U-zZ4m1JqvFJIQt2G-tyy-Cj5VI TELUGU PADMASALI Blog: December 2009

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Telugu Hindu Festivals

Telugu Hindu Festivals


SANKRANTHI


It is a four day festival in Andhra Pradesh:

* Day 1 - Bhogi Panduga (Bhogi)
* Day 2 - Pedda Panduga,SANKRANTI (Surya)
* Day 3 - Kanuma Panduga (Kanuma)
* Day 4 - Mukkanuma

The first day of festival is Bhogi. At dawn people light up a bonfire with several old articles in their house. In many familities they celebrate Bhogi pallu, in the evening. These are the regi pallu with petals of flower and coins of money, will be put on the heads of kids (generally younger than 3 years)(like talambralu) to get rid of Dishti(drushti). The second day is Sankranti, the big festival, when everyone wears new clothes and pray to their favourite God by offering them sweets. Kanuma Panduga (Kanuma) is less celebrated but is an integral part of Sankranti culture. Mukkanuma is famous among the non-vegetarians of the society. People do not eat any non-vegetarian during the first three days of the festival and eat it only on the day of Mukkanuma.

Sankranti usually represents all the four days together. It is celebrated in almost every village with adventurous games in South India. Whether it is the cock fights in Andhra, Bull fighting in Tamil Nadu or Elephant Mela in Kerala, there is huge amount of illegal betting but the so called tradition continues to play a major role in the festival. Another notable feature of the festival in South India is the Haridas who moves around begging for rice wishing luck to the household. Rangoli competitions too are a common sight. The entire month from mid-December to sankranthi is celebrated with giant rangolis in front of the house which are drawn only at late night for the entire month. For all other days of the year, rangoli is typically drawn in mornings only. Sankranthi is also celebrated by the huge Telugu diaspora worldwide, especially United States, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, Europe. The same festival is celebrated throughout the country under other names such as Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Lohri in Punjab. Kanuma, which is also considered a major part of sankranti lacking the pompousness associated with makara, is celebrated by cleaning and praying the equipment used by the household ranging from weapons to utensils.


MAHA SHIVARATHRI

The festival of Shivartri is celebrated in the honor of Lord Shiva on the thirteenth or fourteenth day during the month of February or March (Phalguna). Maha Shivratri means “the big night of Lord Shiva” and during the entire night devotees worship Lord Shiva. It was this day of Maha Shivratrti when Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati. People observe fast on the day of Maha Shivratri and perform several Shivratri rituals and traditions to worship Lord Shiva. Early in the morning people take a bath and wear new clothes. Temples are visited by people to worship Shiv lingam and make offerings of milk, rose water, honey, bael leaves, curd and fruits, as it is believed that each offering made to the shiv lingam has its own meaning and the Shiv lingam itself is a symbol of fruitfulness. The meaning of the offerings made to Lord Shiva is given below:


1. Sanitization of the soul is represented by a bath given to the Shiva lingam with rose water, milk, honey and bael leaves.
2. Vermilion paste applied to the Shiv lingam is symbolic of a good feature.
3. Offering of fruits made to the Shiv lingam represents long life and fulfillment of desires.
4. Prosperity is produced by the burning of incense sticks.
5. The lighting of the lamp means achievement of knowledge.
6. Offering of piper betel leaves portrays happiness.


People observe day and night fast on this day and worship Lord Shiva Lingam. People wake up early in the morning and wear new clothes on this day. Shiva lingams at home and in temples are given a bath. The offerings of fruits, water, curd, honey, bael leaves and milk are made to the Shiva lingam. While performing these rituals Shiv chalisa and aarti is recited and people mainly recite “Om Namah Shivaya” several times.

The celebrations of Shivratri festival can be seen throughout the country where people are seen observing fast during Maha Shivratri. It is said that women tend to be very excited about the fast of Shivratri, as it is believed that married women observe fast for the well being of their husbands and family and unmarried girls observe fast to get a husband like Lord Shiva. A famous tradition of this festival is drinking of the thandai, a drink made of cannabis, sweet almonds and milk. Followers of Lord Shiva drink this drink because it is believed that Lord Shiva loved cannabis.

H O L I

India is a highly diversified country when it comes to celebration of festivals. People participate in celebrations of various festivals and Holi is one of them. Holi is celebrated in the northern part of India in the month of February or March.

