Holi, also called the Festival of Colours, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in India, Nepal, Srilanka, and countries with large Hindu diaspora populations, such as Suriname, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, UK, USA, Mauritius, and Fiji.
In West Bengal of India and Bangladesh it is known as Dolyatra (Doul Jatra) or Basanta-Utsav ("spring festival").
The most celebrated Holi is that of the Braj region, in locations connected to the god Krishna: Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon, and Barsana. These places have become tourist destinations during the festive season of Holi, which lasts here to up to sixteen days.
The main day, Holi, also known as Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing colored powder and colored water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. Holika Dahan is referred to as Kama Dahanam in Andhra Pradesh.
Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March. In 2015, Holika Dahan is on March 05, 2015 and Holi (Dhulandi) is on March 06, 2015 .
Rangapanchami occurs a few days later on a Panchami (fifth day of the full moon), marking the end of festivities involving colors.
There are many stories of the origin of Holi. The most widely held belief is that Holi marks the day when the devotee of lord Vishnu, Bakt Prahlad, seated on the lap of demoness Holika, was saved from the effect of the fire by God and the demoness got burnt instead. Other stories relate to the death of demon Putana at the hands of lord Krishna and to the burning of demoness Hoda by children. Some link the festival with the worship of Karma, God of pleasure and destiny. The main day, Holi, also known as Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing colored powder and colored water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (death of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad had when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. Holika Dahan is referred to as Kama Dahanam in Andhra Pradesh. Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of 'good' over 'bad'. The colorful festival bridges the social gap and renews sweet relationships. It is the second most important festival of India after Diwali. Holi in India is a festival of fun and frolic and has been associated with the immortal love of Krishna and Radha. The exuberance and the festivity of the season are remarkable. On this day, people hug and wish each other 'Happy Holi'. People rub 'gulal' and 'abeer' on each others' faces and cheer up saying, "bura na maano Holi hai". Holi also gives a wonderful chance to send blessings and love to dear ones wrapped in a special Holi gift. Unlike all the other festivals of India, Hindu Holi festival is one such festival where one can put down the social taboos and indulge in the intoxicating drinks and sweets prepared by using opium. It is a festival of romance often represented by the love-play of Radha and Krishna. Brij Holi is famous all over the world for its gaiety in spirit. Each year, young and old, men and women, all indulge themselves in the spirit of colors and for once forget the social taboos. There are mouthwatering delicacies to savor such as 'Gujhias' and 'Papris' and there are interesting traditions and customs of Holi that have their own regional variances. We will also talk about making natural and healthy colors and safety precautions that one must take to enjoy Holi.
Imagination and creativity are always there in Piyush’s Mind, by now (Jan,2015) Piyush has completed 15 World Famous Books in 8 different Ways.
Following Books Written with Hands By Piyush Goel in Mirror Image in Different Ways.
Madhushala of Late Harbans Rai Bachchan father of Amitabh Bachchan. (In Hindi using Needle)
Gitanjali of Rabindranath Tagore 1913 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature(In English using Mehndi Cone).
Piyush Vani of Piyush Goel on Aluminium Sheet (Hindi and English/Iron Nail).
Piyush Vani of Piyush Goel on Transparent Sheet(Hindi and English/Fabric Cone Liner).
Panchtantra of Vishnu Sharma on A-4 White Paper(Hindi/Carbon Paper).
Meri Ikyavan Kavitain of Shree Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Magic Sheet (Hindi/Wooden Pen).
Chanakya Niti (Hindi/Ink & Wooden Pen).
Piyush Goel has written Kautilya’s Chanakya Niti with Ink and Wooden Pen,all 381 Sanskrit Slokas & 585 Suktiyan on 419 Pages and Thickness of Book is 7 Inches and weight of the Book 10 Kgs.
