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Parv. Tyauhaar. Festivals are the religious celebrations. It is said about festivals in India that "if there 365 days in a year, 370 days are the festival days." Here is given a list of some North Indian Hindu Festivals according to Indian Lunar calendar --
(1) Makar Sankraanti - This is the only festival which is celebrated according to Western calendar on 13th or 14th day of January.
Chaitra Maas Festivals
(1) 1st-8th of Shukla - Nav Durgaa. Nav Durgaa are celebrated. Devee, in eight forms, is worshipped in these days - Lakshmee, Saraswatee, Durgaa, etc. Some people keep fast on a;l days, some keep on 1st day and last day, as convenient to them; but fasts are prescribed in these days.
(2) 9th of Shukla - Raam Navamee. Raam was born this day. People feed Kanyaa (girls below 10 years of age) and Langar (boys of the same age group) are fed and given some money.
Vaishaakh Maas Festivals
(1) 13th of April - Baisaakhee - This festival is celebrated with pomp and show mainly in Punjaab. This day they
Jyeshth Maas Festivals
(1) Amaavasyaa - Bad Amaavasyaa. Vat Saavitree Vrat. This day is celebrated by married women for the long life of their husband. They keep fast, worship banyan tree with cotton's thread wrapping it seven times to its trunk and pray for the long life of their husband.
Aashaadh Maas Festivals
Shraavan Maas Festivals
(1) 5th of Krishn - Naag Panchamee. Men and women worship snakes this day, feed them milk and cook black gram in western UP.
(2) 3rd of Shukla - Hariyaalee Teej. Married women worship Gauree for the long life of their husband, wear new or good clothes and jewelry, swing and sing Saavan songs on swing. Normally married women celebrate this festival in their father or brother's house, and their in-laws send clothes, jewelry, sweets etc to them. If somehow the woman is in her in-law's house, then all these things come to her from her parent's house.
(3) Poornimaa - Rakshaa Bandhan or Raakhee. This festival is supposed to be of Braahman's festival. Braahman tie this protection thread to their people (Yajamaan) to whose house they go for worship, Daan etc for their welfare and receive Dakshinaa from them. All sisters tie Raakhee (protecting thread) to their brothers and receive some money from their brothers. If some girl doesn't have her own brother, men kindly make that woman his sister and that woman ties Raakhee to him. Most men are seen with Raakhee tied on their right wrist and Teekaa on their forehead.
Bhaadrapad Maas Festivals
(1) 8th of Krishn - Krishn Janmaashtamee. Krishn was born this day. His birthday is celebrated with great pomp and show. Krishn temples are decorated in a huge way, Krishn Janm is dramatized in the night, and Prasaad is distributed.
(2) 14th of Shukla - Anant Chaturdashee. Vishnu is worshipped on this day.
Aashwin Maas Festivals
(1) 1st Krishn to Amaavasyaa - Shraaddh Paksh. In fact this Paksh (15 days) starts from Bhaadrapad Poornimaa and end on Aashwin Amaavasyaa. On whichever day one dies, his or her Shraaddh is performed on the same day in this Paksh. Tarpan are offered and Braahman are fed and Daan are given to them.
(2) 1st to 9th of Shukla - Nav Durgaa. This is the second Nav Durgaa, or Nav Raatri, first was in Chaitra Maas. These Nav Durgaa are also celebrated in the same way but in more detailed ways. Devee, in eight forms, is worshipped in these days - Lakshmee, Saraswatee, Durgaa, etc. Some people keep fast on all days, some keep on 1st day and last day, as convenient to them; but fasts are prescribed in these days. During these days Raam's life events are dramatized.
(3) 10th of Shukla - Vijayaa Dashamee. In continuation of Raam's life events dramatization, Raavan is killed today. This festival is supposed to be of Kshatriya's festival as Kshatriya clean their weapons worship them today. any people shoot one or two fires in the air also. People worship Raam today. In the evening they go to witness Raavan's killing which is normally performed outside the city or village in a wide and open area. Fairs are organized. Farmers go to their fields to check for Neelkanth bird. Seeing it in the field is supposed to be good for their fields.
(4) Poornimaa - Sharad Poornimaa. This is big Poornimaa. People keep fast on this day and eat only after worshipping Chandra Dev (Moon). It is believed that on this night Moon shines with all his Kalaa (he has 16 Kalaa) and thus throws his light in full on earth. This Moonlight is supposed to be Amrit, so many people wake the whole night or for whatever period they can be awake. On this day, people try to put thread in the needle in moonlight. It is believed that this increases the power of eyes. People cook Kheer (rice boiled in milk), soak Chivadaa (beaten rice) in milk and yogurt, keep them in the moonlight overnight and eat it in the morning. It is believed that whatever Amrit Moon showers through his rays, it comes in these sweets.
