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Hindu Festivals

  • Hinduism is both a religion and a way of life in India. With roughly 1.2 billion followers or 15–16 percent of the worldwide population, Hinduism is the world’s third-largest religion.
  • Hinduism is a complex philosophical system characterised by a variety of related concepts, rituals, cosmological systems, pilgrimage locations, and shared textual sources that explore theology, metaphysics, mythology, Vedic yajna, yoga, agamic rituals, and temple construction, among other themes.
  • Festivals are an important aspect of Hindus’ daily lives since they reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage.
  • A festival is honoured in Hindu culture with prayers and various traditions such as fasting, decorating deities, preparing special delicacies, community fairs, and so on.
  • The festivals usually memorialise significant events in Hindu mythology, although also frequently coincide with seasonal changes or agricultural cycles such as sowing and harvesting.

Diwali or Deepawali

  • It is also known as the ‘Festival of Lights,’ and it is observed by all Hindu groups in India and worldwide. It occurs on the auspicious day of the ‘new moon,’ or Amavasya, in the Karthik month, which is normally in October or November. Several Hindu priests refer to it as ‘Krishna Chaturdashi.’
  • The traditional cleansing and lightening of the house or place of business is a means of commemorating the event. Additionally, individuals buy new clothes and exchange gifts on this day.
  • There are various auspicious days that precede Diwali, for example, the day before the festival is known as Naraka Chaturdasi.
  • This is Lord Krishna’s victory against the demon Naraka. The following day is Diwali, also known as Lakshmi Puja.
  • During the celebration, most people light up their homes.
  • This day is significant for two reasons:
    • It commemorates Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya after a fourteen-year exile in the forest.
    • It represents the triumph of light over darkness.
  • Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped during the evening Puja because she is the bringer of wealth. This is to represent Lakshmi emerging from the sea during the ‘Samudra Manthan.’
  • During the war between the demons and the Gods, the oceans churned out several holy objects, one of which was Goddess Lakshmi.
  • Goddess Kali is revered in Bengal because she is the patron Goddess of the majority of Hindus who live there.
  • Diwali is also known for the Chopad Puja, which commemorates Lord Krishna’s sermon on Karma Yoga to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
  • This was also the day Mahavira gained Nirvana, according to Jain philosophy.

Sharad Purnima

  • This festival, which occurs 15 days before Diwali, celebrates the harvest season. It occurs on the Navanna Purnima or full moon night.
  • The festival’s unique feature is that individuals drink saffron-coloured milk during the moonlit night, a custom known as Kojagiri.
  • This rite is associated with the Goddess Durga in some parts of India.
  • In a torch-lit procession known as Chhabina, the Goddess’s idol is carried across the temple grounds.


  • It’s known as the ‘Festival of Colours,’ and it’s celebrated with enthusiasm and colour across the country.
  • It is a festival that characterises Indian culture and is observed by people of many religions and communities.
  • The event is held in the month of Phalgun, which comes between the end of February and the beginning of March.
  • It also signals the start of spring and the conclusion of the winter season. It is observed on two days: Chhoti (little) Holi and ‘Rang’ or Color Day.
  • The Chhoti Holi is also known as ‘Holika Dahan,’ or the day of the fire monster ‘Holika,’ according to folklore.
  • This burning represents the victory of good over evil and the burning of Holika and the rescue of Bhakt Prahlad.
  • To play with each other, most people utilize ‘gulal,’ or colour and water.
  • Holi is celebrated in many ways around the country; for example, in Vrindavan and Mathura, Lathmar Holi is observed, in which the ladies of the family come out and beat their husbands with sticks.
  • It’s done in a lighthearted manner with plenty of merriment. In many regions of rural Maharashtra, it is known as Rangapanchami.
  • Basant Utsav or Dhol Jatra is the name given to it in West Bengal and parts of Assam.
  • Bhang or thandai, which is made of marijuana or a specific form of the plant, is also used by some people.
  • People dress up and visit friends and family in the evening after playing with colours.

Makar Sankranti

  • It is a festival honouring the Sun God, who is also known as the King of the Planets. Makar Sankranti commemorates the Sun’s arrival in the northern hemisphere.
  • The terms are a combination of two Sanskrit words: Makar, which means Capricorn, and Sankranti, which means change.
  • The celebration is also tied to the agricultural cycle that most rural farming communities follow.
  • It is observed as a way of showing appreciation to Mother Nature for a successful crop that brings prosperity and happiness to the community.
  • In several regions of the country, the holy day of Uttarayan is also observed during this time.
  • The days are getting longer and the nights are getting shorter, signalling the end of winter. Many pilgrims also travel to Ganga Sagar and Prayag to bathe in the sacred water.
  • Cattle/Bullock fairs are held in many regions of the country since this day is considered fortunate for buying cattle in several sections of the country.
  • Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th of January every year.
  • Although the event is associated with harvesting, it is also celebrated as a kite-flying festival throughout the country.


