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Indian Festivals
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Nov 23 2004, 02:47 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Nov 23 2004, 02:47 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Holi is on Friday, March 25 - 2005. (Color) <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Thanks Mudy
Wish you all Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti.
(535th birth anniversary of Guru)
Today was Tulsi Vivaha. I know its celebrated in Guj and parts of North India. Not sure about other parts..

Added later : Sorry meant to say our local temple celebrated it today - it actually falls on ekadashi .. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-rajesh_g+Nov 29 2004, 12:47 AM-->QUOTE(rajesh_g @ Nov 29 2004, 12:47 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Today was Tulsi Vivaha. I know its celebrated in Guj and parts of North India. Not sure about other parts..
Is pretty common in Mumbai and some parts of Karnataka. Sugar cane is used to decorate the tusli. Remember Tusli puja day as the last day to exhaust any left over fire crackers from Diwali.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Is pretty common in Mumbai and some parts of Karnataka. Sugar cane is used to decorate the tusli. Remember Tusli puja day as the last day to exhaust any left over fire crackers from Diwali. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

In Karnataka, it is celebrated on dwadashi, and it is called "UthThana Dwadashi" or "Tulasi Habba"( tulsi festival). A couple of crackers is burst in front of the tulsi plant. And as viren said, any left over crackers from deepavali is burst on this day. Usually, a couple of crackers would be kept aside on Deepavali for this festival.
BTW we usually have 'parents' for Krishna as also Tulsi. Same thing in Maharashtra and elsewhere ?

The last firecrackers in Guj go off on Dev Diwali which falls a fortnight after Diwali,
Unique celebration of Sita wedding in Nepal
Thousands worship at Srirangam temple
Came via email:

<b>PONGAL </b>
The festival of Pongal falls in the month of January after the winter solistice and as such this Pongal festival marks the favourable course of the Sun. It is a three-day festival and the fourth day is a day for outdoors and excursions.

"May the pot of prosperity boil over
May the Pongal that we cook,
the fragrance of turmeric
the taste of sugarcane, ginger and honey
Bring the joy of Pongal into our homes
May the blessings of the Sun God flood our lives.

With many other verses like this, the people of Tamil Nadu greet the great festival of Pongal celebrated all over the South as Makara Sankranti. In Tamil Nadu it has an additional significance as Pongal welcomes the occasion of the incoming harvest. In North India, it is known as Sankaranthi.

The first day is celebrated as the BHOGI PONGAL and is usually meant for domestic activities and of being together with the family members. This first day is celebrated in honour of Lord Indra, the supreme ruler of clouds that give rains. Homage is paid to Lord Indra for the abundance of harvest, thereby bringing plenty and prosperity to the land.

An interesting story is told that Indra, being worshipped by all on this day, became proud and arrogant Lord Krishna to teach him a lesson asked his shepherd friends to worship Mount Govardhan instead of Indra on Bhogi Pongal day. Terribly enraged, Indra sent forth the seven clouds to bring forth thunder, lightning and heavy rains to cause deluge to destroy the shepherds. But Lord Krishna lifted up the Govardhan mountain under which the shepherds and their cattle got full shelter. Then Indra begged Krishna's forgiveness and once more Lord Krishna allowed Bhogi celebrations to continue in honour of Indra. There is a beautiful carving at Mahabalipuram showing Krishna lifting Govardhan.

On this day before sunrise a huge bonfire is lit in front of the houses and all the useless household things are thrown into the fire. The burning of all that is old is symbolic of the starting of a fresh new year. The bonfire is kept burning throughout the night while boys beat little drums known by the name "Bhogi Kottus".

On the Bhogi day, it is the occasion to take an oil bath before sunrise for the girls and women and worship the family deities, especially Sun. The family cleans up the whole house, getting rid of all the useless things by throwing them into a bonfire that is lit before sunrise. This symbolizes a new beginning by getting rid of the old. Boys beat their little drums called Bhogi Kottus. The girls draw the most colorful Kolams( Rangoli) and decorate them with dungballs called gobillu. Then they dance around the kolam with intricate steps. In villages yellow pumpkin flowers are set out in cow-dung balls in the middle of the designs. The harvest of rice, turmeric and sugarcane is brought in and kept ready for the next day's festivities.

