>

UTSAV DATTA

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 10/15/2015 |




In the Indian culture, there was a time when there used to be a festival every day of the year 365 festivals in a year – because a festival is a tool to bring life to a state of exuberance and enthusiasm. That was the significance and importance of festivals. The whole culture was in a state of celebration. If today was ploughing day, it was a kind of celebration. Tomorrow was planting day, another kind of celebration. Day after tomorrow was weeding, that was a celebration. Harvesting, of course, is still a celebration. But in the last 400 or 500 years, poverty has come to our country, and we have not been able to celebrate every day. People are satisfied if they just get some simple food to eat. So all the festivals fell away and only 30 or 40 festivals remain. We are not even able to celebrate those now because we have to go to the office or do something else daily. So people usually celebrate only around 8 or 10 festivals annually.

Durga Puja

The Durga Puja is an annual festival of Hindus which is celebrated by worshiping Goddess Durga. Hindu Goddess Durga is believed to have killed the demon Mahishasura.The festival marks “victory of good over evil”. It takes place in the month of Ashwin from the first to the tenth day of the bright fortnight. It is an occasion of great enthusiasm and festivity for the Hindus. On this occasion schools, colleges, and offices are closed for a long holiday. People return their homes for celebrating the Puja.

The Puja is celebrated for ten days, but the image is installed on the seventh day. During the last three days Astami Nabami and Dasami the Puja is celebrated with great pomp and gaiety. The images are of different designs and sizes.Goddess Durga is referred to as the Goddess of Power (Shakti). The idol of Goddess Durga has ten hands and stands on the back of a huge lion. She fights with a demon with ten different weapons. The two daughters of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, stand on either side of their mother. Lakshmi is the goddess of fortune and Saraswati is the goddess of learning and wisdom. Their two brothers, Kartik and Ganesh sit next to them. 

For three days, the images of these Gods and Goddesses are worshiped along with their mother goddess Durga. The puja starts from the seventh day of the moon.The priest reads the sacred slokas of “Chandi” and performs the puja.On the last day, the day of “Vijoya Dashami” images and idols are immersed in water. The Vijaya Dashami is considered to be an auspicious day. On the day people visit their relatives. The people of the trading classes begin their new year from this day. 

At some placed Ramlila is staged and Ravan is killed on the Dashami day.There are various stories connected with the Vijaya Dashami. It is said that Ram killed Ravana on this day and performed the Puja of Goddess Durga. Since then it has been celebrated every year on this day. Another story is that one King Suratha performed the Puja on this day. The third is that Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura, a demon, on this day.


Diwali

Diwali is a five day festival that represents the start of the Hindu New Year. It's known as the "Festival of Lights" for all the fireworks, small clay lamps, and candles that are lit during the celebrations. These lights are said to represent the victory of good over evil, and brightness over darkness. The candlelight makes Diwali a very warm and atmospheric festival, and it's observed with much joy and happiness.

Diwali is one of the most important and significant festival for the people of Hindu religion. It has many rituals, traditional and cultural beliefs of celebrating it. It is celebrated all over the country as well as outside the country with great enthusiasm. This festival is associated with many stories and legends. One of the great legends behind celebrating it is the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana. That’s why Diwali is celebrated as a symbol of victory of goodness over the badness.

People celebrate it by getting together with their relatives as well as nearest and dearest ones. They celebrate it by sharing gifts, sweets, greetings and best wishes for Diwali. They enjoy a lot of activities, playing games, firing crackers, puja and many more. People purchase new clothes for all the family members according to their own capability. Kids enjoy this festival by wearing glittering and blazing clothes.

People enlighten their home and pathways with the clay diyas to remove the single bit of the darkness and to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi. People indulge in playing games, eating a variety of dishes at home and many more activities. Government offices are also involved in getting clean up and decorated. Everywhere looks enchanting and enthralling because of the cleaning, white washing of walls, decoration and lighting with diyas or candle.


Ganesh Chaturthi

The spectacular eleven day Ganesh Chaturthi festival honors the birth of the beloved Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha. The start of the festival sees huge, elaborately crafted statutes of Ganesha installed in homes and podiums, which have been especially constructed and beautifully decorated. At the end of the festival, the statutes are paraded through the streets, accompanied by much singing and dancing, and then submerged in the ocean.


Holi

Holi is a two day festival that also celebrates the victory of good over evil, as well as the abundance of the spring harvest season. It's commonly referred to as the "Festival of Colors". People exuberantly throw colored powder and water all over each other, have parties, and dance under water sprinklers. Bhang (a paste made from cannabis plants) is also traditionally consumed during the celebrations. Holi is a very carefree festival that's great fun to participate in if you don’t mind getting wet and dirty.


Onam

Onam is a traditional ten day harvest festival that marks the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. It’s a festival rich in culture and heritage. People strikingly decorate the ground in front of their houses with flowers arranged in beautiful patterns to welcome the King. The festival is also celebrated with new clothes, feasts served on banana leaves, dancing, sports, games, and snake boat races.