  • It is Lord Krishna’s birth anniversary, which is commemorated by Hindus all throughout the country.
  • It occurs during the month of Shravan (July/August), and the date is determined by the lunar calendar and the moon’s position.
  • Ras Leela’s performance or Radha-humorous Krishna’s performances are highlights of the festival.
  • Several Krishna Leelas are also performed, depicting Lord Krishna’s childhood and adolescent adventures.
  • This day is commemorated with various programmes in Dwarka, Gujarat, which is one of the major Dhams or devotional destinations for Hindus dedicated to Lord Krishna. Many people make trips to this town in Gujarat.
  • Mathura and Vrindavan, both linked with Lord Krishna’s birthplace, hold similar celebrations.
  • This festival is known as Dahi-handi in Maharashtra and is celebrated in a grand way.
  • Each community gathers money and hangs a matki (an earthen jar used to contain water or milk) several feet in the air.
  • Young guys form a human ladder and attempt to break the matki, which symbolises Lord Krishna breaking a matki to obtain butter.
  • The breaking of the pot is accompanied by a sizable monetary reward.


  • Dussehra, also known as ‘Vijaydashami,’ is a national holiday in India commemorating Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana.
  • Prior to the festival’s conclusion, Hindus in north India observe a nine-day fast known as ‘Navratri.’ The festival of Vijay-Dashmi, or the Victory on the Tenth Day, is observed on the tenth day.
  • The burning of the effigies of Ravana, his son Meghnad, and brother Kumbhkaran is a unique feature of the Dussehra rituals.
  • Typically, a youngster or young boy is dressed as Lord Rama and is asked to point the arrows in the effigies that represent Rama killing Ravana.
  • The public is also shown a rendition of the ‘Ram-lila’ or Lord Rama’s story, at such public gatherings. It depicts an episode from Lord Rama’s life as portrayed in the Ramayana and shows it to an enrapt audience.
  • The ‘Lanka Dahan,’ or Battle in Lanka, and the Dialogue between Gods and Lord Rama are two key scenes. In India, fairs or Melas are held in all cities and towns.
  • It is celebrated with great zeal in various regions of India, such as Mysore, at the Chamundi Temple.
  • Bommai Kolu (dolls), lights, and flowers are used to build elaborate decorations in other southern states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and these are preserved for a time after the ritual is done.
  • After worshipping Lord Raghunath (another name for Rama), the locals in Himachal Pradesh execute the traditional ‘Natti Dance’ for nine days.

Ram Navami

  • Lord Rama’s birth anniversary is commemorated at this event. March/April, or Chaitra, is the month when the celebration takes place.
  • The holiday is observed throughout the country, but in Ayodhya and Puducherry, where the narrative of Lord Rama is particularly well-known, the festival is especially well-observed.
  • Thousands of pilgrims flock to Ayodhya’s Ram Janambhoomi/Babri Masjid to pay their respects to Lord Rama’s reputed birthplace.
  • On this auspicious day in Puducherry, all rites and celebrations are held in the Kanaka Bhavan Temple.

Durga Puja

  • The holiday of Dussehra is identical to the Bengali, Assamese, and other communities’ Durga Puja celebrations.
  • This festival commemorates Goddess Durga’s victory over the demonic ‘Mahishasura.’ Every year, the event takes place in September/October and is marked by a great deal of pomp and circumstance.
  • The celebration primarily celebrates the triumph of good over evil.
  • Maa Durga is worshipped in Bengal for five days, with festivities beginning on the sixth day (Shashti) and culminating on the tenth day with the legendary ‘Durga Puja.’
  • On the last day of the Puja, the gigantic clay idol of Durga is immersed in the sea or river, which is a unique tradition associated with Bengali Durga Puja.
  • Goddess Durga’s return to Lord Shiva’s household after a ten-day sojourn at her parents’ house is symbolised by this immersion of the statue.
  • It is known as ‘Dasara’ in various regions of India, such as Mysore, and ‘Navratri’ in Gujarat, where it is celebrated with dances such as Garba and Dandia.
  • The celebration lasts nine days in Tamil Nadu, with the first three days dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the next three to Goddess Durga, and the last three days dedicated to Goddess Saraswati.

