Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is celebrated on January 14 each year, as the sun enters the rashi ‘Capricorn’. Sankranti means the entry of the sun from one zodiac to another. From the south, the sun shifts northwards and hence the day is also known as Uttarayan. Daylight hours increase from this day and the actual Sankranti occurs in an extremely short period.

Historical Significance

This festival celebrated every year, has both astronomical and geographical implications related to Planet Earth. It can therefore be termed as a ‘Festival of Nature’. Our Earth, which revolves around the Sun and rotates on its own axis, has a periodical movement. It circles around Sun in an oval manner. Every six months it swings from one end to another. Those two points of transition of Earth are celebrated among the Hindu community as Sankramanas – Makara Sankramana in January and Karkataka (Mithuna) Sakramana in June.

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Sharad Purnima

Sharad Purnima, also known as ‘Kojaagari Punam’ is celebrated on the full moon of the last month in the Hindu calendar (Aashwin).

Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth moves around the night sky searching for people who may be awake. ‘Ko Jaagari?’ in Sanskrit translates to ‘Who is awake?’ and it is to those that she bestows wealth.

Origin

The story of Kojaagari is cited in the Sanatkumar Samhita. Samhita Vaalkhil Rishi narrates of a poor Brahmin named Valit who lived in Magadhdesh, Bengal. He was a virtuous and learned man whereas his wife revelled in quarrels and went against his wishes. Once, on the day of his father’s ‘Shraddh’ (day of respect towards a deceased one), his wife threw the ‘pind’ into the sewage instead of the Ganga River. When Valit understood what she had done, he became infuriated and instantly renounced his home to search for wealth.

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happy-diwali

Diwali

DiwaliDiwali

Contributed by our own Unjulie Bhanot and Ved Vyas

Diwali (also called Deepavaliदिवाली or दीपावली) is a major festival for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Indian Buddhists. Diwali is the celebration of victory of good over evil, and lamps (diyas) are lit as a sign of celebration and hope for mankind.

Deepavali is ‘a line of earthen (clay) lamps.  The reason for celebrating Diwali is the return of Lord Ram (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu), after killing Ravana during his exile for 14 year s. The day of killing Ravan is celebrated as Dusshera (19~21 days before Diwali). Read more

Dussehra

Dussehra

Dussehra literally means the tenth day. It marks the end of the first nine days of Ashwin also known as Navratri. Dussehra means different things to different people.

Vijayadashami as Dussehra is also known celebrates the homecoming of Lord Rama the hero of the epic Ramayana, after he rescued his wife Sita from Ravana, the king of Lanka. Songs are sung in praise of Rama and people in thousands witness this traditional theatre with its exaggerated costumes, jewellery, makeup and drama. Read more