Indian Festivals Blog : April

Baisakhi is celebrated as an important day by the Sikhs in Punjab. It was on this day that Guru Govind Singh founded the Khalsa. At all Gurudwaras the ‘Granth Sahib’, the holy book of the Sikhs is read from beginning to end and taken out in a procession by the Panch Pyaras (five senior Sikhs) who are symbolic of the original leaders. After this there is a lot of feasting. In the night the Baisakhi di Raat or Baisakhi da Mela is held in which various folk dances, especially the Bhangra dance is performed and men and women dance to the rhythmic beat of drums. In Kerala the festival is known as Vishu. A display of grain, fruits, flowers, gold, new cloth and money, is viewed early in the morning to ensure a prosperous year ahead. This festival is also known as Rangali Bihu in Assam, and is celebrated with lively dance, music and feasting.
Mahavir Jayanti
Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism. It is one of the most famous festivals of the Jain community. On this day, the Jains visit the sacred temples and offer prayers.
Gudi Padva or Ugadi
Gudi Padva is celebrated as the beginning of the New Year in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Karnataka. Gudi Padva is considered one of the most auspicious days in the year when people start new ventures. It is believed that Lord Brahma created the world on this day and so he is worshipped especially at this time. On this day the Lord Vishnu is said to have been incarnated as Matsya, the fish. A gudi (banner) with a swastika-marked pot and silk cloth is raised to announce victory and joy. Banners of silk and gold are hoisted and homage is paid, perhaps recalling some ancient flag hosting ceremony. It reminds of the valiant Marathas returning home from their successful conquering expeditions of war.
Muharram is celebrated as a day of mourning on the occasion of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the holy Prophet Mohammad. This festival is mainly celebrated by the Shi’ite Muslims, who take out procession of colourfully decorated ‘Tazias’, which are paper and bamboo replicas of the martyr’s tomb at Karbala in Iraq. Tazias are carried in procession through the streets while men beat their chests and distress. The processions are especially impressive at Lucknow and Hyderabad.In some parts of the south India, the tiger dancers, men painted with stripes and wearing tiger masks, lead the procession.
Pooram festival is celebrated in the month of April in Trichur, Kerala. In the beginning of April, the people of Kerala began their search for the best elephants in the state. After their search is finished then the temples in Kerala sends a procession of decorated elephants to Trichur to participate in the Pooram festival. In the Pooram festival, the decorated elephant groups face each other while drums and nadaswarams create a crescendo of music. The festival ends with a spectacular display of fireworks.
Buddha Purnima
Buddha Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day in North India. On this day the Lord Buddha born and also achieved Nirvana or the extinction of self and freedom from the cycle of rebirth on the same day.
Mewar Festival
Mewar Festival is celebrated in Udaipur to welcome the spring season. The main highlight of this festival is the procession of colourfully attired women carrying images of the Goddess Gauri to Lake Pichola. Festivities include joyous singing, dancing, devitional music concerts and firework displays.
Good Friday and Easter
Good Friday is celebrated all over India by the Christians. On this day the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. Easter Sunday is celebrated on the occasion of the rebirth of Christ, as the triumph of good over evil. It is a festival of rejuvenation of life and living. A popular custom of this feast is the making of Easter eggs with presents for children inside them. Chocolate eggs, small chicks of cotton wool and almond sweets are bought for children. The festival is celebrated with lot of fun and frolic and the Christians offer special prayer services.
Meenakshi Temple Feast
Meenakshi Temple Feast is annually celebrated in Madurai in the month of April. This festival is celebrated on the occasion of the marriage of the goddess Meenakshi to Lord Shiva. Car processions of the goddess and the god are some of the colourful features of this feast.
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