The biggest celebration for Hindus, the festival of lights (Diwali or Deepavali), is celebrated on the amavasya night of the month of Ashvin (usually in late October or early November). The festival, which celebrates among many things, the return of Lord Rama (of the Ramayana) to his native land of Ayodhya after completing fourteen years of stay in the forest with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana.
The second day of the Diwali festival, is the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of the month of Ashvin, and is called Narak-Chaturdashi or Kali Chaudas and also known as Chhoti (-small) Diwali. This day is dedicated to the victory of Lord Krishna over the wicked demon king Narakasur.
Narkasur had fought against neighbouring kings and imprisoned 16,000 women, daughters of the Gods and saints. He had also defeated Lord Indra and taken away the magnificient kundale (earrings) from the ears of Aditi, mother of the Gods. When Lord Krishna learnt about Narakasur’s deeds, he decided to engage him in battle and liberate all the celestials.
Dhanteras is celebrated on the thirteenth day (teras) of the Krishna paksha (the waning cycle) of the lunar month of Ashwin in the Hindu calendar. It heralds the beginning of the five days of Diwali, the biggest festival for Hindus in India and all over the world.
The spirit of Navaratri – a festival of nine (-nava) nights (-ratri) is a vibrant reminder to us of the power of the feminine in our lives. One aspect of the feminine is shakti – often described as power, or energy. The significance of shakti is perhaps explained best by the two words Shiva-Shakti. Shiva is the potential, Shakti is the energy that enables the realization of that potential.
Pitra Paksha, also known as “Shraadh” or “Mahalaya”, is a fortnight (fourteen days) dedicated to paying homage to our departed ancestors. It is observed during the dark fortnight of Ashwin or Aswayauja and usually occurs in September/October. The last day of the Pitra Paksha is known as “Mahalaya Amavasya” – the great night of the new moon or Amavasya. It is perhaps the most significant day of this fortnight as the ceremonies conducted on this day are considered to be the most beneficial to the “Pitra” or the ancestors. Read full article…
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