Hindu Festivals

Festivals > Hindu Festivals

It's been said often enough that Hindus celebrate everything. So they do. The birth of gods, death of asuras, victory of the gods, marriage of the gods, the new year, new months, full moons, new moons, harvests, birthdays, initiations, marriages, deaths, anniversaries - you name the event, and it is reason for music, dance, processions, and what have you.

And there is the religious bit lurking behind it all. The reasons for this lie deep, in the origin of Hinduism as an organic religion. Its followers have over time considered anything, animate or inanimate, to be sacred and aspects of divinity.

That is also why even secular events like harvests take on religious overtones, with the patron deity presiding over the festivities. As soon as something happens, there is a kind of thanksgiving to the divine that follows it.

Apart from the universally celebrated festivals like Dussehra, Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi, there are others that are observed in specific communities or geographical areas. Hindu holidays are also confined to particular regions by the importance a certain god enjoys.

Worship of Kartikeya (as during the festival of Skanda Shashti) is predominant in Tamil Nadu, where the god is considered a patron of the region. Onam is a good example of a festival that is celebrated solely by Keralites. Another interesting aspect of Onam is that it is perhaps the only major Hindu festival that celebrates the reign of an asura king, although a benevolent one.

The profusion of legends and the contradictions inherent in them is reflected in festivals too. Travel around the country, and you will hear people tell you a variety of legends involving different gods behind a single festival. Besides, you will also find versions of the same festival being celebrated under different names in different regions.

All this adds that facet of unending novelty and constant change to the strikingly colorful kaleidoscope that is India. You might end up thinking the thought: "The more things change, the more they remain the same", which is something often said about India and its magical agelessness.

With so many holy days and more than 20 major Hindu festivals, the calendar should be liberally sprinkled with them. But it isn't so. There is a distinct festival season, which runs from late August through December. This is when there is a fever of celebrations, with a string of important festivals following one another in a rush.

But the major festivals are not the only ones that the people celebrate. Browse through the Hindu almanac, and you will find a mention of holiness or sacredness against almost every day of the year. Most of the lesser festivals are lesser because they have a private rather than public face. There are rituals for phases of the moon, solar and lunar eclipses, days of the week, a person's auspicious star or zodiac sign.

      Jan 2011                                                    Feb 2011                                    

  • 26th January 2012 - Repubic Day               


Related Links


Punjabi Community from North India celebrates Baisakhi Day as the dawn of Punjabi New Year and the beginning of the harvest season in Punjab, India. This day mostly falls on 13th April every year. Th


Diwali, also called Deepawali or Divali, is a festival which marks the victory of good over evil. This is a major Hindu festival and is celebrated with jubiliation and enthusiasm within Hindus, Sikhs and Jain

Durga Puja

The Durga puja, a festival of the Hindus, is celebrated in the month of Ashwin or Kartik i.e. months of September and October according to the English calendar year. The pujas are held over a ten-day period, which is tradi


Dussehra also known as Vijayadashami is a festival celebrated across India and is known for the victory of good over evil.This festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the Ashwin Month. In north India,the festival

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. This is a day when Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, was born. It is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. This festival is observed o


Holi is known as the festival of colors and is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which comes in February end or early March. Holi festival has an ancient origin and signifies the triumph of 'good' over 'bad'. This colourul fes


Janmashtami marks the celebration of Bhagwan Shri Krishna who is considered as an avatar or incarnation of the great God Vishnu. Lord Krishna, a source of revelation of ultimate reality in the Bhagvad Gita, gave us

Karwa Chauth

Karwa Chauth is considered to be a traditional Hindu festival for married women and is celebrated in some parts of India. There is a ritual of fasting observed by married Hindu women ( Suhagan) seeking the longevity, well-


Maha Shivaratri or "Grand Night of Shiva" is a hindu festival celebrated every year in the Krishan Paksha of the Maagha Month of the Hindu Calendar.It is observed in honor of the Hindu God Shiva. Maha Shi

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti, also known as Gangasagar Mela or Til Sankranti, is celebrated on 14th January every year. It marks the commencement of the Sun's journey to the Northern Hemisphere (Makara Raasi), signifying the on

Naga Panchami

Nagapanchami is a very popular Hindu festival which is dedicated to snake God. Lets understand what is the literal meaning of Naga Panchami. Naga literally means 'serpent' and panchami is the 'fifth d


Navratri is Sanskrit word which means 9 nights ( Nav- nine and Ratri- nights). So this period of nine nights is a festival of worship, dance and music celebrated over a period of nine nights. It is celebrated from t


Onam is the high spirited and the biggest festival in the Indian state of Kerala. Onam or Thiruonam Festival falls during the Malayali month of Chingam (Aug - Sep) and commemorates the homecoming of King


Pongal is a four-days-long harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India. For as long as people have been planting and gathering food, there has been some form of harvest festival. Pongal, one of the

Raksha Bandhan

Rakshabandhan or Rakhi Festival is celebrated all over India with great enthusiasm and faith.There is a tradition of sisters tying the Rakhi or the sacred thread on brother's wrist while performing arti of brother


Ramanavami falls on the ninth day in the Shukal Paksha of Chaitra month and is clebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Rama. On this day, people perform SEETHA KALYAN or VIVAH (marriage celebrations) at t

Vasant Panchami

Vasant Panchami heralds the advent of spring. This festival marks the first day of spring. Vasanta means the spring. The fields are mustard yellow with the ripening of crops. Yellow is a auspicious color - a color of spirituality. VasantPanchami fall

Shivaji Jayanti

On February 19th, the birthday of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is celebrated on a grand scale in Maharashtra. Shivaji was born at the Shivneri fort on February 19th, 1630. He was a great leader and the creator of the Maratha nation

Gudi Padwa

Gudi Padwa is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month. Gudi Padwa is celebrated as the New Year day by Maharashtrians. Gudi Padwa is also known as Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This festival marks the beg


The New year festival or Ugadi comes close on the heels of Holi. While the strong colors of Holi start fading away, the freshness of spring lingers on with sprightliness all around. The flame of the forest (trees with bright red

Cheti Chand

Cheti Chand is celebrated as the birthday of Water god (Varun Devta) Sai Uderolal, popularly known as Jhulelal. So much has been said and written about it that it would be superfluous to repeat the event. In Sindh the beginning o

Hanuman Jayanti

Hanuman Jayanti is a hindu festival celebrated all over India to commemorate the birth of Lord Hanuman. Sri Hanuman is worshipped all over India-either alone or together with Sri Rama. Every temple of Sri Rama has the murti or id