Hindu Of Universe

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.


HINDU FESTIVALS.  India  is a land of bewildering diversity, a unique and colorful mosaic of people of various faiths. There is a festival for every reason and for every season. Many festivals celebrate various harvests, commemorate great historical figures and events, or express devotion to the deities. Every celebration centers around the rituals of prayer and seeking of blessings, and involves the decoration of homes, wearing of new clothes, music, dancing, and feasting. Festivals are an expression of the spirit of celebration. They are observed with enthusiasm and gaiety and are occasions when the greater family and friends come together. They also present women with an opportunity to socialize. Many of these festivals are associated with special foods.

Among the most important Hindu festivals are Makar Sankranti, Shivratri, Holi, Onam, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dussehra, and Diwali. They are celebrated throughout the country in various forms.

Makar Sankranti

Also referred to as Lohri in the North and as Pongal in parts of the South, Makar Sankranti is a celebration of the “ascent” of the sun to the North. The festival marks the coldest day of the winter (14 January), after which the biting cold begins to taper off. In the North, the festival is marked by the lighting of bonfires, into which sweets, rice, and popcorn are thrown as offerings. In the South, prayers are offered to the sun god, because without the sun, there would be no harvest. During the festival, the most commonly eaten foods are sesame seeds and jaggery sweets, rice cooked with milk, jaggery (called pongal ), and sugar drops. Jaggery is a dark crude sugar made from palms.


Shivrati literally means the night of Shiva. It is celebrated in February and March. Devotees of Shiva abstain from eating food throughout the day and only break their fast the following morning after a night of worship. The offerings of food to the deity comprise “cooling” foods, because Shiva was said to be hot-tempered. These include milk, water, honey, and the leaves of the wood apple tree (aegle marmelos ), which are said to be cooling. Another food popular at this festival is thandai, a drink made with milk, almonds, and hemp seed. Hemp seed is said to have been dear to Shiva and is thus imbibed as part of the festivities.

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Celebrated essentially in northern India, this boisterous festival heralds the onset of spring (in mid-March). It is a festival of color, and people smear each other with colored powder and spray each other with colored water. Singing and dancing add to the gaiety of the occasion. It is variously associated with Krishna (as is evident in the particularly extensive celebrations at Vrindavan and Mathura, the two places associated with Krishna) and Shiva. Legend has it that the celebration of Holi is actually a recreation of the marriage procession of Shiva. The delicacies eaten during this festival include malpua (fresh bread soaked in a sugar syrup), puranpoli (unleavened wheat bread stuffed with lentils and jaggery and baked on a griddle), and gujjiyas (flour patties stuffed with milk solids, sugar, almonds, and raisins and then deep-fried).


Onam, the harvest festival, is traditionally celebrated in Kerala (in August–September). The harvest has been reaped and the granaries are full; therefore it is time to rejoice.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Celebrated essentially in Maharashtra, this festival celebrates the birthday of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god who is the son of Shiva and Parvati. Ganesha is the remover of all obstacles and difficulties; he is the one who will grant success in all human endeavors. Therefore, no new venture is started without first praying to Ganesha. His image is installed in individual homes for a period of hours or days leading up to the festival, at which point those same images are displayed in a procession with much singing and dancing, and then immersed in running water. Ganesha’s favorite food modak (a wheat flour pastry stuffed with coconut and jaggery and baked on a griddle) is offered to the deity and served throughout the festival’s duration.


Celebrated in October, Dussehra commemorates the victory of good over evil, and culminates in the burning in effigy of Ravana and the triumph of Rama. It is celebrated in various ways throughout the country, often with much music and dancing, and lasts for ten days. During this time, there are public performances of the Ramlila (the story of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana). On the day of Dussehra, new accounts are opened, and new ventures started.


Celebrated twenty-one days after Dussehra, this festival commemorates Rama’s return to his hometown, Ayodhya, after having been in exile for fourteen years. While Dussehra celebrates Rama’s victory over Ravana, Diwali celebrates his return. Thousands of oil lamps are lit to welcome him home, making it a night of enchantment. Homes are decorated, and sweets are exchanged between family and friends. Fireworks and festivities are part of the celebrations. On this day, the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, is worshipped.

Hinduism: Celebrations and Festivals

There are three main yearly festivals. All major festival celebrations include visiting a temple, eating special foods and exchanging gifts.