The second day of Pongal is known as SURYA PONGAL or THAI PONGAL and is dedicated to the Sun God. On this day the granaries are full, sun shines brightly, trees are in full bloom, bird-songs resound in the air and hearts overflow with happiness that get translated into colourful and joyous celebrations. A plank is placed on the ground and Kolam designs are drawn on its sides. In the centre of the plank is drawn a large figure of the Sun God with his effulgent rays. The "Puja" of the Sun God starts after the auspicious moment of the birth of the new month THAI. Prayers are rendered to the Sun God to seek his benedictions.

The word `Pongal' literally has two connotations. Firstly it is the name of the special dish cooked on this day and secondly the word "Ponga" means "boil". So the word 'Pongal' means that which is overflowing. The preparation of this special dish needs a new mud-pot called Pongapani on which artistic designs are drawn. The village fair where these pots of different shapes and designs are sold is truly an aesthetic treat for the eyes to behold as also the specially set up colourful sugarcane market. While the `Puja' is being performed, the neck of the Pongapani is tied with fresh turmeric and fresh ginger saplings with tender green leaves. The green leaves are symbolic of prosperity, the turmeric of auspiciousness, ginger for the spice of life. The special dish called "Sarkkarai Pongal" is cooked in this mud-pot. After the rituals of puja are over "Sarkkarai Pongal" with sticks of sugarcane is offered to the Sun god as a thanksgiving for the plentiful harvest. Sugarcane that is offered is symbolic for sweetness and happiness in life. It is said that on this day Lord Sundareshwar in the Madurai temple performed a miracle and breathed life into a stone elephant that could eat sugarcane. The carving of this event is in Meenakshi temple. From this month of THAI starts the marriage season in Tamil Nadu.

The THIRD day is MATTU PONGAL which is the festival of cattle. To the village people cow, the giver of milk and the bull which draws the plough in the fields are very valuable and therefore the farmers honour their dumb friends by celebrating it as a day of thanks-giving to them. The cattle are washed, their horns are painted and covered with shining metal caps. Multi-coloured beads, tinkling bells, sheafs of corn and flower garlands are tied around their necks. They are fed with pongal and taken to the village centres. The resounding of their bells attract the villagers as the young men race each other's cattle. The entire atmosphere becomes festive and full of fun and revelry. Big commotion is seen when the game "Manji Virattu" starts in which groups of young men chase the running bulls.

In some places "Jallikattu" is arranged. It is a bull-fight in which money bags are tied to the horns of ferocious bulls and unarmed young men are asked to wrest them from the bull's horns. On the Mattu Pongal day Lord Ganesh and Goddess Parvati are worshipped and Pongal is offered to them in the `puja'.

This day is also known by the name of Kaanum Pongal when coloured balls of cooked rice are placed in the open air by girls for the birds and crows to eat. With each ball of rice that the sister makes she prays for her brother's happiness and the brothers and sisters wherever they may be remember each other. This festival is reminiscent of Raksha Bandhan. In some places Kaanum Pongal is celebrated on the fourth day, the day after Mattu Pongal.

Community dinners are also held when rich and poor, the landlord and the peasant, the old and the young, women and children all dine together forgetting the distinction of caste or class. All share in the spirit of fonhomic.

In Kerala “Makara Vilakku” festival is celebrated on Makara Sankranthi day at Sabarimala temple. It is the most important festival at Sabarimala temple. It is a seven-day festival commencing on the day of Makara Sankranthi, the day on which the sun is in summer solstice. It was on this auspicious day, the idol of Dharma Sastha was enshrined in the temple. The annual celebration of Makara Vilakku is commemorative of this sacred event. Thousands and thousands of devotees go to Sabarimala during this time to witness the peerless phenomenon, the appearance of 'Makarajyothi " a spectacular scene which leaves an indelible impression in the hearts of the devotees. On seeing this celestial splendor, in the midst of the spontaneous cries of 'Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa' from millions of throats, one experiences a rare feeling of ecstasy and a unique sense of accomplishment.

Pongal is a festival when God is praised with a simple faith and sincerity. Old vices are all washed out and all that is good is welcomed in this New year. This festival is of all living things, of man, his beast and his crop and of the birds that fly in the sky making man look up to the heaven in joy and thankfulness to God for everything that He gives to man specially peace and happiness and the feeling of brotherhood.

