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Indian Festivals - Printable Version
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Indian Festivals - Printable Version

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Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-04-2004

<b>Festival Lohri</b>
Lohri marks the culmination of winter, and is celebrated on the 13th day of January in the month of Paush or Magh, a day before Makar Sankranti. For Punjabis, this is more than just a festival, it is also an example of a way of life. Lohri celebrates fertility and the spark of life. People gather round the bonfires, throw sweets, puffed rice and popcorn into the flames, sing popular songs and exchange greetings.

An extremely auspicious day, Lohri marks the sun's entry in to the 'Makar Rashi' (northern hemisphere). The period, beginning from 14 January lasting till 14 July, is known as Uttarayan. It is also the last day of the month of Maargazhi, the ninth month of the lunar calendar. The Bhagawad Gita deems it an extremely sacred and auspicious time, when Lord Krishna manifests himself most tangibly. And so, across India, people celebrate the month and the prodigious harvest it brings - Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Bihu in Assam, Bhogi in Andhra Pradesh and the Sankranti in Karnataka, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The focus of Lohri is on the bonfire. The traditional dinner with makki ki roti and sarson ka saag is quintessential. The prasad comprises of five main things: til, gazak, gur, moongphali, phuliya and popcorn. There is puja, involving parikrama around the fire and distribution of prasad. This symbolises a prayer to Agni, the spark of life, for abundant crops and prosperity.

It is also the one day when the womenfolk and children get attention. The first Lohri of a bride is extremely important. The first Lohri of a newborn baby, whether a girl or a boy, is also equally important. Children go from door to door singing and asking for the Lohri prasad.

Children go from door to door singing popular Lohri Song and asking for the Lohri prasad (old furniture, cash for bonefire <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo--> )
Sunder mundriya …ho Tera kaun vichara..ho Dulla Bhatti walla…ho Dulle ne ti iahiyi…ho Saer Shakar payi…ho Kudi de boje payee…


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-04-2004

<b>Pongal</b>
Pongal is an important festival in India, and we pray to the Sun God on this occasion. In North India, it is known as Sankaranthi. The sun is very powerful and helps in the growth of the paddy and other plantations. So this festival is very important for farmers and so it is celebrated in a grand manner in villages. The house is cleaned, and all maintanance jobs are done before this festival. During the four day festival, different varieties of Rangoli are drawn in front of the houses early in the morning.

<b>Bhogi</b>
The celebrations start on the last day of Margazhi, which is known as "Bhogi". On this day, we get up very early in the morning, take head bath. We place all the trash in front of the house and inflame it. We dispose old and useless things from our house and replace with new ones. Then we draw rangoli in front of the houses.

<b>Pongal</b>
Reaping of paddy is done. Using the new rice, the recipe "pongal" is made and offered to God. The sun God moves in chariot driven by seven horses.A picture of the chariot is drawn in an open space when the sun arrives. A small sun is drawn at the center of the chariot. We place turmeric sprigs and sugarcane in the pooja and pooja is done onto the chariot. Then the dishes are offered to God. Once the pooja is over, everyone in the house takes a small amount of Pongal and sprinkles all over the house, saying "Pongalo Pongal". This is done as a prayer to God to bless their houses.

<b>Maatu Pongal</b>
The next day is maattu Pongal - pongal for the cows. Cows are worshipped on this day. Milk suppliers decorate the cows. They paint the horns, apply colours and tie clothes on the cows. Then they take the cows to all the houses.

<b>Kaanum Pongal</b>
People go out for places and enjoy this day. This is a day to spend time and entertainment outside.

<b>What is Pongal? </b>
http://nyny.essortment.com/whatispongal_rjgj.htm

http://members.tripod.com/~jap5/hindufestivals/pongal.html
<b>Pongal - The four day harvest festival of Tamil Nadu</b>


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-04-2004

<b>Bihu </b>
Bihu is the greatest festival of Assamese people. It is secular in concept because it is intimately connected with agriculture. There are three bihus that come off at various stages of the cultivation of paddy , the principal crop of Assam. Bahag (Baisakh) Bihu, Kati (Kartika) Bihu, and Magh (bihu). At the first stage, the cultivators start preparing the fields; at the second stage young paddy seedlings, after transplantation, begin to grow; at the third stage; the harvest has been gathered. Bohag Bihu is the most important of the three. It is also popularly called Rangali Bihu (bihu of merriment). The festival begins on the last day of Chaitra. This Sankranti day is meant for cattle, in the early hours of the morning cows are taken out for washing in the nearest ponds and rivers.

