The era of adopting westernized techniques to ideology to dressing style and so on; the air of western culture is widely dominant in India, since more than a decade. As we are saying that our Indian culture is being modified by western views, here I contradict my own statement by highlighting the Indian traditional and cultural norms still being valued in the form of our enthusiastic and bright Indian festivals.
Have you ever wondered that may be these Indian festivals have some connection with the Western world festivals; or rather few of the festivals hold the same significance and motive for celebrating them. If you say yes, then yea you are absolutely correct because here we have unusual similarities between the ‘horror festival of Halloween’ and ‘Indian festival of Kali Chaudas’.
Eerie essence of Halloween:
The Celtic tribe celebrated Samhain, at the beginning of winter season to please the evil ghostly powers, which are said to dominate over the Sun God on this day. The Druid circle performs their own ceremonies on this day along with offering thanks to the dead for the rich harvest of the season. So the entire kingdom is kindled with fire before the new moon day to welcome the wandering dead spirits and offer them with the grand feast to pacify their hungry souls.
Celebration of good over evil of Kali Chaudas:
The Indian festival of Kali Chaudas falls on the fourteenth day of the moon cycle or one day before the new moon day, marked by the bright festival of Diwali. This festival is associated with the period to celebrate the harvest of this season and offer auspicious homage to their ‘Kul-devta or kul-devi’. Before this festival, Indians pay special reverence to their ancestors by organizing Shradh puja and honouring their Pitras or manes. During this shradh period, families prepare great feasts to pacify the hungry souls of their ancestors and receive blessings from them. The also feed the birds as they are considered to be the spirits of dead and messengers of Lord Yama (God of Death).
Rare mystery of ‘Pumpkins’:
The Halloween gives special importance to ‘Pumpkin’ and devilish faces are painted on it and placed outside the house, to prevent the entrance of evil spirits and wandering souls inside the house. In the same way, Pumpkin was also used by Indians to restrict the wanderers to a particular way and it was also used in magical ceremonies of keeping away the evil spirits.
Opportunity for tiny toddlers:
Both the western and Indian world gives opportunity to the kids to enjoy on this festival and celebrate it with zest. In west, children dress up as evil and devilish characters and go from one house to another to collect funds and similarly the Indian kids dress up in their best attire during the festive season of Deepawali.
Devil form of women:
As the evil ‘witch’ is widely prominent in Halloween and people dress up like them to scare them away, and not let them enter their house or destroy their harvest. The story of Adam’s wife Lilith, turning into a succubus is widely known and since then the demon role of women was evident. In Indian context, the furious and devilish form of Goddess Kali is revered on this day for ending Naraksura (demon). This shows that how a beautiful, elegant lady can transform into devilish form when she has been exploited and failed to get the respect as women.
So the two festivals are almost similar as the idea of feeding the ghosts or ancestors for pacifying their soul and celebrating the pious day of Diwali and All Saints Day and All Souls Day respectively; truly signify the connectivity among humanity and one world as a whole.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
The ultimate way to offer thanks to the ultimate source of energy ‘Surya Devta’ is a unique festival in this incredible India. Chhath is no more a regional festival of Biharis and Terai region Hindus, but is widely accepted by hilly origins and almost throughout India. Let us explore this Hindu thanks giving ceremony to God Sun.
- The auspicious tradition of Chhath puja was initiated by son of Surya, Karan who ruled over the Anga Desh (Munger district of Bihar) during the time of Mahabharata.
- Lord Rama and Mata Sita offered special prayers to lord Sun ad fasted after returning to Ayodhya from exile and begin the ritual of celebrating Chhath puja.
- The special powers were bestowed to Draupadi by Surya devta, which helped the Pandavas to regain back their kingdom of Hastinapur.
- To receive immense blessings and prosperity from Surya, Chhath is celebrated lively for four days period during the Hindu month of Kartik.
- First day is Nahai Khai i.e. ‘Nahai’ means ‘bathing’ and ‘Khai’ means ‘to eat’; the devotees take a holy dip in river or lake and holy water is taken at home to cook prasadam (offering food).
- The second day is Kharna, on which the worshippers perform ‘nirjalahaar’ vrat for about 8 to 12 hours. By the end of the day, the fast is eneded by adoring lord Sun and eating Prasad. Then another 36 hours fast is begins.
- The third day is the main festival of Chhath called Sandhya Argha. The devotees clad themselves in yellow coloured attire and offer the specially prepared food offerings to Surya Devta at the riverbank in the evening.
- The last day is Suryodaya Argha on which the devotees gives the early morning offerings at the riverbank and break their fast by having Chhath Prasad.
- This festival is a morning and evening affair on all the four days as the sunrise and sunset rays are most beneficial for human body and consists of low intensity of ultra violet rays.
- The traditional festival of Chhath showers you with positivity by detoxifying the mind, soul and body; and removes the negative energies by adoring the powerful Sun.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
Relationships are a precious gift that makes you feel special and loved in this world. The feeling of ‘Vasudev Kutumbakam’ is realized when the bonds of selfless love are nurtured and provides a reason to survive in this world. To cherish the connecting bond with our soul and the supreme Universe, become a part of the Indian traditional festivals. Here are few highlighting facts about Bhai-dooj.
- Bhai Dooj is referred by various names depending upon the states. Like Bhai Phota in Bengal, Bhai Tika in Nepal, Ningol Chakuba in Manipur, Yama Dwiteya in Orissa and Bhau beej in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.
- Bhai means ‘brother’ and Dooj means ‘second day after new moon’; so it is celebrated two days after Deepawali during the Shukla Paksh of Kartik month.
- The pious festival involves the applying of vermillion on brother’s forehead by revering the beautiful bond between brothers and sisters.
- To cherish the eternal knot between siblings, they exchange gifts and feasts are organized among family members.
- On this day, Lord Yama visited Yami and she greeted her by applying a vermillion mark on his forehead and praying for his longevity and well-being.
- Subhadra welcomed Lord Krishna by applying tilak on his forehead, when he reached home after defeating devil Naraksura.
- King Nandivardhan (brother of Lord Mahavira) was soothed by his sister Sudarshana, when Lord Mahavira attained nirvana.
- This day is the cultural representation of Indian culture where men and women clad in the best ethnic and elegant attires.
- Fasts is observed by the sisters till they apply tilak on their brother’s forehead and later they enjoy the lavish treat together.
- The post Diwali celebration of the five day festival is completed on a happy note and glorifies the eternal love of siblings and families.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja
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Read more: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101805797