Importance of Makar Sankranti / Uttarayana - Kite-Flying Festival
Makar Sankranti is an important ‘Thanksgiving’ festival of India. In Tamil Nadu it is celebrated as Pongal. Makar Sankranti signifies a bountiful harvest and flourishing of wealth. People believe that by thanking god they are able remain happy and lead healthy life and reap success throughout the year. The day on which sun enters the zodiac sign called Capricorn (Makara Rasi or Zodiac sign) is considered as an auspicious day. The period from Makarsankrant (the passage of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn) to Karkasankrant is called the Uttarayan. In Sanskrit the word ‘Sankranti’ means transition. On this day sun begins its northward movement and the Hindu almanacs call this northward transition of the sun as Uttarayana patha. The day also coincides with the commencement of the Tamil month Thai. The day usually falls on 14th January every year. Of course this is the only festival that adapts solar (Hindu) calendar. The other festival dates are determined according to lunar calendar. It is believed that holy dip in perennial rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, and Kaveri will have huge significance. The Great Kumbh-Mela will be held once in every 12 years on this holy day at Prayag.
Different Names in Different Regions
It is celebrated all over India as well as in few South East Asian Countries with different names. In Uttar Pradesh, Sankranti is celebrated with the name Khichiri’. In Himachal Pradesh and Punjab it is called Lohri. In Assam it is known as Bhogali Bihu. In West Bengal and Orissa it is simply celebrated as Makar Sankranti. It is still more simply called Sankranti in Bihar, Karnataka and Kerala. In Gujarat and Rajasthan the festival is named as Uttarayan. The festival is also celebrated with different names in different nations e.g., Nepal (Maghe sankranti), Thailand (Songkran), Laos (Pi Mao Lao) and Myanmar (Thingyan) (ref: Wikipedia)
Three Days Festival
Pongal is a three days festival in Tamil Nadu. The first day is called Bhogi Pandigai. The second day is called Great Pongal or Makara Sankranti. The third is called Maatu Pongal (thanking the livestock especially cow).
The Word and Meanings
Pongal is a Tamil word which signifies the festival as well as the name of the main dish prepared using the newly harvested rice, dal, jaggery and milk. The fruits and vegetables are also obtained fresh from farm. Pongal means boiling.
How Preparations Made for Pongal Festival ?
The month Thai is considered as an auspicious month by Tamils. It is believed that dawn of the Tamil month Thai will mitigate all miseries. People will discard all old things and replace with new things. They will clean whitewash their house. They also decorate the house with kolams (Rangoli). They will purchase new dresses, jewelry and utensils. They will also prepare sweets. The farmers will offer fresh vegetables and fruits to their near and dear. The villages in Tamil Nadu also consider this as a communal festival. The temples will also get new facelift. Womenfolk decorate the temple premises with kolam, mango and coconut leaf festoons. The married daughters will receive harvested crops, vegetables, fruits, coconuts, utensils and money from their parents. Young girls decorate themselves with henna and share with friends and relatives. Women and young girls wear new clothes, wear golden and silver ornaments, volunteer.
How Pongal Festival celebrated?
The Sankranti or Pongal day is dedicated to Lord Sun, the savior of this world with His golden rays. In every household the pongal is cooked in the early morning at their front yard. Fresh earthen pots are fetched and decorated with kolam (drawing lines and curves with rice flour to beautify). For cooking they will use traditional wooden log flame. Fresh milk and water are allowed to boil and the froth will come out of the pot. It is believed as an auspicious sign. After this rice will be added and allowed to cook. Following this powdered jaggery and cardamom powder will be added. Now ghee will be added and the ingredients will be stirred well. At the end the dish will be decorated with ghee roasted cashew and raisin.
It is customary to tie the turmeric plant at the neck of the pot. They will make a tripod using sugarcane stems (with leaves) tied at the top. The pongal pots will be placed under this tripod. They will be a small pooja and prayer. They will rejoice their festival by shouting ‘Pongal –O – Pongal’. They will feed all housemaids, farm servants, workers, dobhis, barbers and every one come to their house.
How Maatu Pongal Celebrated?
The third day of the Pongal festival is devoted to cows and bulls. The Hindus always worship cow as Gomatha. It is a merry making festival. The cows and bulls will be bathed in water. The horns are shaved and painted. The neck bells are tied. The forehead will have the sandal and kumkum. They will also prepare pongal. Offer prayer to god. They will feed the animal with pongal, plantain, greens etc.,
Significance of Jallikatu (Tamil Bull Fight)?
