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Home > Religious Festivals > Hindu Festivals
Hindu Festivals
Diwali Dussehra Mahashivratri
Janmashtami Holi Pongal
Hanuman Jayanti Vat-Savitri Gond Festival
Nagpanchami Rakhi Purnima Rama Navami
Vasant Panchami Ganesh Chaturthi
Hindu FestivalsHinduism is not founded by an individual. It is a philosophy, a way of life, which has grown over a period of five thousand years. Its two main divisions are the Vedic and the Brahmanical. Hinduism is not a religion in the accepted sense. It is called Hindu Dhara and Dharma is a discipline, a moral code. Hindus revere Bhagwadgita, the epic poem, recited by Lord Krishna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra for explaining the path of action to Arjuna (the third of the Pandava brothers).

Hindus follow saka calendar. It is extensively followed in Maharashtra and South India. The Saka year starts with the first day of the month of Chaitra, corresponding to the twenty-second of March in ordinary years and to the twenty-first in a Leap Year. There are a number of Hindu religious festivals that are officially recognized by the government as "closed holidays," on which work stops throughout the country. The biggest of these occur within two blocks of time after the end of the southwest monsoon. The first comes at the end of the ten-day festival of Dussehra, late in the month of Ashwina (September-October) according to the Shaka calendar, India`s official calendar. Several weeks later comes Dipavali (Diwali), or the Festival of Lights, in the month of Kartika (October-November). This is officially a one-day holiday, but in reality it becomes a weeklong event when many people take vacations. There are a large number of "restricted holidays" celebrated by the vast majority of the population and resulting in closures of business establishments.

Cuisine, dresses and ornaments, with the profusion of golden, red and yellow colors, cultural and traditional performances and music, chariot and car procession of the deities and interesting folklores are at the heart of Hindu festivals. Colours and rangolis (design made on a porch) in flowers, coloured powders or finely ground rice made outside the house and temples are a peculiarity of Hindu festivals.

All over India, at least once a year the images of the gods are taken from their shrines to travel in processions around their domains. The images are carried on palanquins that require human-drawn, large-wheeled carts. The images may be made up in stone or wood and the statues appear lifelike. They may be adorned with costly vestments, and flower garlands may surround their necks or entire shrines. The gods move down village or city streets in parades that may include multiple palanquins. At sites of major temples, even elephants are decked out in traditional vestments. As the parade passes, throngs of worshipers pray and make vows to the gods while the community looks on and participates in the spectacle.

In many locations, these public parades go on for a number of days that include special events where they engage in "play" (lila), which may include mock battles between gods and demons. The ceremonial bathing of the images and displays of the gods in all their finery in public halls also occur. In the south, where temples stand at the geographic and psychological heart of village and town, some "chariots" of the gods stand many storeys tall and require the concerted effort of dozens of men to pull them through the streets.
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