Wish you all a very happy Pongal.
Jan 14th is celebrated as Uttarayan. In gujarat (and ahmedabad in particular) on this day it is considered as kite-flying day. Boy and how .. <!--emo&:blink:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blink.gif' /><!--endemo-->

I used to prepare for this right after diwali. Suddenly after diwali you will find street corners being occupied with people who "colour the thread". The "coloring" process is basically applying a coat of mixture that consists of color, egg, water, glass (god only knows what). Threads could be different kinds too. Thicker, thinner and so on.. Colored threads from Bareily are considered very good. There is a mkt for kites where one can pick up the latest cool kites.

The begins the practice period. Every evening I would go home and fly kites. At times there would be nobody else but me. Then idiots like me will look for fellow-idiots and practice kite-fighting (?). I am not going to even to try explain this one but very briefly you try and cut the thread of the other guy's kite. On success, you are allowed a full-blown battle cry. If you have seen Hum-Dil-De-Chuke-Sanam and heard "kapyo che" song you will know what i am talking about.

Wily characters (never me) also employ shady techniques like tying 2 small stones at two ends of a thread. Then when some guy has his kite really deep into sky, when one is good at it, one can throw the thread-with-2-stones so that it gets entangled with the other guy's thread. The weight of the stone will bring the kite down. Some sadistic guys(not me) derive immense pleasure from this. Some bania-types just waiting for this oppurunity cut the kite (which is probably still flying) along with lots of thread and keep both of them.

Night time is time to fly white kites. And what we call tukkals. A tukkal is like a lamp, except its made of paper, and there is a small candle-stick in the lamp. When your kite is sufficietly "deep" (?) you can tie these lamps to your thread. People tie as many as 10-15 and its an awesome sight. But wait its not that boring. When you decide to fly tukkals you need a couple of guys flying tukkal-less kites to protect yours. A big kite with tukkal is taken as a challenge by some who walk a long ways and try and sneak in their kite and cut the tukkal-wali kite. Doing this can result in immense pleasure resulting in sleepless nights... <!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Anyways all this practice goes on till uttarayan, when people stay all night tieing a piece of thread to the kite's structure. I wont bore you with the details. Suffice to say it takes a minute or two per kite. And some guys dont want to waste time doing this while they could be flying kites.. <!--emo&:o--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ohmy.gif' /><!--endemo-->

On the day of Uttarayan, people start early. Like 5AM. Everybody goes on their terraces along with their sound systems with microphones. Some even rent them. And probably the only day you can start your day without "sujalam suphalam" and with "jumma chumma de de" - one eye on the kite and the other on the girl next door. This goes on whole day and night and people eat Undhiyoo (recipe in cuisine thread) and khichado and chikki. By evening cool guys have started doing ishara to girl next door. Obsessed guys are more interested in kites onlee (not me). Night brings out the tukkal-flying skills as explained above.

Night time is also the window of oppurtunity to get rid of the leftover firecrackers from diwali. UNLESS if there is an Ind-Pak cricket series coming.

If you are living in an area which has both hindus and muslims, you can safely multiply the fun times 10. <!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->

That was a hilarious description of kite flying. In my childhood, I have seen similar kite cutting contests. I too used to fly kites once in a while, but kite flying was strongly dicouraged by my father. I mostly remember the vicarious joys of this sport.

I don't think why India-forum couldn't host some articles on such festivities. Yours could be worth an article with some effort.
Ashok Kumar,

I am not much of writer. Its just my emotion thats showing in the post.. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Boy I miss Uttarayan. Small anecdote. I was in 5th grade/standard then. The other activity that goes hand in hand with kite flying is catching kites that have been cut by others. Especially in old walled city where all homes are attached to each other with common walls - this involved jumping, running on 5 inch wide walls, hanging, etc - i mean real skill. Nearly all kids (including 55 year old ones) claim to be experts at this. Anyway one fine day I was engaged in this fun activity when I didnt notice that the 5 inch wall I was running on had ended. I was running a fever (103F IIRC) so maybe I was not at my best. Came straight down from the top of a 4 storey building.. I quickly ran up to the terrace fearing my father would beat the cr@p out of me. Except the neighbour had noticed and I was quickly taken to the hospital where I stayed for an excruciatingly long 15 days. Worst part, friends (if i can call them that) coming along with their parents and describing (in full glory) how they caught one kite that was 10ft*10ft. *sigh*
The special charm of Palani
Hindus Nationwide Observe Thaipusam Tuesday

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 (Bernama) -- Hindus in the country observe the annual Thaipusam festival Tuesday, with many devotees fulfilling their vows made to Lord Muruga for helping them recover from illness, blessing them with a child, and so on.