In South Tamil Nadu Jallikatu (Tamil Bull Fight) is a sport held on this day in prominent villages like Alanganallur and Thammampatti. This sport is considered as showing courage and valor. The raging bulls will be driven from an enclosure towards the youths. The youths are determined to tame the bull and take the prize money or gold from the neck strap of the cow. The wild animal will be frightened by the noisy music bands and will jump on the youths and try to escape from them. If the animal is disturbed or prevented, it will injure the youths. In most of the occasions people will get their stomach punctured by the sharp horns of the bulls. However the culture activists and village folks are supporting jallikatu. But animal sympathizers are against jallikatu. Year by year the issue is debated and the sports also held every year without fail.
Happy Uttarayan / Makar Sankranti & Pongal to All My friends All Over the World!
Here...colorful Kites in shop shelves...
And this is how those colorful strings are made...
cute kid giving air to Kite, thats called ''Patang Apaay..'' in Gujarati [patang = kite]
People on terrace...even before 14th Jan, practicing....
Malls and even small shops get into groove....look below
and whole day, kites color the sky....and in evening sky is......
Kite festival of gujarat
Harvest Festival PONGAL
The Festival originated in Tamil Nadu and popularly known as “Tamizhar Thirunal”. The festival is celebrated for four days to provide sincere thanks and prosperity that the farmers and his work which payed us..
First day Jan 13 - Bhogi
Bhogi is the first day of this harvest festival which is celebrated by throwing away and destroying old materials on fire thereby marking the end of the old and the emergence of the new.
Second day Jan 14 - Pongal
The second Pongal is the main day of the festival. It is celebreated by boiling rice with fresh milk and jaggery in new pots that are later topped with cashew nuts and sugar and allowing it to boil over the pot in the early morning. The moment the rice boils out of the pot, the tradition is to shout “Pongaloo pongal”. Sugar cane is bought and placed in every houses to symbolise the celebration of this great festival in Tamil Nadu.
Third day Jan 15 - Maattu Pongal
The third day of the festival is known as “Maatu pongal” which is a occasion for offering thanks to cattle for their help to farmers in the field of Agriculture. On this cattle are well decorated with paint, flowers and bells and are allowed to roam. The cattle are then well fed with sweet rice and sugarcane.
Fourth day Jan 16 - Kaaanum Pongal
The final day “Kaanum pongal” is to thank the relatives and friends for their support. During this day people visit their friends and relatives to enjoy the pongal season.People flock together at beaches , parks and temples there by having a great day out.
This four day Harvest Festival is to honor the farmers for their hard work.. May god bless them.. Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Pongal..
The second day of Pongal known as 'Surya Pongal' is dedicated to the Sun God. The granaries are kept full on this day and Sun God with his rays are painted on a plank as he is worshipped with the birth of the new auspicious month of Thai (Tamil month). A special dish is cooked on this day in a new mud-pot that comes in innovative shapes and have artistic designs on them called 'Pongapani'. A colorful sugarcane market is also set up on this day. The third day known as 'Mattu Pongal' is dedicated to the cattle as cowherds and shepherds pay thanks to their cows and bulls, wash them, paint their horns and cover them with shining metal caps. They are fed 'pongal' and tinkling bells are tied around their neck. Cattle races are conducted and in the game called 'Manji Virattu' groups of young men chase running bulls. Bull fights called 'Jallikattu' are also arranged at some places where young men have to take the money bags tied to the horns of ferocious bulls single-handedly and without the use of arms.
Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. While it may have been religious in origin, Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday. It is sometimes casually referred to as Turkey Day.
In Canada, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October, which is Columbus Day in the United States. In the United States, it falls on the fourth Thursday of November.
Thanksgiving Day is also celebrated in Leiden, in the Netherlands. A different holiday which uses the same name is celebrated at a similar time of year in the island of Grenada.
