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Elacqua, Joseph, et. al. "Hinduism Holidays" Faithology, LLC. Last modified March 4, 2013.
Faithology, LLC, 2012. (Accessed Jun 19, 2013).. Hinduism Holidays.
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- Last Updated: March 4, 2013
- Originally Published: July 18, 2012
The Hindus celebrate numerous holidays and festivals. Because of the sheer diversity of Hindu beliefs and regional variations in celebrations, the exact amount of ceremonies practiced in modern times is impossible to calculate. Some scholars have isolated at least one thousand annual festivals or ceremonies, acknowledging that many other local or otherwise individualized ceremonies exist.
Not so different from holidays of other religions, many Hindu ceremonies commemorate historical or legendary events or celebrate the cycle of nature. Many are dedicated to specific deities, while others are related to the seasons or to the harvest. The purpose of most festivals and celebrations is either to purify oneself or to otherwise repel evil influence. Other ritual aims include the reestablishment of societal patterns and the revitalization of deities or natural powers such as the sun. These holidays often include, , fasting, feasting, acts associated with magic, bathing, processions, music, dancing, donning new clothing, and lovemaking.
The following table lists several of the major traditional holidays observed in Hinduism, their place in the Hindu calendar, and their corresponding dates in the Gregorian calendar. The dates of these festivals are calculated annually by the India Meteorological Department. These religious holidays will also be discussed in greater detail below.
|Traditional Holiday||Traditional Hindu Calendar||2012 Gregorian Calendar||2013 Gregorian Calendar||2014 Gregorian Calendar|
|Basant Panchami||5||Jan. 28||Feb. 15||Feb. 2|
|Dashara||10||Oct. 16—24||Oct. 6—14||Oct. 4—12|
|Diwali||30 — 5||Nov. 13—17||Nov. 3—7||Oct. 23—27|
|Durga Puja||Ashvin 1—10||Oct. 16—24||Oct. 6—14||Oct. 4—12|
|Ganesh Chaturthi||4||Sep. 19||Sep. 9||Sep. 29|
|Guru Purnima||Ashadh15||Jul. 3||Jul. 22||Jul. 12|
|Holi||14||Mar. 8||Mar. 27||Mar. 17|
|Krishna Janmashtami||Bhadrapad13||Aug. 10||Aug. 28||Aug. 17|
|Kumbh Mela||Varies drastically||n/a||Jan.27—Feb.25||n/a|
|Onam||During the Malayalammonth of Cingam||Aug. 29||Sep. 16||Sep. 7|
|Raksha Bandhan||15||Aug. 2||Aug. 21||Aug. 10|
|Ram Navami||9||Apr. 1||Apr. 20||Apr. 8|
|Shivaratri||Magh 29||Feb. 20||Mar. 10||Feb. 28|
Unlike traditional religious holidays, secular holidays in India occur on the same date annually. They are presently celebrated according to the National Calendar of India, created in 1957. This calendar was created to reconcile several different Indian calendrical methods with the Gregorian calendar. Civil holidays occur as follows:
|Civil Holiday||National Calendar of India Date||Gregorian Calendar Date|
|New Year’s Day||Caitr 1||March 22|
|Baisakhi(Old New Year’s Day)||Caitr 23||April 13|
|Labor Day||Baisakh11||May 1|
|Independence Day||Shravan24||August 15|
|Mohandas Gandhi’s Birthday||Ashvin10||October 2|
|Children’s Day||Kartik23||November 14|
|Republic Day||Magh6||January 26|
|Mohandas Gandhi’s Martyrdom||Magh 10||January 30|
|Mother’s Day||Phalgun3||February 22|
It should also be noted that many of holidays and festivals celebrated in India have spellings that vary from region to region. Likewise, some of the ceremonies themselves also vary from region to region.