List of Hindu festivals

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There are a great number of Hindu Religious Festivals held throughout the world. A festival may be observed with acts of worship, offerings to deities, fasting, feasting, vigil, rituals, fairs, charity, celebrations, Puja, Homa, aarti etc. The festivals typically celebrate events from Hindu mythology, often coinciding with seasonal changes. There are many festivals which are primarily celebrated by specific sects or in certain regions of the Indian subcontinent.



'Utsava' is the Sanskrit word for Hindu festivals, meaning 'to cause to grow 'upward'.[citation needed] Uthsava or Utsava or Utsav is derived from the Sanskrit word, Utsava. The Sanskrit word Utsava comes from the word "ut" meaning "removal" and "sava" which means "worldly sorrows" or "grief".[1]

Observance periods (tithi)[edit]

In the Hindu calendar dates are usually prescribed according to the lunar calendar. In Vedic timekeeping, a tithi is a lunar day.


Kumbh Mela: The timing is determined by the entry of Jupiter, who takes twelve years to complete a cycle, into the "fixed" constellations of the sidereal Zodiac: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. Astrologers consider these signs the most powerful, places of power in the starry sky, just as the sacred river is a place of power on earth. The Haridwar Kumbha Mela takes place with Jupiter in Aquarius, as in 1998 and now 2010, the one in Prayag when Jupiter is in Taurus, as in 1989, 2001 and 2013.... Why does the Kumbha Mela start on 14 January? This, I am sorry to say to my Hindu friends, is based on a cosmic mistake. Circa 300 CE (when India had freshly adopted Hellenistic astrology with its 12-part Zodiac, replacing or supplementing the native Zodiac of 27 lunar asterisms), the tropical Zodiac, a geometrical division of the circle into 12 sectors of 30° tied to the cycle of the seasons, coincided with the sidereal Zodiac, i.e. the belt of visible constellations. The entry point of the sun into the sidereal constellation of Capricorn (Sanskrit: Makara) coincided with the winter solstice point, i.e. 0° of the tropical Capricorn. But the two Zodiacs have since been drifting apart at the rate of 1° in ca. 71 years. So now they differ by ca. 24°, and the festival originally meant to mark the winter solstice or Yuletide has drifted to 14 January and, given time, is bound to drift on all around the Zodiac. Yet, numerous Hindus say in all seriousness that at Makar Sankranti, on 14 January, "the sun starts on its northward course", which in fact it has done on 21 December.[2]

New Year: With the spread of modern science, there is simply no excuse to maintain this mistake underlying the entire Hindu calendar. Correcting it would have drastic consequences, e.g. moving the New Year's festival from 14 April (sidereal Aries) back to 21 March (spring equinox,= tropical Aries). Jupiter would reach Aquarius, Taurus etc., once these are conceived tropically rather than sidereally, nearly a year earlier than under the present system, so the year of the next Kumbha Melas would have to be changed. But the weight of tradition is such that this correction may not be made so soon.[3]


List and descriptions of major Hindu festivals[edit]

See also[edit]



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  1. Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple of Greater Chicago [archive]
  2. [archive]
  3. [archive]
  4. [1] [archive],
  5. Friedrichs, Kurt (1994). "Sarasvatī". In Schuhmacher, Stephan; Woerner, Gert (eds.). The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Zen. Boston: Shambala. p. 306. ISBN 0-87773-980-3. The goddess of ... scholarship ... She is also the patron of the arts, especially of music.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Kent, Alexandra. Divinity and Diversity: A Hindu Revitalization Movement in Malaysia. University of Hawaii Press, 2005. (<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css" />ISBN 8791114896)
  7. Hume, Lynne. Portals.
  8. [archive]
  9. [archive]
  10. [archive]
  11. [archive]
  12. [archive]

External links[edit] [archive]

Template:Public holidays in India [archive] [archive] [archive] [archive] [archive] [archive] [archive]