Holi is a perfect festival to get close to your near and dear ones and spread around the fragrance of holi colors symbolizing your love for others. Holi is a festival to forget all the disputes and strengthen the bonds of love. Delicious food is served on this day and special sweets include Gujiyas. People drink Bhang and thandai on Holi, as they are considered to be the famous drinks of Holi.

The first day of Holi rituals include a bonfire that represents the burning of Holika. The next day of Holi is celebrated with colors and water.

People generally wear old clothes that are white in color, as different colors of holi can be seen on white clothes. Holi greetings are also send by people to wish their relative and friends a very Happy Holi. This festival of colors spread love and happiness all around and fill your hearts with joy.

Come participate in Holi celebrations and let the fragrance of Holi colors spread around.


UGADHI


In Andhra Pradesh, it is believed that the creator of the Hindu universe, Lord Brahma began his wonderful creation on this auspicious day of Ugadi. On this day, people chant manthras and the pandits make predictions for the coming year. According to a ancient tradition, people used to flock to the temples to listen to the yearly calender (panchangasravanam).

People prepare for this festive occasion by cleaning and washing their houses and buying new clothes. When the day dawns, they decorate their houses with mango leaves and rangolis.

Then, they perform the ritualistic worship to pray for good health and prosperity in the coming year. It has become a custom to hold Kavi Sammelans ( Poetry recitals) this day. The Ugadi day is also considered to be an auspicious time to begin any new ventures.

The traditional cuisine of this festival includes dishes like Pulihora and Bobbatlu, though the Ugadi Pachchadi is the typical dish associated with the festival. This dish is prepared with jaggery, raw mangoes, neem flowers and raw tamarind.


SRI RAMA NAVAMI


Ram Navami , celebrating of the birth of Lord Rama, son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu . The day also known as Sri Rama Navami, falls on the Navami, ninth day of the Chaitra month of Hindu lunar year in 'Shukla paksha' or waxing moon, thus named Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami, and marks the end of nine-day Chaitra-Navratri celebrations.

At some places the festival lasts, the whole nine days of the Navratras, thus the period is called 'Rama Navratra'. Since Lord Rama is believed to have born at noon, temples and family shrines are elaborately decorated and traditional prayers are chanted together by the family in the morning. Also, at temples special havan (yajna) are organized, along with chanting of Vedic mantras and offerings of fruits and flowers. Many Hindus mark this day by Vrata (fasting) through the day followed by feasting in the evening, or at the culmination of celebrations . In A.P., the day is also celebrated as the wedding anniversary of Rama and his consort Sita, thus ceremonial wedding ceremonies, Sitarama Kalyanam, of the celestial couple are held at temples throughout the region, with great fanfare and accompanied by group chanting of name of Rama, Rama nama smaranam.

The important celebrations on this day take place at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, thronged by thousands of devotees, and Rathayatras, the chariot processions, also known as Shobha yatras of Rama, his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman, are taken out at several places.

Sri-Rama Navami is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama. It occurs on the ninth day, or navami. The festival commemorates the birth of Rama who is remembered for his prosperous and righteous reign.



Some highlights of this day include

* Kalyanam, a ceremonial wedding performed by temple priests
* Panakam, a sweet drink prepared on this day with jaggery and pepper.
* Procession of murtis in the evening, accompanied by playing with water and colours.


Srirama Navami Festival at Bhadrachalam is celebrated on Sri Rama's birthday. The ten days of this festival attract thousands of devotees from all corners of India. On this occasion all 'Rambhaktas' gather in this place to worship their Lord. The festivities start from 'Chaitra Sudha Saptami' and continues till 'Bahula Padyami'. The focal point of the celebration of the Festival of Srirama Navami is the Kalyanotsav.

The Srirama Navami Festival is celebrated in Bhadrachalam of the Khammam District in Andhra Pradesh. To enjoy the colors of this festival you must visit Bhadrachalam during the months of March and April. The unique feature of this celebration is that it is being held here continuously for four hundred years. This is one of the most popular Temple Fairs of the state.

Bhadrachalam is located in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. The place is located on the bank of river Godavari. The shrine here is among the most important sites of Hindu pilgrimage.

The Fairs in Andhra Pradesh are mostly of religious origin and have some legendary stories linked with them. Srirama Navami Festival at Bhadrachalam is no exception. This temple is closely connected to the life of the famous saint and composer Ramadasa . Sri Rama is also believed to have crossed the river Godavari,on his way Lanka to rescue Sita, at the spot where this temple stands.