Diwali is the festival of lights. Light represents knowledge. It is celebrated in late October or early November. This is the Hindu New Year.

Holi is the festival which marks the coming of spring. It is held in March or April. There are processions and people light bonfires and cover each other with colored water and powders.

Dussehra is the festival which marks Rama’s triumph over the evil Ravana. It is held in September. There are dances and plays with events in the life of the god Rama depicted.

Every twelve years in January or February:

Kumbha Mela: This celebration is a huge bathing affair. Millions of Hindu pilgrims go to the River Ganges at Allahbad for this festival.


What is the most important Hindu holiday?

Holi is the most popular and well-known Hindu holiday. It celebrates Lord Krishna’s battle over evil and the arrival of Spring.

What are the three Hindu festivals?

Hinduism has three major festivals. They include Holi (the Festival of Colors), Diwali (the Festival of Lights), and Dussehra (the Festival of Triumph).

What are the major celebrations of Hinduism?

Like all other cultures, Hinduism has both religious and social celebrations. Religious celebrations include the three major Hindu festivals (Holi, Diwali, and Dussehra) as well as Hindu rites of passage, including Upanayana and Antyeshti.

Hinduism: Practices and Rituals

Like all other faiths, Hinduism contains many practices and rituals that carry deep and significant meaning for adherents to the faith. Hinduism has three major celebrations: Holi (the Festival of Colors), Diwali (the Festival of Lights), and Dussehra (the Festival of Triumph). Hindus celebrate these holidays on both a personal and community level. Hinduism also has many ceremonies – also called rituals – including the Upanayana, or rite of passage, and the Antyeshti, or death rite.

Hindu Ceremonies

Religious ceremonies or rituals are repetitive events that help an individual or community recognize a significant religious truth or an important stage of life. Read on for more details regarding Hindu ceremonies.

The Hindu Custom of Cow Veneration

Among well-known Hindu, customs is the veneration of cows. In Hinduism, the cow represents the belief in divinity; historically, respect for cows is likely associated with India’s ancient pastoral economy. In India, it is illegal to kill a cow, and worshippers are unified through their shared adoration of cattle.

Upanayana in Hinduism

The Upanayana is among the most famous Hindu religious practices. Upanayana is a rite of passage for Hindu men that represents the transition from childhood to spiritual awareness and is generally restricted to the three upper tiers of the Hindu caste system. When a young man desires initiation, he bathes ritually and receives a triple-braided and knotted thread, worn throughout his life over his left shoulder.

Hindu Celebrations

Hindu celebrations are also referred to as festivals. There are three major festivals in Hinduism.


Holi is celebrated in the spring and is sometimes called the Festival of Colors. During this festival, adherents and guests throw colored powder on one another to celebrate springtime and recognize Lord Krishna’s victory over evil. The festival draws on many colors, but the most popular shades represent specific traits that Hindus seek to develop. They include orange (bravery), yellow (sincerity), green (vitality), blue (power), purple (dedication to self-development), pink (friendliness), and red (unity).

At a Holi festival, attendees will gather up handfuls of powder (and sometimes water) and throw them on one another to represent unity and express gratitude for the community’s development.

Lesson Summary

Hinduism has many rituals, or repetitive events that teach a religious truth or recognize an important stage of life. The most common rituals include Puja, or private, in-home worship of Hindu gods and goddesses through adoration of statues and mantras, or specific words or sounds that are repeated to aid in concentration. Unlike the West, Hindu worship generally does not occur as a community but rather is a personal event that takes place in the home. Hindus also venerate the cow, which unifies Hindus, represents divinity, and references the ancient pastoral society of India. The Upanayana is a rite of passage for young men that symbolizes the transition from childhood to spiritual awareness and is represented by a sacred thread worn over the left shoulder. Antyeshti is the Hindu death rite, wherein a body is cremated, the ashes are given to a sacred river, and the family permitted nearly two weeks of formal mourning to assist the deceased spirit in their journey to their next physical body.

There are three main Hindu festivals. Holi is the Festival of Colors. It is the most common Hindu festival and celebrates the coming of spring and the unity and development of the community. Diwali is the five-day Festival of Lights that honors the goddess Lakshmi and Lord Krishna through lights, community gatherings, and honoring of family bonds. Dussehra is the Festival of Triumph that commemorates the god Rama’s defeat of the ten-headed demon Ravana with theatrical reenactments and community gatherings.

