are an important means of spiritual regeneration in Hinduism.
In addition to National festivals, there are many state
festivals celebrated by Hindus in Bharat (India). In one
way or another, Hindu festivals are associated with Hindu
deities. Through these festivals Hindus affirm their faith
in their religion, culture and spiritual heritage that has
existed for thousands of years.
are as much a part of the fabric of Indian culture, just
as rituals are linked with religions. These festivals provide
a break from the monotonous daily routine life of Indians.
It allows the average person also to have a complete changes
from his work and to revive his spiritual, social and family
ties.They have a great cultural appeal also.
In the olden days, the Kings of Bharat used to celebrate
all the festivals with great pomp.Conducting prayers, poojas
and sacrificial rites (homas) used to be the central activity
on these days. Many of them used to conduct mass-feeding,
as also distribution of clothes and gifts to the poor and
needy. Such acts of charity are highly recommended by scriptures
also. They are useful means of distribution of wealth.
Nowadays, in the present context, major festivals are celebrated
in a collective manner.Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated in Pune
(and most parts of Maharashtra) , Durga
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celebrated in Kolkata , Navaratri in Gujarat and Dussera in Mysore need
a special mention.Big shamianas or pandols are erected and collective
aartis and poojas are conducted.Most of them start or end with long processions.The
garbas performed in Gujarat have become well-known throughout the country.
A person has to really experience these events, as all other ways of describing
them would defy the real inner experience.
Many festivals are also important days of fasting and keeping vigils.
Many people perform poojas on these days.It is rather difficult to classify
the Hindu festivals into major ones and minor ones. A day, considered
as extremely auspicious from the astrological point of view-as for instance,
Akshayatrutiya or Balipadyami - may not be celebrated with pomp and gaiety.
A festival, like the Holi, though extremely popular, does not have much
astrological significance. It is only a spring festival of revelry, singing
and dancing.It is considered a day when even enemies should dance together
and become friends!
The norm adopted here for grouping a particular festival as a major one,
is its popularity and widespread celebration, though astrological and
religious significance too are taken note of. Relevant additional information
is provided wherever needed.
We hope to inspire our readers to know about the popular and significant
festivals of our motherland.