Janmashtami

Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Govinda, commemorates the birthday of Lord Krishna. An extremely fun part of the festival involves people climbing on each other and forming a human pyramid to try and reach and break open clay pots filled with curd, which have been strung up high from buildings.

People fast on this day, usually a waterless fast. They spend the day immersed in Shri Krishna's glory by reading, reciting and singing his divine leela especially in the evening in mandirs. Temples of Lord Krishna are decorated most beautifully and children are adorned as Lord Krishna and Radhika, his spiritual beloved. 
Krishna Leela or the plays depicting scenes from Krishna's life, especially childhood, are performed. Atmidnight, the Lord's birth hour, arti is performed.

He is also installed in the form of 'Lalji' (child form) in a swing and devotionally offered many sumptuous food dishes. 'Makhan' (butter) is especially included since Shri Krishna loved this in childhood. The traditional prasad is 'Panchajiri' - made of five ingredients: powdered ginger, 'suva', coriander, sugar and ghee. Other ingredients include poppy seeds (khaskhas) and dessicated coconut shavings.The most popular ceremony of Dahi-handi (breaking a pot full of milk and its derivatives} takes place on the second day. 


Eid 

Eid is the greatest festival of the Muslims. All over the world, the Muslims celebrate it with great pomp and show, zeal and gusto. The Muslims observe fasts for a full month after sighting the moon of ‘Ramzan’. When the month of ‘Ramzan’, is over and the moon of Eid is sighted, they end their Roja (fasts). The next day, the festival of Eid is celebrated. 

Every year it comes off on the first day of the month of Shawwal. It is a day of gaiety, festivity and feasting.It is a believed that fasting in the month of ‘Ramzan’ purifies the soul and prayers after fasting save them from going to hell and open the doors of heaven. So during the month of `Ramzan’, they lead a pure and holy life. They observe fasts, offer regular prayers in the form of ‘Namaz’; read the holy Koran, feed the hungry and give alms to the poor. 

Charity is the greatest virtue to be practiced during the month of ‘Ramzan’. Fasting comes to an end when the new moon of Eid is sighted. The sight of the new moon of Eid is considered very pious and holy by the Muslims. It is a signal for the celebration of Eid the very next day.On the Eid day, Muslim people get up early in the morning. They take a bath and put on their best dresses. They visit mosques and offer prayers in the form of ‘Namaz’. They embrace one another and exchange Eid greetings. ‘Eid Mubarak’ is on the lips of each Muslim. Sweets are distributed, gifts are given and delicious dishes are prepared at home. Friends and relatives are invited to feasts. Sweet noodles are the most popular dish cooked on this day. At some places, Eid fairs are also held. Eid greetings are exchanged by one and all. Children buy toys and sweets.In India, all communities join the Muslims in celebrating Eid. Sweets are shared and greetings exchanged by all. 

The Hindus, Sikhs and Christians greet their Muslim brothers on this day. The celebration of Eid promotes national integration and the feeling of brotherhood. Joys are doubled when they are shared. Eid brings a message of brotherhood for all of us.It is a festival of love and goodwill. It gives us a message to love all and hate none. It teaches us to embrace all men as brothers. Separated lovers hope to meet on this day. It exhorts us to bid goodbye to hatred, jealousy and enmity and bring in an era of love, sympathy and brotherhood.


Christmas

Christmas' is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Jesus. It is celebrated on 25th December every year. It is the most important festivals of the Christians. Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in countries around the world.

On this occasion great preparations are made by the Christians. All houses and churches are cleaned and white washed. The Christmas tree is decorated with artificial stars, lights, toys etc. on this day. At night candles and electric bulbs are lighted on its twigs.

Santa Claus and other seasonal figures are held on this day. Any person disguised as Santa Claus distributes sweets among the children. Family reunions and the exchange of gifts are a widespread feature of the season. Cakes and puddings are set ved. Children get dressed in new clothes. Prayers are offered in churches.  

Indian festivals speak of India's rich cultural and traditional background. The colorful festivals are an integral part of every Indians. The festivals play an important part in promoting the traditional handicrafts and tourism of India. The rich cultural heritage of India attracts the Western world during the celebration of important festivals like Onam, Holi, Durga Puja and many more. Every region celebrates their festival according to their regional customs and rituals. The commonness in all the celebration is that it celebrates humanity. Some of the common rituals, which are followed in most of the festivals, are processions in the streets, decoration of homes and sacred places such as temples and traditional and folk song and dance performances. Most religious festivals have elaborate prayers, traditions, customs and rituals attached to them. The elaborate celebration and the multitude of festivals in India, each with their own unique legends and significances often awe the foreigners who come to visit India.


[UTSAV DATTA]


Comments
0 Comments

No comments:

Blogger Widgets
Powered by Blogger.