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Festivals

 

Public Holidays in India

Date Week Day Holiday
January - 25 Friday Id-E-Milad
January - 26 Saturday Republic Day
March - 10 Sunday Maha Shivratri
March - 27 Wednesday Holi
March - 29 Friday Good Friday
April - 24 Wednesday Mahavir Jayanthi
May - 01 Wednesday May Day
May - 25 Saturday Buddha Purnima
August - 09 Friday Id-Ul-Fitr
August - 15 Thursday Independence Day
August - 28 Wednesday Krishna Janmastami
September - 09 Monday Ganesh Chaturthi
October - 02 Wednesday Mahatma Gandhi Jayanthi
October - 13 Sunday Vijaya Dashami
October - 16 Wednesday Bakri Id
November - 03 Sunday Diwali
November - 14 Thursday Muharram
November - 17 Sunday Guru Nanak Jayanthi
December - 25 Wednesday Christmas

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.

Eid al-Fitr often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm).The holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period.

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.

Hindu Festivals Calendar 2013
JAN 2013 13 Sunday Lohri
14 Monday Makar Sankranti
14 Monday Pongal
FEB 2013 10 Sunday Mauni Amavasya
15 Friday Basant Panchami
MAR 2013 10 Sunday Mahashivratri
27 Wednesday Holi
28 Thursday Hola Mohalla
APRIL 2013 11 Thursday Bikrami Samvat (Hindu New Year)
14 Sunday Baisakhi
19 Friday Ram Navmi
25 Thursday Hanuman Jayanti
MAY 2013 13 Monday Akshaya Tritiya/ Akha Teej
25 Saturday Buddha Purnima
JUNE 2013 18 Tuesday Ganga Dussehra
JULY 2013 10 Wednesday Rath Yatra
22 Monday Guru Poornima
AUG 2013 11 Sunday Naag Panchami
21 Wednesday Rakhi / Raksha Bandhan
28 Wednesday Sri Krishna Janmashtami
SEP 2013 09 Monday Ganesh Chaturathi
  16 Monday Onam
OCT 2013 05 Saturday Navratras begins
11 Friday Durga Puja Begins
13 Sunday Dussehra
22 Tuesday Karva Chauth
NOV 2013 01 Friday Dhan Teras
03 Sunday Diwali
04 Monday Govardhan Puja
05 Tuesday Bhai Duj
06 Wednesday Chhath Puja Begins (Nahai Khai)
08 Friday Chhath Puja Ends (Sandhya Argh)