What is the most important Hindu holiday?

Holi is the most popular and well-known Hindu holiday. It celebrates Lord Krishna’s battle over evil and the arrival of Spring.

What are the three Hindu festivals?

Hinduism has three major festivals. They include Holi (the Festival of Colors), Diwali (the Festival of Lights), and Dussehra (the Festival of Triumph).

What are the major celebrations of Hinduism?

Like all other cultures, Hinduism has both religious and social celebrations. Religious celebrations include the three major Hindu festivals (Holi, Diwali, and Dussehra) as well as Hindu rites of passage, including Upanayana and Antyeshti.

Important Festivals

Hinduism almost certainly has a longer list of festivals than any other religious tradition, and there are considerable regional and denominational variations. Twelve of the more popular and widely celebrated events are listed below.

Purposes of Festivals

Janmastami celebrations at a temple in the UK.

Festivals are generally times for celebration and remembrance. Other purposes are:

  • To create a special atmosphere, diverting the mind from worldly concerns and joyfully focusing on spiritual matters.
  • To invoke the soul’s natural qualities by creating an environment replete with auspiciousness and the abundant gifts of
  • To give people spiritual impetus and inspiration, which helps them perform their daily duties.
  • To dovetail the natural tendency for celebration with spiritual goals.
  • To forge a healthy sense of belonging by peacefully bringing together individuals, families and communities.

Main Practices during Festivals

  • Fasting and feasting
  • Distribution of food (especially prasad)
  • Giving in charity (to temples, saints, the poor, etc)
  • Visiting the temple
  • Visiting relatives
  • Glorification of God (kirtan, bhajan, story recitals, dance, drama)
  • Manufacture and worship of temporary deities
  • Taking temple deities in procession
  • Wearing new clothes
  • Decorating houses, streets and temples with fruits, flowers, leaves and banana leaves

Types of Festivals

There are three main types of festivals:

  1. Celebrating a significant event in the life of a deity e.g. Janmashtami is Krishna’s birthday.
  2. Celebrating a significant event in the life of a holy person e.g. the birthday of a particular guru.
  3. Seasonal festivities or customs, e.g. spring festivals like Holi.
  4. Festivals in the first category have become more universal and widely celebrated; the most important ones are Indian public holidays. Festivals in the third category are often exclusively regional, or regional variations of broader festivals e.g. Pongal in Tamil Nadu, which marks Makara Sankranti. Others, such as Holi, are celebrated internationally. Special days within the second category are often relevant only to a particular group (sampradaya) for whom the particular saint has significant relevance.
  5. Twelve Important Festivals
  6. The following is a list of twelve main festivals along with their corresponding deities and any related stories.
Sarasvati Puja January Sarasvati Saraswati curses Brahma
Maha Shiva Ratri Feb/March Shiva Stories of Shiva
Holi March Vishnu (Narasimha) Prahlad and Narasimha (and Holika)
Rama Navami Mar/April Rama Ramayana, especially Rama’s birth
Hanuman Jayanti April Hanuman Ramayana, especially later episodes
RathaYatra June/July Jagannatha The Proud Merchant
Raksha Bandhana August Indra wears a rakhi
Janmashtami Aug/Sept Krishna Krishna’s birth and childhood
Ganesh Chaturthi Aug/Sept Ganesh How Ganesh received his head
Navaratri/Durga Puja Sept/Oct Shakti, Parvati Durga kills Mahisha, and others
Dussehra October Rama Ramayana
Diwali* Oct/Nov Lakshmi/Rama Stories of Lakshmi/Ramayana
  1. * Diwali usually spans five days and for many Hindus is the NewYear It includes a number of festivals, which some consider special days in their own right.These include (1) Govardhana Puja (worship of the sacred hill lifted by Krishna), (2) Annakuta (the offering of grains), (3) Go-puja (worship of the cow), and (4) Bratra-Dvitiya (sister’s day).
  2. Scriptural Quote
  3. “Utsava means ‘pleasure.’ Whenever some function takes place to express happiness, it is called utsava. Utsava, the expression of complete happiness, is always present in the Vaikunthalokas, the abode of the Lord.”
  4. Bhagavat Purana