The festival is observed in many temples throughout the country but large-scale celebrations are held at the Sri Subramaniyar temple in Batu Caves, Selangor, the hilltop Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga, Penang, and the Sri Subramaniar (Kallumalai) temple in Gunung Cheroh, Ipoh.

The Thaipusam festival is usually held over three days. One day prior to the actual date, a chariot bearing the deity Lord Muruga is taken in a procession to the temple where devotees will fulfil their vows.

After devotees fulfil their vows by carrying the "kavadi" and "paal kudam" (milk pots), the chariot bearing Lord Muruga is taken back in a procession on the third day.

In KUALA LUMPUR, the silver chariot bearing the deity Lord Muruga went in a procession today from the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Jalan Tun HS Lee to the Sri Subramaniyar temple in Batu Caves, leaving at 4 am and arriving at its destination at 2 pm.

The procession, over a distance of 15 km, was joined by more than 10,000 people walking behind the chariot.

Many of the devotees will stay on at Batu Caves to join in tomorrow's celebrations. It is estimated that more than 1.2 million people are expected there Tuesday.

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who is MIC President, is expected to address the devotees Monday night.

In PENANG, more than 10,000 devotees are expected to smash coconuts in fulfilling their vows to Lord Muruga.

Hundreds of thousands of coconuts were smashed by Hindu devotees and members of the Chinese community today throughout the 10-km route taken by the chariot bearing the deity Lord Muruga from Lebuh Penang to the hilltop Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani temple.

Fifty Hindu devotees carried the "Mayil Kavadi" (Peacock Kavadi) during the procession.

The deity of Lord Muruga was taken in procession via Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Victoria, Jalan Megazine, Jalan Dato Keramat and Jalan Utama to the Nattukottai Chettiar temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga.

Tomorrow, the "kavadi" bearers will be joined by more than 500,000 Hindus and local and foreign tourists at the hilltop Arulmigu Balathandayuthabani temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga.

Some 105 "Thannir Panthal" (drinks stalls) offering free food and drinks have been set up along Jalan Utama towards Jalan Kebun Bunga.

The Penang Municipal Council has deployed 200 workers to scoop up and dispose the anticipated 25 tonnes of smashed coconuts.

In IPOH, several major roads in the city will be closed in stages during the three days from Monday to facilitate the chariot and "kavadi" processions.

Ipoh Deputy OCPD Supt Che Sab Hanafiah said the roads affected Monday were Jalan Sungai Pari, Jalan Tun Perak, Jalan Lahat, Jalan Sultan Yusof, Jalan Sultan Idris Shah and the roundabout in front of Ipoh Hospital.

The roads to be closed in stages on Wednesday were Jalan Raja Musa Aziz, Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, Jalan Sultan Yusof, Jalan Lahat, Jalan Tun Perak, Jalan Buntong and Jalan Sungai Pari, he told reporters.

Che Sab said about 100,000 Hindu devotees were expected to converge in Ipoh to observe the festival.

About 100 traffic policemen would be deployed for traffic control during the festival, he added.

-- BERNAMA<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I was in Singapore and first time saw Singaporean Tamils celebrating Thaipusam festival. I was shocked and distrubed to see pierce bodies in parade/Yatra.
Link to Pictures of Thaipusam festival in Sinapore
Come via email..


> Lohri (J&K; Punjab etc.) Mon Dec 20 (2004)
> Udagayana;Makara Sankranti Tue Dec 21 (2004)
> Shishira Ritu; ; Tapah; Uttarayana Tue Dec 21 (2004)
> Pongal, Magha & Shishir Sankranti Tue Dec 21 (2004)
> Tai Pongal Tue Dec 21 (2004)
> Magha Krishna Paksha starts Mon Dec 27 (2004)

> Mauni Amavasya Mon Jan 10, 2005
> Magha Shukla Paksha starts Tue Jan 11
> TapasyaTonguehalguna; Kumbha Sanktanti Thu Jan 20 (4h 51m)
> Maghi Purnima Tue Jan 25
> Phalguna Krishna Paksha starts Wed Jan 26

