Why Hindu Festivals Matter ?

Hindu festivals are many. So much that, almost every day is a festival day. That is, if one lists all the special days across different Hindu traditions.

However, even with that variety, there are some common things among the festivals.

Jump to a list of Hindu festivals. Mark your calendars to observe them.

(Hindu) Festivals Celebrate Values

Why Hindu holidays matter ? They celebrate values. And values are reminders to our connection with the Supreme.

Lost in our daily routines, these special days ring us out of our normal day. Many of the festivals commemorate a past event. And remind us of the values connected with it.

For example, Rama Navami marks the birth anniversary of Shri Rama. Shri Rama is the ideal man. And the values he embodies are something for us to aspire for. So, each Rama Navami reminds us about those values.

Some of these are occasions to express our gratitude to the various entities that enable our happiness. For example, during Makara Shankaranti, we worship and thank the Sun. Without Sun, life on this earth is impossible.

Moon, Sun

When a festival happens is mostly based on position of the Moon. And sometimes the position of the Sun. Sometimes both.

When a festival is observed depends on position of Moon or Sun or position of both Moon and the Sun

For the list of Hindu festivals given below, 69% of festivals are based on the Moon and 24% based on Sun position and 7% on both Moon and Sun positions.

Hindu festivals based on position of: Moon 69%, Sun 24%, Both 7%Percent of Hindu festivals based on position of Moon or Sun or Both

But then, this is a list by a person who grew up in a Tamil Smartha tradition with a bit of exposure to some of the festivals across other traditions.

If this were a list by someone else, say, from the traditions of the Ganga plains, the list would be different.  About 95% of them might be based on the moon position.

Two things that are common across all the various festivals:

  1. Festivals celebrate values
  2. When it is celebrated is based on position of Moon or/and Sun

Hindu Holiday Season

During my younger days, I used to look forward to the holiday season.

A festival season starting from Upakarma/Raksha Bandhan around August. The festival excitement used to further build up through Onam, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri and reach a peak at Deepavali.

Looking at the Hindu calendar now, it turns out that it is a span of two and a half months. And I count seven festivals from the list.

Not much, in terms of number of festivals. But then, many of them are multiple day festivals. That, probably, made it look like a long Hindu holiday season.

The Hindu Festival ?

Diwali is the most anticipated festival for me. And it was also the most important festival in our family traditions.

Different traditions have different festival as important. It differs from family to family. City to city. Region to region.

There is a friend of mine. For their family the most important festival is Narasimha Jayanthi.

Narasimha is their family deity. And they observe Narasimha Jayanthi in a very elaborate way. This is very specific to his family.

Sometime back, we had moved our Veda Pathashaalaa to Nachiyar Kovil (near Kumbakonam) for about six months.

The town is famous for its brass work, especially brass lamps. The brass artisans community make up most of the people in Nachiyar Kovil.

Which is the most important festival differs from family to family. City to city. Region to region.

At Nachiyar Kovil there is a Mariamman temple festival. Whole city was in a celebration mood during that time. This festival is very specific to a city.

Onam is the biggest festival of the Malayalam traditions. This is true, irrespective of jaati or varna. And it is a unique festival only to the region of what today constitutes the state of Kerala.

After being exposed to different Hindu traditions, if I were to pick one festival that could be called the festival of most traditions, it would be - Diwali.

List of Hindu Festivals

Here is my list of Hindu festivals. 2017 and 2018 being the current and next year, have added each festival's occurrence in those years. The list starts with the Hindu new year.

Such lists are personal choices. The other day, I came across a list that included Independence Day (15 Aug) and Republic Day (26 Jan).

The list below includes festivals that we observe at home, and ones I have come across in various other traditions.

Some, I came across only in my adult life and some I have been observing since childhood. Some of those childhood memories are because of the distinct food dishes made during those festivals. yum, yum, yum... :)


Date 1

Date 2


Chaandramaana New Year

Moon based

2017 Mar 29

2018 Mar 18


Rama Navami

Moon based

2017 Apr 5

2018 Mar 25


Sauramaana New Year

Sun based

2017 Apr 14

2018 Apr 15


Akshaya Tritiya

Moon based

2017 Apr 29

2018 Apr 18


Narasimha Jayanthi

Moon based

2017 May 9

2018 Apr 28


Moon based

2017 Jul 9

2018 Jul 27


Sun based

2017 Jul 21,28

Aug 4,11

2018 Jul 20,27

Aug 3,10


Varalakshmi Vrta

Moon based

2017 Aug 4

2018 Aug 24



Moon based

2017 Aug 7

2018 Aug 26


Raksha Bandhan

Moon based

2017 Aug 7

2018 Aug 26


Both Moon and Sun based

2017 Sep 4

2018 Aug 25


Krishna Janmashtami

Moon based

2017 Aug 14

2018 Sep 2


Vinayaka Chaturthi

Moon based

2017 Aug 25

2018 Sep 13


Moon based

2017 Sep 6-19

2018 Sep 25 - Oct 8


Sharad Navaratri

Moon based

2016 Oct 1-11

2017 Sep 21-30


Moon based

2017 Oct 18,19

2018 Nov 6,7


Kartika Somavara

Sun based

2017 Nov 20,27

Dec 4,11

2018 Nov 19,26

Dec 3,10


Kartika Deepam

Both Moon and Sun based

2017 Dec 3

2018 Nov 22


Dhanur Maasa

Sun based

2016 Dec 16 to

2017 Jan 13

2017 Dec 16 to

2018 Jan 14


Hanuman Jayanthi

Moon based

2016 Dec 28

2017 Dec 18


Vaikunta Ekadashi

Moon based

2017 Jan 9

2017 Dec 29



Moon based

2017 Jan 12

2018 Jan 1



Moon based

2017 Jan 12

2018 Jan 1


Makara Sankranti/ Pongal

Sun based

2017 Jan 14

2018 Jan 15


Ratha Saptami

Moon based

2017 Feb 3

2018 Jan 24


Shiva Ratri

Moon based

2017 Feb 24

2018 Feb 14


Karadayan Nonbu

Sun based

2017 Mar 14

2018 Mar 15


Moon based

2017 Mar 13

2018 Mar 2

Check out this and this, being two other versions of a list of Hindu festivals.

› Festivals

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