Kaartik Maas Festivals
(1) 4th of Krishn - Karavaa Chauth. This festival is celebrated for long life of husbands. Married women keep fast on this day (without taking even water) and eat only after seeing Chandramaa through a sieve. It is the main festival of married women. Women wear good clothes, jewelry, new bangles and apply Menhadee (Hinaa) and worship Gauree wishing for the long life of their husband. In many places they celebrate this festival in groups.
(2) 8th of Krishn - Hoee Ashtamee. This is an important festival of western UP. On this day people keep fast for the welfare of their sons. If the mother is not alive, father keeps it. Normally people keep fast, without taking even water, and eat only after worshipping Hoee Maataa and stars. Whose sons die after the birth, they keep it up to the rise of Moon and eat only after seeing Mon. Since this is the festival of children, many types of things are cooked for children.
(3) 13th of Krishn - Dhan Teras. Bhagavaan Kuber is worshipped today. People buy utensils and gold today in North India.
(4) 14th of Krishn - Narak Chaudas (Narak Chaturdashee) or Chhotee Divaalee - This day Durgaa Jee killed Narakaasur name Asur. People take bath from the water kept before Hoee Maataa's picture last week.
(5) Amaavasya - Badee Divaalee or Lakshmee Poojan. This is called Vaishya's festival as Vaishya close their accounts for the year today to begin it afresh next day. It is believed that Raam came back from His Vanvaas this day, so people adorned the whole Ayodhyaa, lighted it with many lamps and cracked crackers the whole night in happiness of His coming back. In the same way, people do it this day also. Lakshmee Jee is worshipped today. People play cards the whole night and keep awake in the hope that Lakshmee will come to their house. Sweets are eaten as well as are distributed among friends and relatives.
(6) 1st of Shukla - Annakoot or Govardhan. It is believed that this day Krishn lifted Govardhan arvat on His little left finger for 7 days. People worship Govardhan Parvat and their cattle. 56 Bhog are cooked at home and in temples. In western UP, near Mathuraa and Agaraa, a vegetable is cooked in which all available vegetables in the market are put. This is special vegetable cooked on this day. Temples distribute Prasaad of this vegetable and Pooree.
(7) 2nd of Shukla - Yam Dwiteeyaa or Bhaiyaa Doyaj. It is believed that on this day Yam ate food at his sister Yamee's house. Sisters listen to Bhaaee Dauj story, put Tilak on their brother's forehead, feed him sweets and food. Brothers and sisters also go to take a dip in Yamunaa also for each other's welfare.
(8) 11th of Shukla - Dev Uthaan Ekaadashee. On this day Vishnu Bhagavaan wakes up from His four months sleep.
(9) Poornimaa - Kaarttik Poornimaa. Many people do Snaan the whole Kaartik Maas, they finish it today. Many go to Gangaa River to take bath. Fairs are organized. There is so much crowd on Teerth places that government has to make special arrangements for this sacred bath. Haridwaar, Garhmukteshwar, Prayaag (Sangam) etc places are specially taken care of for this purpose
Maargsheersh (Agahan) Maas Festivals
Paush Maas Festivals
Maagh Maas Festivals
(1) 5th Shukla - Vasant Panchamee. This festival is to worship Saraswatee Devee to bestow with knowledge. After the winter, flowers start blooming, especially mustard flowers. Chill becomes mild, many kinds of bird start singing. This day people worship Saraswatee Devee, wear lemon or yellow color clothes, give mustard flowers to one another as greetings and cook sweet rice with Kesar.
Phaalgun Maas Festivals
(1) 14th Shukla - Shiv Raatri. It is believed that Shiv drank Poison which came out from Saagar Manthan, this day. People observe fast, and do Jaagaran the whole night singing Shiv's Bhajan.
(2) Poornimaa - Holee. This festival is supposed to be of Shoodra's festival. All people play Holee on this day. It begins from 11th day and continues till the 1st day of Chaitra Krishn. During this festival, people throw colored water on one another forgetting any difference between lower or upper status and enmity; and apply Gulaal (colored powder) to on another. Special sweets are made at home, are eaten and offered. People burn large piles of wood on their crossroads, worship them, and then burn them in early morning time next day. The final day, after burning Holee, is the main and last day of celebrating Holee.
This festival is especially celebrated in Mathuraa and Vrindaa Van. Besides Devar with Bhaabhee (husband's younger brother and elder brother's wife); Saalee with Jeejaa (wife's younger sister and elder sister's husband); and husband's younger sister's husband with wife's elder brother's wife especially play Holee. After playing Holee Devar gives clothes to his Bhaabhee and Bhaabhee does Teekaa to him; Jeejaa gives clothes to his Saalee; and younger sister's husband gives clothes to wife's older brother's wife and she does Teekaa in return of that.
In many houses, daughter's husband and sister's husband are invited to have food with the family. Then they are given some clothes and money. Over all this festival is celebrated with a great pomp and show.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 06/09/11