life and how you are growing in knowledge. This may bring about a realisation for scope of improvement, which in turn will bring humility in you. Be grateful for the way this knowledge has transformed you. Just think how you could have been without this. Gratitude and humility together make bloom a genuine prayer inside you

On Guru Purnima, remember all gurus of the past. When your life is full, you get a feeling of gratitude then you start with the guru and end up adoring everything in life. On Guru Purnima the devotee wakes up in full gratitude. The devotee becomes like an ocean moving in itself. Guru Purnima is a time to celebrate and rise in devotion and gratitude.

Om Namah Shivaya

24 July 2010, 11:16 AM
hariḥ oṁ

Tomorrow is Guru Purnima

This is correct as calculated from a jyotish perspective, other approaches may vary. It is 24 of July at 15:45 UT ( universal time ) and the 14th tithi is in place; sukla caturdasi has 38% remaining.

Pūrṇimā (fullness) occurs later on this evening in the USA, Sunday in other parts of the world. Since pūrṇimā will rise with Sunday, (ravidina) it will own the day Sunday , and then be guru pūrṇimā. Pūrṇimā comes from pūrṇa or fullness, this is the celebration.

Now a question for our esteemed HDF readers... why is guru pūrṇimā recognized/celebrated when the Moon (candrá ¹ - having brilliancy) is in Capricorn and the Sun (ravi) in Cancer?

jai guru dev



candrá ( some spell chandra) comes from ścandrá glittering , shining

25 July 2010, 02:44 PM
hariḥ oṁ हरि ॐ


Pūrṇimā comes from pūrṇa or fullness, this is the celebration.

I am very fortunate to have known and been associated with several traditions...one from my teacher that brings one back all the way to nārāyaṇa and another to śiva.

The tradition of jyotish masters from Orrisa has also been favorable to me and I am again thankful. From jyotish arises the iṣṭadevatā of sanatkumāra-ji who has blessed me on many occasions in my study.

How can I not be humbled (nīca) by these great paramparā-s. It only reminds me I am no more then cosmic dust at best. All that I know ( and that is little) is based upon their wisdom and insight.

For this I am blessed, for this I must say jai guru dev.
oṁ namo nārāyaṇa
namaḥ śivaya
oṁ namo bhāgavate vasudevaya

All glory to Him who breathes out the ved ,
That all pervading Brahman, tad vishnoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ - rig veda 1.22.20