On the first day of this Bihu, which is meant for the cows, in the early hours of the morning cows are taken out for washing in the nearest ponds and 'Beels'. With the help of a small three pronged shaped Bamboo implement, brinjals and water gourd are cut into pieces and hurled at the cows. Other vegetables like bitter gourd, turmeric and Thekera (the gamboze fruit) are also used. These implement are interchanged with others to ward off the evil. Later in the evening when the cows return home they are tied to new Pogha (rope for tying cow) and the shed is filled with smoke to prevent any evil. Cows are indispensible for cultivation and thus such treatment on the special day. Another important ritual of this day is that ladies and girls apply henna and mehendi on their hands and feet. Mehendi (localley known as Jetuka) is a way of bringing colour to life, apart form is medicinal properties. Manuh Bihu follows Goru Bihu when people visit relatives and exchange Gamochas (a kind of towel woven in cotton). Bihuwan or this Gamocha is a symbol of dignity in Assamese society. Jalpaan, a special food item, is an important part of Bihu. Chira-Doi (flat rice made out of parched half boiled paddy and curds), Aakhoi (fried paddy or Indian corn etc.) Gur (raw or unrefined sugar; molasses), Sandahguri (wet rice parched and pounded into lumps ) etc. mainly comprise the Jalpaan. Pithas or rice cakes wich are parts of the Assamese delicacy add richness to the feast. Bohag Bihu is the time when people sort out their differences. Hunsari is an integral part of Bohag Bihu. Hunsari constitutes a team which has an elderly member who leads the other members of the team with men and boys, who go and sing Bihu songs at the houses of every person in the village. The team makes a visit first to the most revered person in the village. The Hunsari team is generally presented with Seleng Chadar (this cloth wrapped round the body), flowery Gamochas or flowery, colourful towels and a silver coin or so. This is the householders' way of according them respect. The money collected from Hunsari singing is used for development works like building of a library, a naamghar etc. People also have community feasts with the money collected in this manner. It is a time honoured custom to offer Tamol-Paan or betel nuts to the Hunsari Dol in Bohag Bihu.

Bihu folk dance is a separate item performed by both young men and women. The songs sung are mostly folk tune based and are related to love. Games like bull-fight, cock-fight, arm wrestling are popular. During Ahom rule these games ware held in the fields close to Ranghar taking on the character of Olympiad held in Greece in ancient times. The last day of Bihu is called Chera Bihu. It is a tradition to eat Pita Bhaat (cooked rice soaked in water overnight and consumed the next day) and curds. Hand fans are used for the first time during the year heralding the advent of spring. The Assamese in villages bid farewell to Bihu in a traditional manner. After seven days or eleven days of the Chera Bihu a group of young people go and pay their respects in the Naamghar with a Sarai (tray with a stand) of Tample-Paan and Gamocha to formally wind up the Bihu festival. Then they go to a big tree near the village and put the Bihuwan on one of its branches and then leave an instrument used in the 'Bihu Utsav', thus symbolically bidding farewell to that year's Bihu.

<b>Kaati Bihu</b>

Towards the end of Aahin (sixth month of the Assamese calender) month the farmers' labour brings forth the golden glow on the ripe grain. In the month of Assamese calender) following Aahin, the farmer gets ready to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. It is done by lighting chakis (earthen lamps) under the Tulsi (black basil) plant. Kaati Bihu is the time when the granary is empty hence lending the name Kangali Bihu. The granary is also adorned with an earthen lamp so as the auger a full granary throughout the coming months. There is another custom of lighting an earthen lamp the departed one's soul to the other world. This earthen lamp is also called Aakash Banti. Parallel to this Bihu, the festival of Deepavali is also celebrated, with the lighted diyas dispelling the darkness.

<b>Maagh Bihu</b>
It is observed to celebrate the harvesting of grain. It is usually held on the 14th and 15th of January (1st and 2nd Maagh, the tenth month of Assamese calender).
The first day is called Uruka, when people build a temporary shed and have feast. Four bamboo rods are placed beside the four post and then a Meji (a pile or column on split fire-wood or straw erected for burning in the early morning of the Maagh Bihu is built in the shape of a temple in a conical shape. In the early hours of the next day people take bath and after the Meji is lighted, the pay their respect and the Bihu is officially started. The ashes of the burnt Meji is scattered over the fields, for it is believed that doing so would increase the fertility of the soil. Delicacies like pithas are served together with Jalpaan. Various kinds of potatoes (Kaath Aloo, Mitha Aloo etc. ) are also eaten on this day. Many games are also played keeping the spirit of the Bihu alive.


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-04-2004

<b>Makara Sankranti </b>
This holy day marks the commencement of the Sun's northern course in the Heavens, known as the Uttaraayana patha. This turn in the Sun's course takes place at the point of time when it enters the sign of Makara or Capricorn.