The Srirama Navami Festival at Bhadrachalam is celebrated with lot of grandeur, which along with the devotees also attract many tourists to Andhra Pradesh.


SRI VARALAKSHMI VRATHAM


Mahalakshmi Vratam is a sacred day in Hinduism. More commonly known as "Varalaksmi Vratham" is performed by Married Hindu ladies on the Friday just before the full moon day in the month of "Sravana" - July/August- according to Hindu calendar. This is an important "Vratha", meaning a vowed religious observance in Sanskrit. "Varamahalakshmi Vratha" is performed more commonly in Southern Indian States of Andhra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and also in parts of Maharashtra and Orissa.

Puja is performed by married Hindu women to seek the blessings of goddess Mahalakshmi, wife of Lord Vishnu, who is considered to be the abode of wealth and prosperity. There is a legend that says that this vratam was recommended by Lord Shiva to his wife Parvati to gain wealth and prosperity. There is also another legend that tells us the story of a very pious lady Charumati who was asked by goddess Varalakshmi, in her dream, to do the vratam in-order to fulfill her wishes. She performed the vratam along with other ladies in her village with a lot of devotion. They offered the deity lots of delicacies and once the vratam was completed, they were amazed to find their bodies decked with expensive jewels and their homes full of riches. From then on, women started performing this vratam every year seeking wealth and prosperity in their families. Varalakshmi vratam is usually performed in the month of Sravan on the Friday preceding the full moon day. Those who cannot perform it on that day, can do it on any other Friday in that month.

Women clean their homes and decorate their front yards with rangolis (colorful designs traced on the floor) on the day of Varalakshmi vratam. Later, they take a bath and deck themselves with beautiful clothes and jewelery. They then begin the process of performing the vrata by first arranging the kalasha or the sacred pot. They fill the pot with rice and water which symbolize prosperity and cover it with mango and betel leaves. They then place a coconut smeared with turmeric and vermallion on the kalasha and also decorate the coconut with a new cloth. Some people decorate the kalasha with many kinds of jewels to make it look more beautiful. They place this kalasha on a plate filled with rice. The main pooja begins by worshiping Lord Ganesha who is believed to drive away all obstacles and evil forces. Later, goddess Mahalakshmi is invoked into the kalasha. They then worship a couple of torams (a bunch of nine threads with nine knots) and tie one to the kalasha while the other one is tied around the right hand wrist of the lady performing the pooja. Later, they chant the Lakshmi Ashtottara Shatanamam (a list of hundred names in praise of the deity) with a lot devotion. They then offer the goddess nine varieties of delicacies including both sweets and savories. In conclusion of the vratam, they sing hymns in praise of goddess Varalakshmi and also invite another married woman assuming her to be goddess Varalakshmi and offer her sweets. That evening, they invite all the neighboring laides to their homes and offer them tamboolam (an offering consisting of betel leaves, fruits, betel nuts, vermillion, turmeric and dakshina [money]). They also collectively sing songs in praise of goddess Varalakshmi.


RAKSHA BANDHAN


Raksha Bandhan is a festival that commemorates the relationship of brother and sister. This festival is celebrated usually in the month of August on the Shravana Purnima. The atmosphere of jubilation starts mounting up much before the occasion.

Let's start with the meaning of Raksha Bandhan. 'Raksha' is a Hindi word that means protection and 'Bandhan” means the bond. Thus, Raksha Bandhan stands for the bond of protection between brother and sister. On the auspicious eve of Shravana Purnima, the girls tie Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers. In turn, the brother takes the vow of protecting his sister from all the dangers that come her way.

Many women observe fast till the completion of the rituals. After the thread tying ceremony, the girls perform Arti of their brothers so as to invoke divine blessings to bestow on their brothers. Traditionally, the following mantra is chanted while performing Arti:

“Yena baddho Bali Raja
Daanavendro mahabalah
Tena twam anubadhanaami
Rakshe maa chala maa chala”


The literal meaning of these words is, “O Rakhi, just as Goddess Laxmi tied Rakhi to King Bali, I am you on my brother's wrist. Aye Rakhi, I pray thee that you protect my brother from all evils”.

With these holy words, the girl prays for her brother's long life and sound health. The whole ceremony is observed within a set Muhurat.

Raksha Bandhan is a day when the whole clan gathers and either spend time in cherishing some fond moments or creating them. Family feast is organized, which gives a nice opportunity to the family members to strengthen the bond of love between them. Therein lies the beauty of not only the festival of Raksha Bandhan but all Indian Festivals.


