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.
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.
When a festival happens is mostly based on position of the Moon. And sometimes the position of the Sun. Sometimes both.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Here is my list of Hindu festivals. 2021 and 2022 being the current and next year, have added each festival's next two occurrence. 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 is mostly Festivals of Tamil Nadu. 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...
2021 Apr 13
2022 Apr 2
2021 Apr 21
2022 Apr 10
2021 Apr 14
2022 Apr 14
2021 May 14
2022 May 3
2021 May 25
2022 May 14
2021 Jul 24
2022 Jul 13
2021 Jul 16,23,30
Aug 6, 13
2022 Jul 22,29
2021 Aug 20
2022 Aug 12
2021 Aug 22
2022 Aug 11
2021 Aug 22
2022 Aug 11
2021 Aug 21
2022 Sep 8
2021 Aug 30
2022 Aug 18
2021 Sep 10
2022 Aug 31
2021 Sep 21- Oct 6
2022 Sep 11-25
2021 Oct 7-15
2021 Nov 4
2022 Oct 24
2021 Nov 22,29
Dec 6, 13
2022 Nov 21,28
2021 Nov 19
2022 Dec 6
2020 Dec 16 to
2021 Jan 13
2021 Dec 16 to
2022 Jan 13
2021 Jan 13
2022 Jan 2
2022 Jan 13
2023 Jan 2
2021 Dec 20
2023 Jan 6
2021 Jan 28
2022 Jan 17
Makara Sankranti/ Pongal
2021 Jan 14
2022 Jan 14
2021 Feb 19
2022 Feb 7
2021 Mar 11
2022 Mar 1
2021 Mar 14
2022 Mar 14
2021 Mar 29
2022 Mar 18
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