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Monday, June 17, 2024

Hindu Festivals: celebration of rich Heritage and Culture of Bharat

“The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals.” India is the Land of Festivals and a diverse range of festivals are celebrated in India. Each of these festivals have some cultural, social, spiritual and moral significance. Hindu festivals serve as a means of expressing devotion, celebrating cultural heritage, fostering social harmony, and reinforcing ethical values. They contribute to the holistic development of individuals and communities within the framework of Hindu religious and cultural practices.

Hinduism believes in the philosophy of ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah (May all be happy)’, ‘Sarvatra Siddhih (Success everywhere)’ and ‘Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone triumphs)’. Elaborate rituals performed and spiritual significance of the festivals celebrated across the landscape inculcates a value of service before self in its followers.

Sanskrit shloka from the Barhaspatya Samhita of the Rigveda (ca. 1700-1100 BCE):

Himalyam Samarabhya Yavadindusarovaram Tam Deonirmitam Desham Hindusthanam Prachakshate,

“The land created by the gods which stretched from the Himalayas to the Indu (i.e. Southern) ocean is called Hindusthan, with the (Hindu) mentioned in word (Hindusthan).” Hinduism is the socio-cultural and emotional bond between the people from north to south and east to west. Numerous big and holy rivers flow in the southern part of India but when the Chola king Rajendra Chola decided to establish a new capital city of his empire, he took a firm decision to bring water from the holy river ganga flowing in the northern part of India. Additionally, he named the city after holy river Ganga, Gangaikonda Cholapuram.  

Sugriva was the brother of Bali. But Bali took away everything from Sugriva and insulted him, banished him from the kingdom and captured his wife Ruma. Lord Ram killing Bali to liberate Sugriva’s wife Ruma is the true example of significance and respect of women in Hindu society. In his last few words to Bali, Lord Ram affirmed that his vadh in the hands of Lord Ram was justified as his sin of banishing the dignity of a woman can’t be forgived. Lord Ram’s Rajya and life is the portrayal of true inclusiveness as he considered every living identity as equal.

Kewat was honored by Shri Ram himself, by Bharatji, Lakshamanji and also by all the three mothers of Shri Ram.

[Shri Ram said to Kewat: you are my friend and brother like Bharat. You should always keep on coming to Ayodhyapuri.]

The Rajya and Principles of Lord Ram are revered across communities, among all sections of society. The Rāmnāmī Samāj is a tribal Hindu sect that worships Lord Ram. Living mainly in Chhattisgarh, its adherents tattoo the word “Ram” on their bodies and wear shawls with the word “Ram” printed on it and headgear made of peacock feathers.

Hindu festivals have been the melting point of traditions and cultures from diverse regions of the country. Civilized human societies have developed around the festivals as the economic activities are at their apex position during the festive season. From a time long, these traditions have provided living to uncountable number of people. From artistic work of temple building to selling of flowers, Hindu temples are the centre of economic activities. The Diyas lighted on the day of Deepawali also present us with the intrinsic inclusive values of Hinduism, where the Diyas are made by natural clay by marginalized sections of the society which lights the whole nation and provides these people with a living. 

While Hinduism is the uniting force of this nation, there has always been numerous attempts to break the nation in the name of caste and class. From Periyar to current Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K Stalin, there has been attempts to eradicate dharma and establish own philosophies guided by own motives and selfishness. M.K Stalin’s son calling for eradication of Hinduism from a stage set for the same tells us about their ill motives.

Hindu Festivals aren’t the days for one to school on environment friendly ethical values. Hindu festivals are in itself eco-friendly and promote environment protection. On the occasion of Deepawali people light Diyas which are made of earth which is in itself totally natural and reduces again to earth. During the festival of Chhath in which the devotees worship Lord Surya (Sun), certain devotees fast for two days and offer natural fruits and home-made offerings to Lord Surya. There is a big significance of cleanliness in Chhath.

The offerings made to Lord Surya are then distributed among all the neighbours and devotees present at the Chhath Ghat. Everyone celebrates the festival of Chhath with great devotion, there is a big significance of helping each other during the festival. There is no barrier of class. The Bamboo Soop used by the devotees are basically made by the people belonging to economically and socially weaker sections of the society but the Soop has a sacred significance during the festival of Chhath.

The devotees take the blessings from those on fast no matter they are rich or poor, live in huts or palaces. This is the spiritual significance of Hindu festivals where devotion is worshipped above all odds.

Burning crackers is an essential part of the celebration of Deepawali. The crackers are prominently made in small scale factories which employ lakhs of workers.    

Each Hindu festival is directly linked to the lives of billions of people which provides joy to some of them and living for the others.

Hinduism is Aadi Anant. It was never born and it will never die. Hinduism is Dharma ordained by Gods and Goddesses and whoever wants to damage Hinduism will himself be ruined by Act of God.

धर्म की जय हो, अधर्म का नाश हो,

प्राणियों में सद्भावना हो, विश्व का कल्याण हो

-Satyam Vats

Centre of German Studies (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

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Satyam Vats
Satyam Vats
Student, Centre of German Studies Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi

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