JANMASHTAMI / SRI KRISHNASHTAMI / SRI KRISHAN JAYANTHI


Lord Krishna took vow to ascend on earth whenever the darkness of evil surround it. A Sanskrit shloka in the holy book Gita, says the same,

"Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya
Glaanir Bhavati Bharatha
Abhyutthanam Adharmasya
Tadatmanam Srijamy Aham"

It is believed that Shri Krishna took birth on the eighth day of half dark, that is, Krishna Paksha of the month of Shravana as per the Hindu Calendar.

Shri Krishna was the eighth incarnation of God Vishnu on earth who took birth purposely to kill Kansa, who had created a havoc in the city of Mathura. King Kansa was already intimated, but couldn't revert his destiny. He knew that his sister's eighth son was going put an end to his life. He imprisoned Devaki and her husband for years till their eighth child was born.

When it actually happened, the situation changed in a dramatic manner. The doors of the prison opened automatically and the father took baby Krishna to his friend and trustworthy Nanda. Since then, Krishna is widely known as the son of Yashoda & Nanda.

The date of the festival of Janmashtami varies in the Gregorian Calendar from the month of August to the month of September. Many people observe fast on the eve of Janmashtami, which is called as Saptami. Devotees remain wide awake all night, dance in order to rejoice among themselves and sing in praise of Lord Krishna. As soon as the clock strikes midnight, the ritual of bathing the idol with milk is performed. Then he is dressed in beautiful clothes and jewelry and is placed in the cradle to be worshiped. Sweets are offered to the deity and then distributed among the devotees.

People indulge in a lot of interesting Janmashtami activities. Krishna Bhaktas dance on the enchanting tunes of Krishna Bhajans. They organize an exquisite show of Krishna Jhaankis, which portraits the Rasa Lila in a mundane way. The most popular activity of Janmashtami is the custom of 'Dahi Handi'. Specially, in cities like Mumbai & Pune, this custom is celebrated with great fervor and therefore is organized on a grand level. The human tower trying to smash the Dahi Handi hanging on a high position above the ground is the most common scene on Ganesha Chaturthi on every nook and corner. The winning team wins great pizes. Although, the entire Hindu community is imbued with the colors of festivities of Janmashtami, but the charm of Brindavan & Mathura celebrations has a new flavor altogether, being the hometown of Lord Krishna.

Lord Krishna was multi faceted and similar is the nature of celebrations of Janmashtami are. This festival gives us the opportunity to look within and realize the essence of our lives, which Shri Krishna gifted mankind in his teachings through Gita, the most sacred Hindu philosophy.


SRI VINAYAKA CHAVITHI


Ganesha Chaturthi or Ganesha Festival is a day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees. It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi in Sanskrit, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. It is celebrated as it is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). Typically, the day falls sometime between August 20 and September 15. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Ananta Chaturdashi. This festival is observed in the lunar month of bhadrapada shukla paksha chathurthi madhyahana vyapini purvaviddha. if chaturthi prevails on both days, the first day should be taken. Even if chaturthi prevails for complete duration of madhyahana on the second day, but if it prevails on previous day's madhyahana period even for one ghatika (24 minutes) the previous day should be taken. (Ref. Dharmasindhu and Indian Calendric System, by Commodore S.K. Chatterjee (Retd). Madhyahana is the 3rd / 5th part of the day (Sunrise-sunset).

Ganesha puja on the Chaturthi day is usually performed at noon but now-a-days people perform it when all the family members are present.

While performing Ganesha Puja at home, you can always be flexible. The strict rituals are meant for Vedic priests. All you need be careful is to perform the pujas with a clean body and clean mind. What is more important is devotion not the ritual.

Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati, is widely worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.


The symbolic meaning of Ganesh Chaturthi festival is that Lord Ganesha comes and stays among us. The immersion symbolizes his return from the earth after removing the obstacles and unhappiness of his devotees.

Some families perform the ceremony on the very next day. It is believed that Ganesha comes and stays in the idol for a day and returns the next day.

There are other families which perform the Ganesh immersion or Visarjan on the 3rd, 5th, 7th or the 10th day.

Today, many people choose the least crowded day to immerse the Ganesh idol.