Ganesh Chaturthi

  • The celebration is held to commemorate Lord Ganesha’s birth anniversary.
  • It occurs on the fourth day of Bhadra (August/September) month. While it is a national holiday, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu all participate in it.
  • The celebration is supposed to have been started by Shivaji to promote Hinduism during his reign, as opposed to the Mughals.
  • The festival was resurrected in 1893 by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a modernist national movement thinker who wished to bring people together in the spirit of nationalism and struggle for independence from the British, who had enforced a ban on all public gatherings.
  • During the celebration, the majority of people bring an idol of Lord Ganesha and temporarily install him in their home. On a daily basis, he is revered, and ritual food offerings are provided.
  • Thousands of devotees form a procession on the last day of the festival, or Chaturthi, to transport the idols to be immersed in nearby water bodies.
  • ‘Visarjan‘ is the name given to the immersion of the idol.
  • Currently, the toxic nature of these idols harms water bodies, resulting in the deaths of aquatic species and creating a drinking water concern.

Karva Chauth

  • This is a holiday that Hindu women all around the world celebrate since it is linked to their husbands’ well-being.
  • Karva Chauth, also known as Karthikki Chauth, occurs on the fourth day after the full moon in the month of October or November.
  • The celebration was established to ensure the husband’s health, longevity, and prosperity.
  • The fast begins before morning, when ladies receive Sargi, a ritual food offering from their mothers-in-law, and must go without drink and food for the rest of the day.
  • They are only permitted to eat when the moon appears in the sky.
  • Before breaking their fasts, the women try to glimpse the moon’s reflection in a plate full of water and invoke the Goddess ‘Gaur Mata’ during their puja.

Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath

  • This is one of the most important festivities of Odisha.
  • Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra, or Chariot Festival, takes place once a year in the sacred town of Puri, the Neelachal Srikshetra.
  • The celebration takes place on the second day of the Ashadha month (June/July).
  • Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath are the three principal deities honoured at the event.
  • The three wooden statues of Lord Krishna, his brother Balabhadra, and his sister Subhadra are transported on a cart during the celebration.
  • These three idols are removed from the Sri Mandir and placed on elaborately painted carts carried by millions of people.
  • They transport it to the Shri Gundicha temple, where the statues are temporarily housed for a week.
  • The return trek, known as the Bahuda Yatra, begins on the ninth day, known as the Asadha Sukla Dasami.
  • According to some academics, the Rath Yatra predates the construction of the existing Puri temple and was celebrated as early as the 9th century.


  • This event is held every year in honour of Lord Shiva.
  • Maha Shivratri is a day of celebration and prayer to the Almighty for health and happiness. It occurs on the fourteenth day of the month of Magha, which falls in February or March according to the Gregorian calendar.
  • Lord Shiva is eternal, hence this day is noteworthy since it was on this day that he showed himself as a massive flaming lingam known as Jyotirlinga.
  • Lord Shiva is claimed to have performed the Tandava, or ritual dance, on this day, which represents the creation, preservation, and destruction of the earth.
  • Devotees collect holy water from the Ganga and go to far-flung temples to make the Shivalinga’s customary offering.
  • In addition, all devotees observe a fast throughout the day and a vigil at night. It occurs on the month’s darkest day.


  • Chhath is an ancient Hindu festival that has been held since the Vedic era.
  • It is dedicated to Surya, the Sun God, who is the source of all life on Earth. It is celebrated six days after Diwali on the sixth day of the lunar fortnight of the Kartik month.
  • It is Bihar’s state festival, which lasts four days and is marked by strict fasting. It entails taking a sacred bath as well as giving offerings to the rising and setting Sun.
  • Chhath is observed in India’s northern and eastern regions, as well as Nepal.

Bharat has a number of Holy and Religious festivals and traditions. However, most people view and celebrate them merely as age-old practices; they do not pay attention to the underlying science and their deeper meaning. If the underlying science of the Holy and Religious festivals is known, they can be celebrated with added faith. This article gives details about various types of vrats and their importance.

1. Types of vrats –  Sakām (With expectation) and nishkām (Without expectation)

  1. Sakām vrat vrat done to fulfill a specific desire is called a sakām vrat. The Purāṇs (The eighteen sacred Holy texts compiled by Sage Vyās) and Tantra (A branch of the Vēdās) texts give an account of different worships for fulfillment of different desires. Worship with expectation is an incidental worship and is undertaken only after choosing an auspicious moment and on a day of the week having anauspicious tithī (Lunar day).