Interestingly, this is the only festival in Hindu calendar that follows a solar calendar and is celebrated on the fourteenth of January every year (all other Hindu festivals are computed using the lunar calendar). Sankranti is termed as Pongal in Tamilnadu, and is celebrated with a popular dish with the same name. Kolams (Rangoli) and prayers constitute the celebration of the festival. People buy new clothes, ornaments, sugarcane and sweet candy for the festival. The farmers worship their harvested crops and share with friends and relatives. Women and young girls wear new clothes, wear golden and silver ornaments, volunteer different flowers and visit their relatives and friends.

In different parts of India, the Sankranti is celebrated very differently. On the Western parts, the emphasis is on exchanging Til-Gu rwhich is a specialty of Konkani/Marathi women. It comprises sugar coated sesame seeds and nuts of different colors prepared by the housewives. In some other parts, exchange a mixture of teel, jaggery, fried gram, groundnuts (peanuts) which is called "Ellu Bella.". Along with sweets, flowers, bangles, dry fruits, sugarcane, sugar cadies are also exchanged.

In Mysore region, people decorate their houses and cattle. They also worship their crop and cattle. As part of the celebration they take part in singing and dancing. In northern India, people turn out in large numbers on the banks of rivers and lakes to take baths on the auspicious occasion; later they visit temples and offer prayers, indulging in daan (offerings) to the poor.
In Hindu mythology it is believed that a person dying on this auspicious day directly goes to the heaven. Bhishma, the veteran warrior in the epic, Mahabharata, is said to have waited for this day to breathe his last. It is also on this day every twelve years the Great Kumbh-Mela is held at Prayag.
Pongal is the most popular festival of the Tamilians. A harvest festival honoring the Sun God and the lord of rains, Indra, Pongal also symbolizes a thanks-giving festival for the plentiful paddy crops that the farmer has harvested during the mild winter months in South India.


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-04-2004

yes mudy! i am a tamilian and i love pongal <!--emo&:guitar--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/guitar.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='guitar.gif' /><!--endemo-->


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-04-2004

<!--QuoteBegin-k.ram+Jan 4 2004, 10:44 AM-->QUOTE(k.ram @ Jan 4 2004, 10:44 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> yes mudy! i am a tamilian and i love pongal  <!--emo&:guitar--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/guitar.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='guitar.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
U r a tamil, from where chennai?? <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->


Indian Festivals - Hauma Hamiddha - 01-04-2004

<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Jan 3 2004, 06:17 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Jan 3 2004, 06:17 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> A harvest festival honoring the Sun God and the lord of rains, Indra, Pongal also symbolizes a thanks-giving festival for the plentiful paddy crops that the farmer has harvested during the mild winter months in South India. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Pongal actually means to swell or rise- the rising of milk on heating.

A sweet dish called sharakara annam or socca (shakra) annam or ventan (devendra) annam is made for indra while a salty dish called ghR^ita annam or churiya annam is made for surya. They are very tasty with the appropriate amounts of ghee and right pickles to go with them.

I recall there were some native tamil names for them that I forget.


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-04-2004

thats should be sakira pongal=sharakara annam, but whats churiya annam??=white pongal?


Indian Festivals - Sunder - 01-04-2004

<!--QuoteBegin-rhytha+Jan 4 2004, 01:03 PM-->QUOTE(rhytha @ Jan 4 2004, 01:03 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> thats should be sakira pongal=sharakara annam, but whats churiya annam??=white pongal? <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
HH is right Pongal-O-Pongal is the milk rising. It also signifies the abundance after a bumper harvest.. (Pongum vaazkkai.)

Sarkarai-p-pongal is the sweet rice. Sharkarai (sugar) is borrowed word from samskritham - the actual sweet item added in those days were VELLAM - Jaggary..

Ven-p-pongal (Veluppu-p-pongal) is the white pongal. I have heard about Surya-p-pongal but not as a dish.. The three days of tamil pongal is 1) Bhogi-p-pongal, 2) Surya-p-pongal and 3) Mattu-p-pongal or Kanu-p-pongal.

Mattu-p-pongal involves Jalli-k-kattu. An event unique to Tamil Nadu (unless some other province practise it) where veera mara-t-thamizhargal wrestle with a Kangeyam-b-Bull with bare hands and subdue it - unlike the matador Jallikkattu does not harm the bull though many men may be injured. (now a days I see weak calves kannu-k-kutty instead of bulls.) <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

In Andhra, the Shankaranti is greeted with Rangoli-muggu, and haridasu with his tanpura singing songs.. also miss the guys parading their Gangireddu (decorated bulls.) Not to mention the Burra-katha... the lost arts of yesteryears.