NAVARATHRI & VIJAYA DASAMI


Know all About Navratri. The nine-day Navratri celebration is compartmentalized in certain parts of the country, dedicating three days each to a trinity of goddesses: to Durga the goddess of velour, to Lakshmi the goddess of wealth and to Saraswati the goddess of knowledge. On Lalita Panchami (the fifth day) it is customary to gather all the books within the house before a sacred lamp and invoke the blessings of Saraswati.

It is also the occasion for all artisans to lay down their tools before the goddess and seek her benediction upon their trade. On the eighth and ninth day of the festival, yagnas or havens are performed in a final act of farewell that marks the termination of the ceremonies. The yagna is an act of sacrifice by which matters most precious and valuable to us are placed into the holy flames as an act of renunciation. Ghee or clarified butter, a sweet concoction of rice cooked in condensed milk (paayas or kheer) and sesame seeds are traditional items used in the havan.

Durga Puja Festival

The ten day long Durga Puja Festival rituals are wholly dedicated to the mighty and supreme Goddess Durga. The destructive spree of Maa Durga leaves no evil behind. Riding on her divine chariot of Lion (traditionally called as Singho Vahan), she looks furious, yet charismatic. The festival is the symbol of inevitable triumph of virtuosity over vice. The time span of celebrations of the festival is viewed as Goddess Durga's ascendancy on earth for that particular time. Soon after, she leaves for Mountain Kailash, where her husband dwells. The story is linked to the married daughters returning to their parent's home along with their husbands in present times.


Durga Puja India

There is an interesting legendary story associated with the Durga Puja India festival. As per the oral traditions and Hindu scriptures and treatise, the peace and happiness of Gods were disrupted by the demon Mahishasura. Together they went to Lord Shiva to ask for his help. Lord Shiva combined the eternal reservoir of the energies of all the Gods into one being and created Goddess Durga. Riding on lion, as soon as she placed her feet on the battlefield, there was an extreme terror of her. She put an end to the life of Demon Mahishasur with a natural ease. Since then she has become the storehouse of power of all Gods. Maa Durga stands for a well channelized energy that works towards the eradicating evil.


DIWALI

The festival of Diwali has been celebrated for ages and grows in fascination by the year. Everyone enjoys the goodies, the glitter, glamour, and the endless zest for living that suddenly grips people around this time. But there is much more to Diwali than feasting and merrymaking. Diwali is a hallowed tradition, not to be put in the shade by the lights. Diwali symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. Celebrated joyously all over the country, it is a festival of wealth and prosperity.

Diwali is essentially a festival for householders. The preparations, the rituals, the entire celebration focuses on the home and family, spanning out to cover the community as a natural extension.

TIME OF THE YEAR

The time of deepavali festival is the most comfortable period of the year as it falls in the autumn season. This festival generally falls in the month of October or November and the date in the English calendar varies as the Indian festivals are celebrated according to the Indian calendar.

LEGENDS

The legends behind the festival are as varied as the manner of its celebration, but common to all of them is the theme of the triumph of good over evil. One such legend, the most popular one, is about a demon named Narakasura who managed to acquire such awesome powers that he began to terrorize the three worlds; his languishment and death at the hands of Satyabhaama/Krishna is celebrated as Diwali, and the day preceding the new moon in the months of Ashwin-Kartik in the Hindu calendar is known as Naraka Chaturdasi (Chaturdasi meaning the fourteenth).

Another legend followed in Kamataka is that of an emperor named Bali who, likewise, had become all powerful and a threat to the peace of the universe. God is said to have come to earth in the form of a diminutive Brahmin, Vamana, and presenting himself before the mighty Bali asked for “as much land as three of my footsteps would cover.” No king could refuse a Brahmin's appeal for charity, and Bali readily granted what seemed to him a trifling request. Whereupon the diminutive Brahmin resumed his all-pervasive, omnipresent form and, covering the heavens with one foot and the world below with another, asked where he should place his foot for the third step. Bali bowed before him and offered his own head for him to place his foot on, and was pressed underfoot. This victory is observed as Bali Padya on the day of the new moon (amavasya) when the month of Ashwin (October-November) makes way for Kartik.

For the people in north India, the festival commemorates the joyous return of Rama to his kingdom of Ayodhya, after 14 years exile in the forests. For the business community, particularly in the western regions of Gujarat and upper India, Diwali is a festival devoted to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. For the merchant community, in fact, the new accounting year begins with Diwali and the tradition is still followed by opening new accounting ledgers on this festive day.


Courtesy: http://www.indiafairs.dgreetings.com