Indian Festivals – September is the month of trade shows and preparations for the long holiday season in India. Here are some of the major Indian festivals and observances of the month.The September that begins with much gaiety and celebration but ends sombre note.
1.Hartalika Teej – September 4, 2016 (Sunday)
Hartalika Teej is one of the three Teej festivals celebrated by the women of northern India. Unlike the other Teej celebrations, the Hartalika Teej is observed with much more austerity because it involves three days of fasting. The Goddess Parvati is said to have undertaken this fast to marry Lord Shiva, the supreme Hindu god. Hartalika Teej is celebrated on the 3rd day of the waxing fortnight in the month of Bhadrapada. Women in the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Bihar dress in their finest, adorn themselves with henna and worship Goddess Parvati as Gauri.
2.Ganesh Chaturthi – September 5, 2016 (Monday)
Ganesh Chaturthi, also called Vinayaka Chaturthi, is one of the most important festivals celebrated across India. On this day, the elephant-headed Hindu god, Ganesha is worshipped. He is said to remove all obstacles and grant success to his devotees. While the idol of Ganesha is installed and worshipped almost everywhere in the country, the celebrations in Maharashtra are superlative. Here, huge idols of the god are brought and community celebrations are the norm. Music and dance, food and fireworks galore; the Maharashtrians take their Ganpati worship to a different level. While the festival is celebrated for 10 days, the 4th day of the waxing fortnight of Bhadrapada month is the most important.
3.Teachers’ Day – September 5, 2016 (Monday)
Dr.Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (born September 5, 1888) was an eminent philosopher, academician, and teacher. Not only was he a distinguished scholar, he also went on to become the nation’s first Vice-President and the second President of India (1962-1967). Dr Radhakrishnan’s birthday is celebrated as Teachers’ Day throughout the country. The day is dedicated to the appreciation of teachers and their role in our lives. School children put up cultural programmes and take up celebratory activities to entertain their teachers and gift them flowers and cards. It is also a day to reach out to all the teachers who have been pivotal in one’s success.
4.Radha Ashtami – September 9, 2016 (Friday)
Fifteen days from Janmashtami, on the 8th day of the waxing fortnight of Bhadrapada month, the birth celebrations of Krishna’s consort Radha are held. Radha Ashtami is a day of prayers, song, dance, and festive indulgences across the country. In places such as Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, and Barsana, Radha’s birthplace, the earth is lit up by lamps and the day is a grand festival. Special pujas and bhajan sessions are held in Krishna temples and ISKCON centres across India.
5.Eid-Ul-Zuha (Bakr-Eid) – September 12, 2016 (Monday)
Eid-Ul-Zuha, also called Bakr-Eid (Eid al-Adha in Arabic) is one of the two main Eid celebrations of the Muslims in the country. Sheep, lambs, and rams are sacrificed on this day, to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God and the grace which spared his son in exchange for the sacrifice of a ram. The sacrificed animal is cooked and shared with family, friends, and poor people. Muslims wear new clothes, exchange gifts and greetings, and share food with the less fortunate. Most of them attend prayers at mosques and indulge in charity. The festival falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and coincides with the descent of the pilgrims (on the Hajj) from Mount Arafat.
6.Onam – September 14, 2016 (Wednesday)
Onam is one of the largest festive celebrations held in the southern state of Kerala. It is essentially a harvest festival that celebrates the bumper crop of the season. According to legend, the festival has its origins in the return of King Mahabali after his conquest of the three worlds. Kerala celebrates this festival in its own colourful style. Huge rangolis made and the traditional feast (sadya) cooked. Families get together and temples are decorated. Dance and music events are organised in every locality. Pulikali, Kathakali, performances and boat races are popular attractions around Onam.
7.Vishwakarma Puja – September 16, 2016 (Friday)
Vishwakarma is a Hindu god who is believed to be the divine architect of the entire universe. He is also the patron god of all those who work in the engineering profession. Workplaces across the country, especially factories, workshops, and craft studios are decorated on the occasion of Vishwakarma Puja. Mechanics, engineers, artists, craftsmen, potters, weavers, and industrial workers take the day off and celebrate the festival by worshipping a large image of the deity. In Bengal, kite flying competitions mark the occasion.
8.Pitru Paksha – September 16 to September 30, 2016
The waning fortnight of the Ashvin month, roughly corresponding to the second half of September is a time for austerity and piety in most Indian Hindu households. This period called the Pitru Paksha or Mahalaya Paksha is a time for Hindus to remember their ancestors and to offer their homage and prayers to family elders who have moved on to the spirit world. Pitru tarpan or ritual offerings to the ancestors are performed during this time. No new venture is usually undertaken. Many go without meat, alcohol, new clothes, and even sweet food. Hindus choose to indulge in charity and feed the poor during this time. While the tarpon can be performed at home, Hindus prefer to take a trip to the holy rivers of the country to perform the rites.
September is also a month of anticipation with the Devi Paksha (Navaratri or Durga Puja 2016) coming up in October. This is the month when the Equinox (22, September 2016) marks the final days of summer and the start of autumn in the country. Article by Sujatha.
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