PONGAL 'O' PONGAL !
|Drawing Rangoli ( kolam ) is one of the impartant parts of Pongal Celebrations|
Pongal - Tamil Nadu
Just like what Thanksgiving is to Americans, Oktoberfest to Germans and Lammas to Scots, Pongal is to Tamilians. It is a time to celebrate and give thanks to God for a bountiful harvest. The festival is held in the month of January, known as Thai Masam in Tamil Calender. This is the time when people thank the Mother Earth and Sun God and their cattle(mainly Cow) for the plentiful paddy crop that has been harvested during the mild winter months.
The festival goes throught first three days of Thai Masam. Preperations for the festival take place well before the festival occurs. Houses are cleaned, painted and decorated. The courtyards and the entrances to houses are patterned with Kolams or Rangolis. It is celebrated in the rural parts of Tamil Nadu with great fervour, as it is a festival of agriculture. It is mainly celebrated by farmers, both poor and rich.
The first day of the festival is known as Bhogi Pandigai and it is dedicated to God Indra. The old and unwanted items from the house is burned at night. The second day is the most important one and it is known as Pongal. Main prayers on this day are for Sun God or Surya Deva. The third day is known as Mattu Pongal. People do pooja for their cattles. Cows and bulls are washed, decorated with bells and served milk and food. This is a festival awaited by the crowds of people in Tamil Nadu.
Navaratri - Tamil Nadu
Navaratri is one among the enthusiastically celebrated festival of Tamil Nadu. The name Navaratri is derived from the fact that it is celebrated over a time of nine nights. A variety of dolls and idols(of different Gods and Devotees) are arranged in a beautiful display. Apart from idols of Gods and Godesses, idols of national leaders and sets of dolls based on specific theme like cricket, wedding sre also made especially for the occasion. These dolls are made of plastic, clay or bone china.
The festival is a big draw among children, they enjoy setting up miniature parks, gardens and cricket pitches. Another reason Navaratri is popular among children is the special dish associated with the festival. Sundal, a dish made of pulses. Each of the nine days, a different pulse is used to prepare the Sundal. The festival is also marked by exchanging of gifts that comprise of betel leaves and nuts, coconuts, flowers, apples or bananas and blouse pieces.
The first three nights are dedicated to Goddess Durga (Goddess of Bravery), the next three nights to Goddess Mahalakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) and the last three to Goddess Saraswathi (Goddess of Education). The tenth day, is observed as 'Vijayadasami' (meaning victorious tenth day). It is believed that on this day, Lord Rama killed the demon Ravana. So, on Vijayadasami, effigies of Ravana are burnt all over India. This day is considered an auspicious day for any new ventures in business or studies. The tenth day is also celebrated as 'Ayudha Puja'. On this day people worship all instruments, vehicles and machinery, as it is said that the Pandavas took up their weapons after a long exile to fight the Kauravas on this day. This is festival is an old one and is still celebrated with fervour all over Tamil Nadu by the Hindus.
Krishna Jayanthi - Tamil Nadu
Krishna Jayanthi, the celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna, the most beloved and popular of Hindu dieties. It is known as Gokulashtami in South India and in North India it is called Janmashtami. The celebration is marked with preparation of sweets and savories which Lord Krishna likes, decoration of Krishna's idol, decoration of the floor with kolams, and also by drawing footprints of Lord Krishna from the door to the pooja place, representing infant Krishna's entrance into the home.
Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu's Dasavataram. He was born as a human and was destined to destroy the evil King Kamsa of Mathura. For the followers of Vishnu also called, Vaishnavas, Krishna is the supreme being. He has the supreme form and personality.
The city of Lord Krishna's birth, Mathura, celebrates the occasion with great fervour. A fast is observed by the devotees from morning and broken at midnight. Tamil Nadu celebrates Krishna Jayanti by making offerings such as cheedai, murukku, butter, sweets, payasam, sweet aval, sweet appam and other snacks to Lord Krishna. Grand celebrations and special pujas take place in temples of Lord Krishna.
Desert Festival - Rajasthan
There is an immense charm in this festival. It has become one of the most important events on the annual calendar in Rajasthan. It is actually, a showcase of the performance of arts in the region on the sands stretching around this desert.
The Golden City is best to visit when this festival is on prowl. It is usually held in January or February. The whole place is is filled with the sound of melodious tunes and rhythms every year. Many exciting competitions and folk dances are held. The most of all prominent contests is the turban-tying contest. The festival is enliven by the Mr.Desert contest and camel races held every year. Colorful craft bazaars are set up for the occasion and a sound and light spectacle is organized with folk artists performing against the splendid backdrop of the famous sand dunes on the full moon night. This is surely a not-to-be missed event.
Marwar Festival - Rajasthan
Marwar Festival is held in Jodhpur in the month of October. The event usually attempts to show the art and culture of the Jodhpur region. It is mainly meant almost for the songs and dance, and the Maand Festival has become a part of this huge regional celebration.
The Marwar region's music and dance are displayed in this festival. The professional folk dancers gathered around here, perform with activeness to entertain the audience with Rajasthani folklore. The memories of the brave heros in the region is brought into limelight in these dances which depict their lives.