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Festivals and Holidays of India

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There are many holidays and festivals inIndia. In my report I will explain what the holidays of Holi,Diwali, Dussera, and Basanto commemorate. I will givedetails about their dates and customs.

****************************** Holi: The FireFestival The Hindu Fire Festival, called Holi or Basaat iscelebrated in India on the fifteenth day of the Light Half ofthe Moon, in the Hindu month of Phalguna (March). Holi is aspring festival for Hindus. It is celebrated before themonsoon, the great rainstorms which come each year. Holi isa joyous holiday and is celebrated by Hindus of all ages.

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Boys and girls squirt water pistols, sometimes large pumpsfilled with saffron or red-colored water. The Hindus favoritecolors are red, crimson and saffron. In Bengal, the Holifestival is associated with the life of Krishna, a Hindu god. InBengal the colored powders are used without the water, forthe fun. Before indulging in a feast in honor of Holi, thechildren change out of their sporty clothes that are coveredin red and put on fresh, clean garments.

It is customary toexchange gifts in honor of this spring festival.

****************************** Diwali: The Festivalof Lights The Hindu New Year, Diwali, is celebrated on thelast night of autumn, in October or November. It is a holidaywhich is celebrated throughout India. It comes at the end ofthe monsoon rains, when the weather is nice and mild, andlasts for five days. For this holiday, daughters return to theirparents’ homes, houses are cleared, walls are decorated withdesigns drawn in white rice flour water and then colored.

Business account books are closed and new ones areopened ceremoniously, new clothes are worn and friends areentertained. Before the festival, special food is prepared tobe offered in the Hindu temples. In preparation and in honorof this festival of lights clay saucers are filled with mustard oiland floating cotton wicks, giving a soft, glowing light to thehomes. These lights are called chirags, and are placed on thewindow sills and rooftops of houses; along the roads, and onthe banks of rivers and streams. Women and girls who live inthe sacred city of Banares, take their chirags to the banks ofthe Ganges River. They quietly light them and put them in theriver to float along the water. They hope for their clay boatsto float to the other side with the wicks still lit. If they remainlit, it is a sign of good luck. The reason for the lights is todirect Lakshmi; goddess of prosperity to every home. Thereare a few versions of the origin of this festival. In the northernpart of India, it is associated with the autumn season and theharvest. They believe that Lakshmi returns to the plains andlowlands every autumn, after her stay in high country duringthe summer months. She visits people’s homes on that nightand needs the light to guide her way. By assuring that shereaches their homes they are assuring that their blessings willbe great and meaningful.

****************************** Dussera: TheVictories of Rama During the ten day Festival of the DivineMother a pageant is presented in every city, town or villagethroughout northern India. The pageant is presented for twohours each day, ten days in a row. This annual pageant iscalled Ram Lila, based on the famous and sacred Hindu epicRamayana, which consists of 24,000 stanzas. The Ram Lilashows some happening of the great epic that are well knownto all Hindus, adults and children. Every year the people inIndia gather in the market places and watch the Ram Lilawith excitement as if they are seeing it for the first time.

Towns compete to see who will put on a richer display ofcostumes and better music. The pageant’s story concernsmainly the events in the wars between Rama, the seventhincarnation of the Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, and Ravan,the cruel demon with ten faces and twenty hands, whothreatened to conquer the earth below and the gods inheaven. Rama’s forces were under the command of GeneralHanuman, a monkey. Hanuman led great victories overenemies of mankind and gods. The most exciting part of thepageant is a battle scene with Hanuman. The ten daypageant ends with the death of Ravana, who is burned ineffigy. An image of the dead demon is made of bamboo andcolored paper, and is placed on a platform and blown upwith fireworks. The audience stamps their feet and thissymbolizes victory for Rama over Ravana; good over evil.

****************************** Basanta: The FirstDay of Spring On the first day of spring, in the Muslimcalendar, Basanta is celebrated. Basanta, which in Sanskritmeans yellow, is the sacred color of India and is the symbolof spring. On this festival everyone wears yellow on parts oftheir clothing. Hindu poets of ancient days wrote poemsabout spring. Many of them were to Basanta, and in someway connected the arrival of spring with Saraswati,Brahma’s wife, the goddess of the sixty-four arts andsciences. On this holiday, the family fasts until noon and thenthey go to a field for a picnic lunch and enjoy the outdoors.

Offering of white mango bloom or any white flower isbrought for Saraswati. This begins the season when boysand their fathers like to fly their flat tailless kites made ofcolored tissue paper and bamboo.

****************************** CONCLUSION Inthis report I learned much about India’s religious holidays. Ilearned about the many Hindu gods and about India’speople. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Millen, Nina, Children’sFestivals From Many Lands. New York: Friendship Press,1964. 2. Dobler, Lavinia, Customs and Holidays Around theWorld. New York: Fleet Publishing Co., 1962. 3. Gaer,Joseph, Holidays Around the World. Boston: Little, Brownand Company, 1953. FESTIVALS AND HOLIDAYS OFINDIA CLASS 7K History

Cite this Festivals and Holidays of India

Festivals and Holidays of India. (2019, Apr 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/festivals-and-holidays-of-india/

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