end to March end.
first to June last.
first to September last.
first to February end.
This is one of the most
popular and colorful festival celebrated in India. It comes when the cold months
give way to the summer. This most joyous festival falls on the full moon day
during the month of Phalguna, sometimes-late March. It is seasonally the time
when bodily humors change markedly, particularly the phlegm - thawing with the
onset of summer. Hence, physiologically people in India, particularly in the
north rave for more sensuous and sensual pleasures with both the sexes longing
Holi is generally associated
with Lord Krishna, who in his childhood and adolescence ran around with his
band of cowherds and maidens of the village. Another story goes like this: the
demon named Hiranyakashyapu wanted all the people to worship him and not Lord
Vishnu. But even his son Prahlad did not follow this. The demons tried all tricks
to kill Prahlad but in vain. At last, Holika, the demon's sister vowed to kill
her nephew. So she sat on a pile of firewood along with her nephew and asked
the demons to set it ablaze. Since she had a boon as to she would not be killed
by fire, she readily did this act, but to everyone's surprise she was killed
but Prahlad was left unscathed, and to commemorate this death of evil, people
started celebrating holi.
Before this day people sort
out all unwanted things to be burnt on Holi day. This "holi" is set ablaze at
a precise "Muhurta" on the eve of the actual holi day called Dhulendi. People
gather around it singing and dancing in Joy on the beat of Dholas and Nagaras.
The next day starts with
the sprinkling of colored waters and powders on one and all. Flowers of the
"flame of the forest" tree are soaked overnight in huge vessels and in the morning
they are strained by big clothes. To impart more color unsoaked raw lime is
added. This color is said to be good for the skin unlike the various spurious
colors that are easily available in the market for Holi. The dress of every
passer-by is ruined, but everyone takes it in a jolly mood.
During these days sweet
homemade cakes called Goojhas are prepared and offered to every guest. Apart
from it "papri", "samosa", kachauris", "kanje ke bari", etc are also prepared.
There is no particular Puja associated with Holi.
Holi for the people is a
festival of joy revelry and of abandonment of all taboos and restrictions: to
forget the innumerable obligations that weigh us down and breathe the air of
This is the most celebrated
festival of the Parsis. Every year on March 21, Navroze is celebrated. It is
considered the Parsi New Year only by one sect of Parsis- the Faslis- but all
Parsis join in the festivities and enjoy themselves and greet each other and
attend the thanks-giving ceremonies at Fire Temples. March 21 is the first day
of the spring and also the vernal equinox of the sun, and therefore a logical
day to celebrate the beginning of yet another year. Hence the name "Navroze"
which literally means the New Day.
The festival was celebrated
as far back as the 6th century BC when Cyrus and Darius ruled over the Persian
Empire. The celebration commences with cleaning the house, seeping out cobwebs,
painting the whole house. New clothes would be ordered for the entire family.
Garlands of roses and jasmine decorate all doors and windows. Steps and thresholds
are marked with beautiful patterns in color powders like "Rangoli".
Food is also an important
component in these celebrations. Parsi food is a blend of West Asian and Indian
style of cooking. "Rava", the popular dish is cooked with Sooji, milk and sugar.
When the mixture thickens, it is flavored with rose water and sprinkled with
grated nutmegs. The other popular breakfast is fried vermicelli, cooked in sugar
syrup and sprinkled with almonds and raisins.
Then they go to the fire
temples for worship where they offer sandalwood sticks to the fire. It is customary
for the Parsis to cover their heads once inside the temples. The children wear
small round caps of gold and silver brocade, while men wear small black velvet
caps. The women pull their sarees over their heads. After the prayers they greet
one another by bear hugs and say "Sal Mubarak"- meaning may the coming year
Visitors to the house that
day are offered sweets and a glass of "Faluda"- a sweet milky drink cooked with
a special type of vermicelli flavored with rose essence and served chilled.
Pulaos rich with saffron, fish steamed in banana leaves, chicken curries with
ground almonds and plain rice and moong dal are considered to be appropriate
lunch for the day.
Growing of wheat in small
earthenware bowls was also an age-old custom of the Parsis. On the 13th day
after the Navroze, they tossed these tiny sprouts of plants into the nearby
water-head, as a means of reverence for the water and greenery.
Bihu is the biggest festival
of the people of the Assam region. This is truly a regional festival, which
brings a sense of solidarity and unity among the people of the Assam region.
It comes thrice a year and marks the changes in the seasons. The first of the
three "Bihus" falls on "Chait Sankranthi". It is called Bihag Bihu or Rangoli
bihu. In fact bihu is a festival to celebrate fertility. Rangoli Bihu is the
most festive and joyful of all the Bihus. Other Bihus are known as Magh Bihu
and Kati Bihu.
The Rangoli Bihu is a Spring
New Year and agriculture festival, all rolled into one. The first day of Rangoli
Bihu is known as Gori Bihu and is reserved for cattle rites. Household cattle
get special attention and they are decorated with colorful garlands of flowers
and given good food. The next day is called "Manuh Bihu". Paying homage to elders
is customary on that day. On this day special meal is prepared with Chivra (flattened
rice), curds and sweets. An attractive feature is the offering of presented
called "Bhiguwan", which consists of a napkin woven by women in the family loom.
The next day is "Gosain Bihu", which is reserved for religious services. The
seventh day has the custom of the people preparing seven types of leafy vegetables
called "SatSak ". Games and sports are also a necessary part of the Bihu celebrations.
Children join them with great fervor.
The harvest festival celebrated
in winter is the Magh Bihu when the crops have been harvested. Feasting forms
the main feature of this Bihu. It is also connected with fire rites and the
lighting of bonfires. On the bihu eve, every household has a special meal of
fish and meat. Groups of young people and children hold community feasts in
temporary structures made of dry hay and bamboo sticks.
The Bihu specialties among
food items are "Chivra"(beaten rice), "Pitha"(rice cakes), "Laru"(sweet balls)
of various kinds. These are eaten as mid-day meals. It is also customary for
the young to get blessings from the older members of the family.
The last of the Bihus is
the "Kati Bihu" which is a one-day celebration. It falls around October- November,
when the paddy crops are yet to mature and the granaries are almost empty. Hence
it is called "Kangali" or Poor Bihu.Naturally there is no feasting on this day.
Special Tulsi Pujas are held on this day.
This is one of the famous
Christian festivals and it is observed on the Friday before Easter. It is celebrated
in March- April to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, who sacrificed
himself for the entire humanity. On this Day, Christians mourn Christ's death
and strictly fast and attend masses in the churches.
also called "Black Friday"- from the vestments of the clergy and the altar in
the western church. One section of Christians call the Good Friday very auspicious
and the other, ominous. Some Christians wear Black clothes to symbolize mourning
and take out a procession with an image of Jesus Christ to the Cemetery belonging
to their church. Dramas depicting the crucifixion of Jesus are enacted in many
places and some churches ring the mourning bell as a mark of respect to the
Easter marks the resurrection
of Jesus Christ. It is a day of great rejoicing and merry-making for the Christians.
This is celebrated between March 22nd and April 25th, on the Sunday following
the full moon. Easter ceremonies correspond to Passover, the Jewish festival
Easter symbolizes the ultimate
victory of good over evil. Feasts are given to the poor and the needy and sweets
are exchanged. Joyous processions are taken out on this day. Edible as also
artificial and hard-boiled eggs are given as gifts on Easter day. In short,
the Christians congregate in large masses in churches and thank Jesus, the savior
of the whole humanity on the occasion of Easter.