Holiday and Celebrations
Most Hindu holidays are dedicated either to a god, or an aspect of nature, or a cycle in life. They can be anything from the festival of spring, a new moon, or a birthday celebration for gods like Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva or Ganesh, as well as Rama the ideal man.
One of the primary sacred days of Hinduism is Holi, a holiday centered on welcoming the vibrant colors of the season of spring. This joyous event involves tossing brightly colored powder on friends and family, dancing around bonfires, singing and playing in anticipation of nature's new life. The festival highlights famous stories in Hindu mythology, and encourages a playful spirit where social restrictions are greatly lessened.
Diwali, a five-day festival of lights around the Hindu's New Years Eve, is another of the most popular holidays in Hinduism. The rituals celebrated on this holiday vary by region, but usually involve lighting candles, oil lamps, gambling for good luck, dancing and feasting with family and friends.
Hindus Holidays and Festivals
- Makar Sankranti or Pongal - A 4-day festival in Janurary, filled with cooking Pongal, swinging, and drawing.
- Maha Shivaratri - The festival celebrating the god Shiva, where people fast and bring offerings to the god.
- Vasant Panchami - Celebrated the Saraswati, the goddess of arts and wisdom.
- Thaipusam - Worshiping Murugan the Tamil War God with dancing and prayers for deliverance from debt.
- Ram Nvami - Rama's Birthday celebration.
- Shigmo - The Konkani Hindu celebration of spring of the state of Goa, which takes place during Holi.
- Dussera - A festival honoring the triumph of good over evil.
- Durga Puja - A festival which honors the Goddess Durga.
- Gudi Padwa and Ugadi - These holidays celebrate New Year's Day in different regions of India.
- Bihu - This is an April celebration of the Assamese New Year and the new life of spring.
- Bonula - This festival celebrates the Mother Goddess.
- Guru Purnima - A day where every Hindu offers Puja (worship) to their guru.
- Krishna Janmashtami - Lord Krishna's birthday celebration.
- Raksha Bandhan - A celebration of family ties and the love shared by siblings.
- Onam - The 10-day long festival that honors Vamana (an avatar of Vishnu), involving snake boat races, mid-day feasting, making flower carpets, and praying.
- Gowri Habba - This festival celebrates Gowri and the courage she gives her followers. Newlyweds are welcomed back to the groom's parent's and fed a great feast.
- Chhath - This is a festival celebrating the provision of the sun god, and the wishes he grants to his people.
- Vat Pournima - A ceremony in which women tie threads on a banyan tree to pray for their husbands' success in the coming year.
- Vishu - A feast and firework celebration on the first day of the year on the zodiac calendar (April in the Gregorian calendar).
- Vasant Navratri - This festival spans 9 nights twice a year (in spring and autumn), and is dedicating to worshiping Shakti through dance, rituals, music and feasting.