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-04-2004

Folks, No discussion of food is allowed <!--emo&:devil--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/devilsmiley.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='devilsmiley.gif' /><!--endemo--> unless you guys can get me some of that delicious dishes Fedex'd! <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:drool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/drool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='drool.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-04-2004

<!--QuoteBegin-rhytha+Jan 4 2004, 12:15 PM-->QUOTE(rhytha @ Jan 4 2004, 12:15 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> <!--QuoteBegin-k.ram+Jan 4 2004, 10:44 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(k.ram @ Jan 4 2004, 10:44 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> yes mudy! i am a tamilian and i love pongal  <!--emo&:guitar--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/guitar.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='guitar.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
U r a tamil, from where chennai?? <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Rytha,

Orginally, my grand parents were from Kanchipuram.

Now I am in US. Thinking of going back to India/TN though. <!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo-->


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-05-2004

<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Jan 3 2004, 07:17 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Jan 3 2004, 07:17 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> In different parts of India, the Sankranti is celebrated very differently. On the Western parts, the emphasis is on exchanging Til-Gu rwhich is a specialty of Konkani/Marathi women. It comprises sugar coated sesame seeds and nuts of different colors prepared by the housewives. In some other parts, exchange a mixture of teel, jaggery, fried gram, groundnuts (peanuts) which is called "Ellu Bella.". Along with sweets, flowers, bangles, dry fruits, sugarcane, sugar cadies are also exchanged.   
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I've seen in northern parts of Karnataka, kids go aross the neighborhood collecting <i>til-gul</i> - something very similar to kids in US going trick-or-treating during Halloween.

Another observation about Sankranthi. I think the day marks the beginning of the kite flying season for kids in Mumbai (others can correct me - I could be mistaken here). Also for those who make the annual trip to Sabarimala in Kerala, this Sankranti day is the most auspicious one where they do all the big-finale puja.

PS: Mudy - Thanks for starting this thread.


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-05-2004

Indian Festivals - 2004 Calendar


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-13-2004

All this talk of pongal makes me very homesick

For me pongal was the biggest and most important festival , coming from a farming background.

there is also a tradition of eating sugarcanes on the occasion

and the debates (patti manram) in TV with solomon paappaiya as the judge

then the sarkarai pongal and ven pongal and the sweets etc.

then the relatives from various places..

regarding Jallikattu , it is more famous in the southern TN districts.

big bulls will be set free with money or gold on their necks and if u can subdue it with bare hands , it is yours.

the crowd will be heavy and the bulls would be bred for this purpose alone. it will be a carnage and deaths occur regularly . some or other poor bystander will be caught by the bulls horns.. but still the crowds increase every year and the popularity of the festival has not diminished in any way.

Kamal Hassan has this scene in his upcoming film "Virumaandi" . <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-14-2004

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Interestingly, this is the only festival in Hindu calendar that follows a solar calendar and is celebrated on the fourteenth of January every year (all other Hindu festivals are computed using the lunar calendar). Sankranti is termed as Pongal in Tamilnadu, and is celebrated with a popular dish with the same name.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Happy Sankranti and (a hearty and tasty) Pongal to everybody. I plan to make some ... <!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-14-2004

<img src='http://egreetings.indiatimes.com/egreet/images/lang_english/makar_sankranti/01.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-15-2004

Happy Pongal to one and all !!!!!!!!!


Indian Festivals - Guest - 01-19-2004

Pongal Festival a Success in Rawang
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/MM/Frid.../20040116114548

RAWANG, MALAYSIA, January 16, 2004: Sweet success was spelt on the lips
of all the participants in the People's Pongal festival at Sekolah
Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil Rawang in Malaysia on January 15. The
participants filled 1,001 earthen pots with freshly-cooked sweet Pongal
rice. More importantly, their very presence tripled the size of last
year's Malaysia Book of Records entry for the Largest Malaysian Pongal
Festival. The guests of honor, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu
and his wife Datin Seri Indrani, beamed with pride over what the 1,001
Malaysians -- Indian, Malay and Chinese -- achieved through sheer
teamwork. They commended the crowd for displaying the true Malaysian
spirit of cooperation, or gotong-royong. Organizing chairman P.
Kamalanathan said "Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, took
part." The event, organized by the Malaysian Indian Fest, was presented
by Beras Jati, Peace Cola, and endorsed by the Malaysia Book of
Records. It was cosponsored by Tamil Nesan, Selayang MIC Youth,
Haigreva Systems And Solutions, Veenai Holdings, Persatuan Peniaga
Video India Malaysia and Perniagaan Tunas Daya.


Indian Festivals - Guest - 02-19-2004

It's Mahashivratri


Indian Festivals - Hauma Hamiddha - 02-19-2004

Hope all have a good long night with shivarAtri.
The day is uttarAShADa and the year is subhAnu in the 6o year Jupiter cycle.

A simple shivarAtri protocol for beginners

We observe a more complex rite based on the bodhAyana mahAnyAsa.