Diwali

Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and of light over darkness. The purpose of Diwali is to remove all sources of darkness (ignorance, greed, worldly desires, thoughts, etc.) from within us and replace them with light, which symbolizes the true knowledge and divinity of the Lord. This prepares us to start the New Year on the best possible terms. Diwali and the Hindu New Year are a time when followers of the Hindu faith come together and share the joy in their lives. They put aside their differences and work towards fostering a sense of community all around them. It is an eagerly-awaited holiday for Hindus all over the world and is celebrated with grand festivities.

The word ‘Diwali’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Deepawali’ which means a row or cluster of lights.  It is one of the most widely celebrated and most beautiful festivals of India.  Diwali is the brightest and noisiest festival of India.  

It commemorates the death of Narakasura at the hands of Lord Sri Krishna. It is believed that Narakasura, a malevolent demon, tortured common people and they prayed to Lord Krishna to defeat him. The people then celebrated Narakasura's defeat with sparkles, lights and crackers. This celebration was continued down the generations as Deepavali. The day begins with waking up early in the morning, before sun rise, followed by an oil-bath, wearing new clothes, bursting of crackers, visiting Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu and Shiva temples. The exchange of sweets between the neighbours, visiting the relations, preparing Deepavali special sweets are tradition of the day.

 

Guru Purab

Guru Purab is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Guru Nank, the first Guru of the Sikhs who founded the Sikh faith in the North India.  The two main events which are the part of the festival are the recitation of the holy book and taking out the holy book in a procession.  The ‘Akhand Path’ or the contionous reading of the ‘Granth’ holy book is held in Gurudwaras all over the country.  Langars (community feasts) are organized where people of all castes sit together to eat and sing hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib.

Navratri

Navaratri is the longest Hindu festival which is celebrated all over India.  This festival is celebrated for nine consecutive nights in praise of Lord Rama and Goddess Durga.  During these nine days and nights, there is continuous chanting from the great epic Ramayana and as well as various performances from the episodes of his life also known as Ramlila.  This festival is a combination of many concepts.  It is believed that Durga, the goddess of power and vitality, has nine forms called Navadurga and on each day she takes a new form, with an arsenal of weapons, to ride a lion and fight the demon Mahishsura.  Vijayadashmi or Dussehra, the 10th day, is celebrated with feasting and rejoicing as day of victory of Lord Rama over Ravana.  Lord Rama is said to have worshipped the Goddess, seeking her blessing in order to overpower the evil force of Ravana, the abductor of his beloved Sita.

Dusshera

Dussehra is celebrated all over India to mark the homecoming of Lord Rama.  This festival is celebrated as a triumph of the good over the evil.  This festival is celebrated for nine consecutive days in praise of Lord Rma and his victory over the demon Ravana.  During these nine days, the Ramlila, an enactment is made on the various episodes of the life of Lord Rama and there is continuous chanting from the great epic Ramayana.  On the tenth day, the Lord Rama killed the demon Ravana, the abductor of his beloved Sita.  On Dussehra, larger than life effigies of Ravana, his brothers Meghnath and Kumbhkarna filled with different fire crackers are set alight to celebrate the victory of good over evil.  

Raksha Bhandan

Raksha Bandhan is the famous Hindu festival which is celebrated mainly in North India.  This is a festival when brothers and sisters reaffirm their bonds of affections.  The sisters tie colourful holy threads or Rakhis on their brother’s wrist wishing for their long lofe.  The brothers in turn promise to protect the honour and help them in adversaries and also give them gifts.

 

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