Burning of Ravanna, Dussehra .......... Tilak Aarti at Mehrangarh Fort
Hindu holidays are bright and colorful...dark and frightening...as different as the East is from the West.
The major Hindu Holidays in 2016 are listed below:
12 February 2016: Vasant Panchami
7 March 2016: Maha Shivaratri
23 March 2016: Holi
15 April 2016: Ramanavami
21 April 2016: Hanuman Jayanti
13 April 2016: Vaisakhi / Baisakhi / Vishu
9 May 2016: Akshaya Tritiya / Akha Teej
4 June 2016: Savitri Puja
5 July 2016: Puri Rath Yatra
19 July 2016: Guru Purnima
7 August 2016: Nag Panchami
12-23 August 2016: Krishna Pushkaralu (once every 12 years)
18 August 2016: Raksha Bandhan
25 August 2016: Krishna Janmashtami
4 September 2016: Ganesha Chaturthi
13 September 2016: Onam
30 September 2016: Mahalya Amavasya
1 October 2016: Navaratri (begins)
9 October 2016: Durga Puja (begins) / Navaratri (ends)
10 October 2016: Dussehra
15 October 2016: Shardad Purnima
18 October 2016: Karva Chauth
27 October 2016: Dhan Teras
29 October 2016: Diwali
1 November 2016: Bhai Dooj
5 November 2016: Chhath Puja
14 November 2016: Kartik Purnima
25 December: Christmas (*Some non-Christian Indians will celebrate Christmas as an additional holiday.)
Such a wealth of Hindu-holidays and festivals exists that it's difficult to describe them all in detail. Hindus celebrate many different things, from solar and lunar events to legendary occurrences. Here are a few you might like to know about:
Vasant Panchami: a Hindu festival that celebrates Saraswati, known as the goddess of knowledge, music, and art. It is fitting, then, that one of the ways this is celebrated is by teaching children to write their first words during this time. Celebrants may also feed Brahmins, worship ancestors, or pay homage to the god of love, Kamadeva.
Maha Shivaratri: Fasting and penances are performed for good karma and to honor Lord Shiva. The goal is to reach moksha more swiftly.
Holi: Holi is the second most important holiday. It's a springtime festival of colors in which social constraints are ignored. People may consume intoxicating drinks or opium, but the most fun aspect of it (I think) is the throwing of colored powders in the streets, leaving everyone looking so festive. Many different legends are attached to it, including those involving the love between Radha and Krishna.
Ramanavami: This is a major festival for worshippers of Vishnu and Shiva. It celebrates the victory of Hanuman and Rama, an avatar of Vishnu, over the demon king Ravana, who had kidnapped his flawless bride Sita. It involves a fast of one to nine days to seek perfection as a human being and often includes a retelling of the Ramayana.
Hanuman Jayanti: Hanuman Jayanti celebrates the birth of Hanuman, the Vanara god. A Vanara is supposed to be a monkey-like humanoid. Hanuman and his Vanara army appear in the Ramayana as ardent allies of Rama who allied with him to defeat the demon king Ravana of Lanka.
Raksha Bandhan: Raksha Bandhan celebrates the love and duties of the brother-sister relationship. It is also called Rakhi Purnima. On this day the sister ties a rakhi, or sacred thread, around the brother's wrist. The rakhi symbolizes the sister's ongoing prayer's for her brother's well being, as well as his will to protect his sister as long as they live.
Krishna Janmashtami: Krishna Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. It has several other names, a few of which are Ashtami Rohini, Krishnashtami, and Saatam Aatham.
Ganesha Chaturthi: Ganesha Chaturthi celebrates the blessings of Ganesha on his worshippers. Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, was the son of Shiva and Parvati and considered to be the god of wisdom. Ganesha idols are decorated and washed, and people sing and dance.
Navaratri: Navaratri means "nine nights." The first three days are dedicated to the warrior goddess Durga, the next three to Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and prosperity, and the last three to Saraswati, goddess of knowledge. A kanya puja is performed on the last day.
Dussehra: Dussehra celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It commemorates specifically the victory of Rama over the demon king Ravana of Lanka and subsequent retaking of Sita. In some parts of India, huge models of Ravana and other demons are filled with fireworks and firecrackers and set ablaze as Rama passes by with his bow. The atmosphere can be that of a fair or parade.
Diwali: Diwali is a festival of lights. It is an abbreviation for the word Deepavali, referring to the rows of lights people place on their roofs and windowsills at this time. Since Diwali aligns with a new moon is October or November, the precise date may differ from place to place, depending on the exact timing of the moon for that location.
Christmas: Although technically a Christian holiday, rather than a Hindu one, Christmas is often celebrated by people of many faiths in India. Christmas celebrates the birth of the God-man
Jesus and is often enjoyed by giving gifts to loved ones, as it is believed the magi of the East gave gifts to Jesus when they followed the star to him.