> Horashtami (Huriatham-Kmr.) Wed Feb 2
> Mahashivratri (Kmr.--Herathtruvah) Sun Feb 6
> Mahashivratri Mon Feb 7
> Shiv Chaturdashi (Kmr.) Mon Feb 7
> Phalguna Shukla Paksha starts Wed Feb 9
> Vasanta Ritu; Madhu;Mina Sankranti Fri Feb 18 (19h 11m)
> Sont-Thali(Kmr);Chaitra/Kharmas st.Fri Feb 18
> Holika Dahan Wed Feb 23
> Holi, Dulehri Thu Feb 24
> Chaitra Krishna Paksha starts Fri Feb 25

> Vasanti Navratra;Navreh(Kmr);Ugadi Fri Mar 11
> Chaitra Shukla paksha starts Fri Mar 11
> Vasanta Panchami Tue Mar 15
> Durga Ashtami Fri Mar 18
> Rama Navmi Sat Mar 19
> Maha Vishuv (Vernal Equinox) Sun Mar 20 (18h 3m)
> Uttara Gola; Madhava;Vaishakhi Sun Mar 20
> Meshadi; Mesha Sankranti Sun Mar 20
> Vaishakha Krishna Paksha starts Sat Mar 26

> Vaishakha Shukla Paksha starts Sat April 9
> Akshay Tritiya Mon April 11
> Grishma Ritu; Shukra; Jyeashtha Wed April 20 (5h 7m)
> Vrisha Sankranti Wed April 20
> Budha Purnima Sun April 24
> Jyeshtha Krishna Paksha starts Mon April 25

> Jyeshtha Shukla Paksha starts Mon May 9
> Kshirbhawani Yatra Mon May 16
> Ganga Dashahra Wed May 18
> Nirjala Ekadashi Fri May 20
> Shuchi; Ashadha; Mithuna Sankranti Sat May 21 (4h 17m)
> Ashadha Krishna Paksha starts Tue May 24

> Ashadha Shukla Paksha starts Tue June 7
> Ratha Yatra Wed June 8
> Kumara Shashthi Sun June 12
> Mela Sharika Bhagawati Wed June 15
> Punaryatra Fri June 17
> Hari Shayini Ekadashi Sat June 18
> Jwala-Mukhi Yatra Tue June 21
> Dakshinayana & Karka Sankranti Tue June 21 (12h 16m)
> Varsha Ritu; Nabah; Shravana start Tue June 21
> Guru & Vyasa Purnima Wed June 22
> Shravana Krishna Paksha starts Thu June 23

> Shravana Shukla Paksha starts Thu July 7
> Teej (Madhusrava Tritiya) Sat July 9
> Nag Panchami Mon July 11
> Raksha Bandhan; Salono Thu July 21
> Shri Amarnath Yatra Thu July 21
> Simha Sankranti; Nabhasya, Fri July 22 (23h 11m)
> Bhadra; Simhadi (Kerala) Fri July 22
> Bhadra Krishna Paksha starts Fri July 22
> Janmashtami Wed July 27

> Darba Amavasya Fri Aug 5
> Bahdra Shukla Paksha starts Sat Aug 6
> Shri Ganesha Chaturthi Tue Aug 9
> Parshva Parivartini Ekadashi Tue Aug 16
> Vamana (Dwadashi) Jayanti Wed Aug 17
> Ananta Chaturdashi Thu Aug 18
> Purnima Shradh Fri Aug 19
> Pitra Paksha starts Sat Aug 20
> Ashvina Krishna Paksha starts Sat Aug 20
> Sharad Ritu; Kanya Sankranti Tue Aug 23 (6h 15m)
> Isha; Ashvina start Tue Aug 23
> Sahiba Saptami Fri Aug 26

> Magha Shradha Thu Sep 1
> Sarva-Pitra Amavasya Sat Sep 3
> Sharadiya Navratra Sun Sep 4
> Ashvina Shukla Paksha starts Sun Sep 4
> Saraswati Sthapana Sat Sep 10
> Maha-Ashtami Sun Sep 11
> Maha Navmi Mon Sep 12
> Dashahra; Vijaya Dashmi Tue Sep 13
> Bharat Milap Wed Sep 14
> Sharat Purnima Sat Sep 17
> Valmiki Jayanti Sun Sep 18
> Kartika Krishna Paksha starts Mon Sep 19
> Karuva Chauth Wed Sep 21
> Tula Sankranti; Urja Fri Sep 23 (3h 53m)
> Autumn Equinox (Jala Vishuva) Fri Sep 23
> Dakshina Gola; Kartika Fri Sep 23
> Ahoi Ashtami Sun Sep 25