Thanksgiving Day is a joyous family festival celebrated with lot of enthusiasm in US, Canada and several other countries. Thanksgiving Day Festival commemorates the feast held by the Pilgrim colonists and members of the Wampanoag people at Plymouth in 1621. On this day people express gratitude to God for his blessings and give thanks to dear ones for their love & support. Feasting with family is an integral & most delightful part of Thanksgiving Day celebrations.
Origin of Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving is America's preeminent day. It is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in the month of November. It has a very interesting history. Its origin can be traced back to the 16th century when the first thanksgiving dinner is said to have taken place.
Journey of Pilgrims
The legendary pilgrims, crossed the Atlantic in the year 1620 in Mayflower-A 17th Century sailing vessel. About 102 people traveled for nearly two months with extreme difficulty. This was so because they were kept in the cargo space of the sailing vessel. No one was allowed to go on the deck due to terrible storms. The pilgrims comforted themselves by singing Psalms- a sacred song.
Arrival in Plymouth
The pilgrims reached Plymouth rock on December 11th 1620, after a sea journey of 66 days. Though the original destination was somewhere in the northern part of Virginia, they could not reach the place owing to winds blowing them off course. Nearly46 pilgrims died due to extreme cold in winter. However, in the spring of 1621, Squanto, a native Indian taught the pilgrims to survive by growing food.
Day of Fasting and Prayer
In the summer of 1621, owing to severe drought, pilgrims called for a day of fasting and prayer to please God and ask for a bountiful harvest in the coming season. God answered their prayers and it rained at the end of the day. It saved the corn crops.
First Thanksgiving Feast
It is said that Pilgrims learnt to grow corn, beans and pumpkins from the Indians, which helped all of them survive . In the autumn of 1621, they held a grand celebration where 90 people were invited including Indians. The grand feast was organized to thank god for his favors. This communal dinner is popularly known as “The first thanksgiving feast”. There is however, no evidence to prove if the dinner actually took place.
While some historians believe pilgrims were quite religious so, their thanksgiving would've included a day of fasting and praying, others say that the Thanksgiving dinner did take place.
Turkey and First Thanksgiving Feast
There is no evidence to prove if the customary turkey was a part of the initial feast. According to the first hand account written by the leader of the colony, the food included, ducks, geese, venison, fish, berries etc.
Pumpkin and Thanksgiving Feast
Pumpkin pie, a modern staple adorning every dinner table, is unlikely to have been a part of the first thanksgiving feast. Pilgrims however, did have boiled pumpkin. Diminishing supply of flour led to the absence of any kind of bread.
The feast continued for three days and was eaten outside due to lack of space. It was not repeated till 1623, which again witnessed a severe drought. Governor Bradford proclaimed another day of thanksgiving in the year 1676. October of 1777 witnessed a time when all the 13 colonies joined in a communal celebration. It also marked the victory over the British.
After a number of events and changes, President Lincoln proclaimed last Thursday in November of thanksgiving in the year 1863. This was due to the continuous efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor. She wrote a number of articles for the cause.
Thanksgiving Day Symbols
Thanksgiving symbolizes the joy of loving, caring, sharing. It is all about togetherness and merry making. The festival stands for the 'Oneness' of people. It epitomizes peace, harmony and union. People world over thank the Lord almighty for all the blessings and material possessions bestowed on them.
A symbol is an arbitrary sign (written or printed) that has acquired a conventional significance. Special thanksgiving symbols prevalent world over are:
Pumpkins are a Thanksgiving favorite for about 400 years.Another modern staple at almost every Thanksgiving table is the customary 'Pumpkin Pie'. It is not sure whether pumpkin was one of the dishes in the first thanksgiving dinner. Pilgrims probably made a pumpkin dish sweetened with honey or syrup. They were however a part of all traditional meals long before the arrival of pilgrims. Pumpkin leaves were also used as salads. According to historians, other seasonal vegetables included squash. People at that time were not particularly fond of vegetables, they were mostly meat eaters. Pumpkin is one of the important symbols of the harvest festival and has been an American-favourite for over 400 years now.
