Ganesh with a Fist-full of Rice and a Spoon-full of Milk

The birth of Lord Ganesh falls every year in the monsoon months of August or September. He is a very lovable God and worshipped before beginning any work or project. It is believed that Ganesh is the remover of all obstacles and so, one of his names is Vighaneshwar. A long time ago, in a…

Legend of Jagannath- Conquest of Kanchi.

A long time ago the King of Kanchipuram in South India solemnized the marriage of his daughter, Princess Padmavati, with the King of Puri in Kalinga. The King of Puri belonged to the Gajapati dynasty and was Purushottam Deva.  Puri’s reigning Deity is Lord Krishna, worshipped as Lord Jagannath.  In Puri, Jagannath Yatra is a…

The day river Ganga came to Earth

The River Ganga is the most revered river of the Hindus and all of us are aware of its journey from Gangotri in the Himalayas through all the major cities of the plains till it finally flows into the Bay of Bengal in Calcutta.  On its journey, it flows through the holy and ancient cities…

Buddha Purnima

Talking about Buddha Purnima with my students I realized that we mostly associate the date with Buddha’s Birth. As there is still no agreement on his actual date of birth  Gautam Buddha is believed to be born approximately between 563-483 BC, almost twenty-five centuries ago. Buddha Purnima is celebrated on the day of a full…

The story of Ram’s birth and the celebration!

Festivals and holidays are a part of our lives.  Almost every week we have a major or minor festival. Festivals are so woven in the fabric of our lives that their celebration and ritual are what contribute to our vivid culture.  On the 28th of March this year we celebrate Ram Naumi or Ram’s birthday….

The Hindu New Year !

The Hindu New Year is celebrated by different states of India on different days between March and April. These New Year Festivals follow the Hindu Lunar calendar and fall on different dates every year since it follows the movement of the moon. It is known by different names such as Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Baisakhi…

Story of Holika-

Holi Celebrations have a number of legends related to it.  The most popular is the story of Holika and her nephew Prahlad. Once upon a time, there was a King called Hiranyakashap. This is a story from the Puranas.  Hiranyakashyap’s brother was killed by Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashyap was very angry at this. He wanted to…

Maha Shivratri- The night of Shiva

We all celebrate the festival of Mahashivratri with fasting and cooking food which I feel is related to the crops harvested at this time. Don’t forget these festivals have been celebrated for centuries and the rituals and cultural practices vary from region to region. The variation may be slight but it is there as one…

Seven Champa Brothers and one Parul Sister

This is one of the most popular folk tales of Bengal narrated generation after generation. Once upon a time, there lived a good and kind king in a vast kingdom where peace and happiness reigned, food was bountiful, lush green trees with beautiful flowering plants abounded and because of the king’s virtues, the Gods smiled…

Celebrating Basant Panchmi/ Saraswati Puja

Saraswati Puja or Basant Panchami as the name suggests is celebrated on the fifth day of Maghi Shukla Paksha, which usually falls in February. This year it falls on 25th January. It signifies the worship of Goddess Saraswati or the Goddess of Learning and Music as She holds the Veena in her hand. The puja…

Lohri

Lohri is celebrated on 13th of January every year. Actually on this day the Sun enters the Capricorn Zodiac  known as Makara.  Growing up in various cantonments all over India we celebrated all festivals with equal gusto. It never occurred to us whether a particular festival was Punjabi, Hindu, Muslim, North or South Indian. So…