> Dhan Teras Sat Oct 1
> Naraka Chaturdashi Sun Oct 2
> Dipavali; Dipmala Sun Oct 2
> Kartika Shukla Paksha starts Tue Oct 4
> Goverdhan Puja Tue Oct 4
> Bhai Dooj; Yama Dwitya Wed Oct 5
> Chhath Sun Oct 9
> Deva Prabodhini Ekadashi Thu Oct 13
> Vaikuntha Chaturdashi Sun Oct 16
> Kartika Purnima Mon Oct 17
> Margasheesrsha Krishna Paksha st. Tue Oct 18
> Vrischika Sankranti; Sahas Sun Oct 23 (13h 12m)
> Hemanta Ritu; Margasheersha start Sun Oct 23

> Margasheersha Shukla Paksha starts Tue Nov 1
> Gita Jayanti; Mokshda Ekadashi Sat Nov 12
> Pausha Krishna Paksha starts Thu Nov 17
> Sahasya; Pausha & Dhanuh Sankranti Tue Nov 22 (10h 45)
> Dhanurmas starts Tue Nov 22

> Vakula Amavasya Thu Dec 1
> Pausha Shukla Paksha starts Fri Dec 2
> Magha Krishna Paksha starts Fri Dec 16
> Lohri (Punjab; J&K) Wed Dec 21
> Makar Sankranti& Uttarayana; Thu Dec 22(0h 05m)
> Makaradi snan; Shishir Sankranti Thu Dec 22
> Shishira Ritu; Tapah; Magha start Thu Dec 22
> Magha Shukla Paksha starts Sat Dec 31
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Basant Panchami celebrations today (Feb 13)

BHOPAL: The chilling cold breeze has become a matter of past. People have packed their woollens. It's time to say bye to shivering cold. Flowers are at full bloom and trees are shedding their leaves to have some new clothing. Sunrays are becoming hotter. And now we should ready up the fans and coolers. Leaving the idleness behind the festival of Basant Panchami has arrived.

It is the festival of worshipping Goddess Saraswati, which will be observed all over on Sunday. It is a special occasion for school children that worship the Goddess of Wisdom offering yellow flowers because yellow colour is prominent these days in nature.

At many places this festival is observed with lot of enthusiasm. Pooja pandals are made and decorated with yellow flowers and curtains. Idles of Goddess Saraswati is installed. On this occasion people worship their books and pray to Goddess to bless then with wisdom and knowledge.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Today is Mahashivaratri . March 8 2005.
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Mar 7 2005, 10:05 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Mar 7 2005, 10:05 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Today is Mahashivaratri . March 8 2005.
<b>Mahashivarati</b> <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Gujjus celebrate MahaShivaratri by observing fast and drinking Bhang. There are 2 days in a year when gujjus drink lots of bhang. 1 Shiva Ratri 2 Janmashtami. Chants of Bam Bam Bhole and Bhang are perfect complements.. <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Was again watching Sri Oza's Bhagavatam. He mentioned a fun festival in Barsana (Vrindavan). My family is originally from Vrindavan but I am ashamed to say I had not heard about this before.. <!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Anyways the legend is that once Krishna went looking for Radha and Radha got shy and hid herself in a lotus. The govals from nand gaon were looking all around for Radha when gopis from Barsana took the matter in their own hands and beat the cr@p out of govaliyas with laths. Lath is a thick and long bamboo stick. To this day on phagun sud 9 this festival is celibrated by folks over there and is a big attraction. Its called laththamaar (dhulai with bamboo sticks <!--emo&:blink:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blink.gif' /><!--endemo--> ) holi. Wily vaishanavas descend on Vrindavan a couple of months in advance and feed tonnes of ghee to barsana gopis <!--emo&:felx--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/flex.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='flex.gif' /><!--endemo--> so they can really have a go at it with poor govaals taking the abuse with only shields to protect.. <!--emo&:tv--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tv_feliz.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tv_feliz.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->

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