Hindu Holidays

Different regions of India celebrate the new year at different times. Therefore, the holidays have been listed according to how they fall on the Western/Gregorian calendar.

Vasant Panchami/Saraswati Puja (Magh 5, Jan/Feb) - Celebration dedicated to Saraswati, goddess of learning.

Maha Shivaratri/Great Shiva Night (Magh 29, Feb/March) - Festival in honor of Lord Shiva and his marriage to the Goddess Parvati. Ceremonies involving prayers and hymns take place mostly at night.

Holi (Phalgun 14, March) - Spring festival of mirth and merriment, featuring bright colors and bonfires. Dedicated to Lord Krishna. Social barriers are torn down at this time.

Rama Navami (Caitr 9, April) - Celebration of the birth of Lord Rama, hero of the religious epic poem, The Ramayana. The day involves telling of stories and going to the temple.

Guru Purnima (Ashadh 15, July) - Celebration of one's respect for one's teacher or guru.

Raksha Bandhan (Shravan 15, Aug) - Festival honoring the loving ties between brothers and sister in a family.

Krishna Jayanti/Janamashtami (Bhadrapad 13, Aug) - Celebration of the birthday of Krishna. Nightlong prayers are held in the Temples.

Ganesh Chaturthi (Bhadrapad 4, Sept) - Festival honoring the god of prosperity, prudence and success.

Durga Puja/Navaratri/Dussehra (Ashvin 1-10, Oct) - Ten day festival celebrating the great mother goddess, Durga, as well as goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati.  The festivities culminate with the story of Durga's victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura.  And/or, the story of Rama's victory over demon king Ravana. 

Deepavali/Diwali/Festival of Lights (Kartik 30 — Margashirsh 5, Oct/Nov) - Festival for Goddess Lakshmi (source of health, fertility, and prosperity) and Her consort, God Vishnu (the preserver); focus is on peace-making and new beginnings.

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