Turkey is an inseparable part of Thanksgiving celebration. The celebration of Thanksgiving will be incomplete without the legendary Turkey. It derives its name from the 'turk turk' sounds it makes when scared. Turkey was at one time being considered as the national symbol of America. Benjamin Franklin felt that turkey was the right choice because it was a good runner and had a sharp sight. A bald eagle later became the national symbol of America.
First Thanksgiving Feast
The famous 'Turkey' adorns the table of every household as a main course during the celebration. The customary dinner reminds of the 'Four Wild Turkeys' served at the 'First Thanksgiving Feast'.
It is said, that pilgrims had a feast consisting of cooked turkey after their first harvest in the year 1621, which popularly came to be known as 'First Thanksgiving Feast'. It continued for three days and included ninety Indians. There is however no evidence to prove that turkey was cooked during the first feast. It could have been Venison-flesh of a deeror wild goose meat.
According to folklore Queen Elizabeth of 16th century England was chewing a roast goose during a harvest festival. During the meal, she got to know that the Spanish Armada, on its way to attack England had sunk. In the joy of good news, she ordered for a second goose. Goose became a favourite bird at harvest time in England. However, when the pilgrims arrived in America, they replaced the roasted goose with roasted turkey as main course as it was easier to find and in plenty.
Today, every house cooks turkey as the main dish during the celebration. It is the main mascot of the modern-day thanksgiving. The festivity completes with the customary 'Turkey Song'.
Thanksgiving Day Turkey Song
O turkey dear
O turkey dear
How lovely are thy feathers
O turkey dear
O turkey dear
There could be nothing better!
We celebrate Thanksgiving Day
By putting your carcass on display.
O turkey dear
O turkey dear
You thought we were friends who came to greet you.
O turkey dear
O turkey dear
We gathered here to eat you!
O turkey day
O turkey day
The family is all together
O turkey day
O turkey day
We've over come bad weather
Seeing the family is so fab
We'll see ya'll again in rehab.
O turkey day
O turkey day
We'll drink away your memory.
Corn were a part of first thanks giving feast & are popular till date. Corn is one of the popular symbols of thanksgiving. It came in many varieties and colours-red, white, yellow and blue. Some Americans considered blue and white corn sacred. It is said that native Americans had been growing corn a long time before the pilgrims arrived in their country. The oldest corns date 7000 years back and were grown in Mexico. Americans taught pilgrims how to grow corn and help them survive the bitter winter of 1620. It is certain that corn were a part of the first thanksgiving dinner.
The tradition continues and corn finds its place on every dinner table world over during thanksgiving dinner. Ornamental Corncobs are quite popular during the festival. They are used to decorate dining tables and make harvest wreaths- A popular gift item among Americans. Ornamental popcorns are also widely used. Corn reminds us of the importance and heritage of the famous harvest festival. It also remains America's foundation of 'Modern-Agriculture '.
Cranberry sauce is turkey's favorite thanksgiving feast partner. Cranberry, is a symbol and a modern diet staple of thanksgiving. Originally called crane berry, it derived its name from its pink blossoms and drooping head which reminded the pilgrim of a crane. The name was later changed to what is popularly known as Cranberry. Pilgrims soon found out a way to sweeten the bitten cranberries with maple sugar. Ever since cranberry sauce is a permanent companion of turkey during thanksgiving feast.
Cornucopia is a horn-shaped basket filled with fruits & goodies. Cornucopia is the most common symbol of a harvest festival. A Horn shaped container, it is filled with abundance of the Earth's harvest. It is also known as the 'horn of plenty'. The traditional cornucopia was a curved goat's horn filled to brim with fruits and grains. According to Greek legend, Amalthea (a goat) broke one of her horns and offered it to Greek God Zeus as a sign of reverence. As a sign of gratitude, Zeus later set the goat's image in the sky also known as constellation Capricorn.
Beans are regarded as the third of the Indian Three Sisters. Beans are a special symbol of thanksgiving. Native Americans are believed to have taught the pilgrims to grow beans next to cornstalks. This was so that beans could grow and use cornstalks as their pole. Thus American beans are also known as 'Pole Beans'. Famously known as one of the 'Three sisters', beans are a part of thanksgiving feast. Courtesy : http://www.thanksgiving-day.org/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving