Poojas are important events in the lives of Hindu devotees. Even with our fast-paced lives and strict schedules, we try to make time to offer poojas in order to seek God’s blessings and ensure a prosperous life.
During the hottest season (northern hemisphere), if one can perform upavasa without water one is performing a great feat. One may take only caranamrita and acamana water. Bhima requested one vrata day by which he could obtain the fruits of all the other days of vrata that he was incapable of observing. Vyasadeva advised him to follow this difficult vrata. One should worship the Lord in the evening by bathing him in milk.
Every Indian has distinct childhood memories of Holi. Showers of colorful powder, getting doused by colorful water from ‘pichkaris’ and the resounding greetings of ‘Holi Hai’. Marking the end of the cold winter and welcoming the advent of vibrant spring. Indians celebrate this delightful festival of colors everywhere. Holi usually falls on the day after Purnima or full moon in early March every year. There are bursts of different hues all around as people throw ‘gulal’ with great laughter and glee. This unique festival was celebrated from pagan days to usher in good harvests and pay homage to the fertility of the land. There was also an association with legends from the Hindu Puranas, ancient histories of previous ages.
Maha Shivaratri, which literally translates to “great night of Shiva” is a Hindu festival largely celebrated in India as well as in Nepal. The festival is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Maagha according to the Hindu calendar. The day is celebrated to venerate Lord Shiva, an important deity in Hindu culture.
Ganga Sagara Mela celebrates the holy union of the River Ganges with the Bay of Bengal. The festival is celebrated to honor the occasion of King Bhagiratha bringing down the River Ganges from the heavens above to join with the oceanic waters of planet earth. This festival of confluence is celebrated on the sacred day of Maha Sankranti. This is when the sun starts moving away from the Tropic of Capricorn towards the northern hemisphere.
Goddess Saraswati’s birthday is celebrated every year as Saraswati Puja, on the 5th day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Magha. The festival honors the Supreme Deity of Wisdom and Learning and is also known as Vasant Panchami or Shree Panchami, the welcoming of spring time. Thus, this auspicious day has of religious, seasonal and social meaning. It is celebrated with tremendous enthusiasm in homes, schools, colleges, and temples alike. The epitome of knowledge and consciousness, Goddess Saraswati is also considered the mother of the Vedas. Her chants known as Saraswati Vandana often start and conclude Vedic teachings.
Vasant Panchami is an important Indian festival celebrated every year in the month of Magh according to the Hindu calendar. Celebrated on the fifth day of Magh, the day falls somewhere in the months of February or March according to the Gregorian calendar. The significance of the day lies in the worship of Goddess Saraswati, symbol of wisdom and also the onset of spring season.
Lord Ram then ordered, “Matali, drive quickly to where Ravan is staying, but at the same time be very cautious.” Then, remembering that He was speaking to Indra’s charioteer, Lord Ram felt embarrassed and so He apologized, “I am very sorry to have instructed you as if I were your master. It is just that I am eager to kill Ravan, so please excuse My offense.”
This falls on the 13th (or 14th) day of the dark half of Phalgun (February-March). The name means “the night of Shiva”. The ceremonies take place chiefly at night. This is a festival observed in honour of Lord Shiva. Shiva was married to Parvati on this day.
On this day, the great night of the Lord Shiva, devotees stay awake throughout the night offering prayers to Lord Shiva. They offer special food made from the fruits of the season, root vegetables and coconut to the Lord. Special celebrations are held in some of the major Shiva temples at Varanasi, Kalahasti (Andhra Pradesh) and Chidambaram (Tamil Nadu).