The belief that, ‘The vrat of Satyanārāyaṇ and Satyadatta fulfill wishes faster’, makes many people undertake them. Thereby, the presiding Deity of that vrat gets appeased and one gets the benefit of the vrat.

Types of vrats done with expectation are given below.

  • Dharma (as spiritual practice) :Incidental vrat such as chanting Shrīrām’s Name, recitation of the Bhāgvat for a week etc.
  • Arth(Wealth) : Anant, Kojagari
  • Kāma (fulfilling desires) : Shanipradosh(Religious observance to overcome defects due to the planet Saturn in the first part of the night on a specific tithī), parāyans (Repeated readings) of Shrī Gurucharitra, Harivounsh-shravaṇ (Listening to the reading of Harivounsh), Solāsomvār (Sixteen Mondays) to beget a son.
  • Moksha (Final Liberation):The vrat of sixteen Mondays.
  1. Nishkām vrat ‘Without expectation’ refers only to no expectations with regard to worldly life. Even in worship without expectation, the desire to attain God or Moksha does exist.

2.Types of vrats – Regular and Incidental

  1. Regular vrats:These are the duties to be performed according to the varṇa (Class) system. For instance, celibacy, pūjā (Ritualistic worship), sandhyā etc. should be performed everyday.
  2. Incidental vrats:These vrats are performed only on specific tithīs, for example, Vatapourṇima, Mangalāgour, Harītālika, Gaṇesh Chaturthī, Rushīpanchamī, Kojāgirī etc.

3.Types of vrats – According to the need

  1. Most essential (penance) :These are vrats performed as penance. For instance, Kruchha, ArdhakruchhaChandrayaṇ etc.
  2. Essential (duty) : These are activities to be carried out and the code of conduct to be followed according to the varṇa system, for example, celibacy, sandhyā, honouring of a guest etc.
  3. Voluntary : Vrats undertaken with a specific motive, for example, the sakām vrats.

4.Types of vrats – According to the sense organ

  1. Vrats performed at a physical level : Observance of a fast, eating only one meal, practicing non-violence etc.
  2. Vrats performed at a verbal level : Chanting God’s Name, speaking the truth, speaking politely etc.
  3. Vrats performed at a mental level : Observance of celibacy, practicing non-violence even mentally, control over anger etc.

5.Types of vrats – According to the time

Most vrats fall in the period between Pratipada and Saptamī (7th day in a Hindu lunar fortnight) or Ashtamī (8th day in a Hindu lunar fortnight), because from then on waxing of the moon begins, and the opportunity for fulfillment of the vrat too increases. Depending on when the vrat is performed, the period is divided into the half-year, era, month, fortnight, date as per Hindu lunar almanac, day, the ruling constellation, position of planets (yog), the half-day etc.

  1. Mās-vrat :The Vrats performed in the months of Vaishakh, Bhādrapad, Kārtik and Māgh are known as ‘Mās-vrat’, that is, monthly vrat.
  2. Paksh-vrat :The Vrats performed in the bright fortnight or dark fortnight are known as ‘Paksh-vrat’, that is, fortnightly vrat.
  3. Tithī-vrat :The vrats performed on the fourth, eleventh, Bhānusaptamī, thirteenth day and on the new moon day as per Hindu lunar almanac are known as ‘Tithī-vrat’, that is, vrat for particular tithīs.
  4. Var-vratThe vrats performed on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday are known as ‘Var-vrat’, that is, vrat for particular days.
  5. Nakshatra-vrat:The vrats observed when the constellations of Shravaṇ, Anurādhā and Rohinī are ruling are known as ‘Nakshatra-vrat’, that is, vrat during constellations.

6.Types of vrats – According to the Deity

In accordance with the Deity of worship, there are Gaṇēsh-vrat, Sūrya-vrat, Shiva-vrat, Vishṇu-vrat and Devī-vrat.

7.Types of vrats – Individual and collective

Most vrats are to be practiced individually. However, Shrīrām Navamī in the month of Chaitra, Shrīkrushṇa Ashtamī in the month of Shrāvaṇ and Gaṇēsh Chaturthī in the month of Bhādrapad are vrats undertaken collectively.

8.Types of vrats – According to the differences, that is, a man and a woman

A majority of vrats can be celebrated by both men and women. However, some vrats like Harītālika and Vata-savitrī are meant only for women.

9.Types of vrats – According to the varna

Some specific vrats are to be practiced only by the royalty, Kshatriyas (Warriors) or Vaishyas (Businessmen).