Featured Festivals

Shravan Month in Gujarat - Importance

posted 21 Jun 2012, 01:33 by GujaratiSamajPenang

Importance of Sawan Mahina in Hindu Gujarati Culture

Shravan (July – August) is one of the holiest months in a traditional Hindu calendar. Each region in India considers this month as holy and numerous vrats and rituals are performed during the period. In 2011, Shravan Month in Gujarat begins on July 31 and ends on August 29. Shravan is the 10th month in a traditional Gujarati calendar and numerous Vrat and rituals are observed in the month.

In Gujarat, Shravan is the month of Vrats and the Vrat cycle for many Hindu communities commences in Shravan. There are people who only take a single meal during the Shravan month. Strict vegetarian diet is followed by many. Some people read a particular holy scripture during the month.

Mondays in Shravan month is dedicated to Lord Shiva and devout Hindus perform the Shravan Somvar Vrat and continue it on all Mondays in Sawan. Some people observe it for years on the Shravan month. Usually, Shravan somwar Vrat is observed to get a good husband or for the welfare and long life of husbands and for a peaceful and happy life. Some couples also observe the fasting for saving their sons and daughters from serious diseases.

Fasting, pujas and rituals on Saturdays in Shravan month is observed to escape from the bad influence of Lord Shani

Veerpasli is a vrat observed on the first Sunday of Shravan and is continued for next eight days for the welfare of male members in the family. Noli Nom is observed on the ninth day of Shravan by childless couples.

Phool Kajali and Chokha Kajali are observed on the third day of waxing and waning phase of moon. This is for getting a good life partner and for a happy married life. Gai Vrat which is observed during the entire Shravan month is also to get a good husband.
Bhe Bharas is another ritual observed on the 12th day of Sawan and is observed near a water body.

Bol Choth is another important ritual observed by all the family members and it is for the welfare of cattle. People cook outside on the day. Other rituals that are observed in the month include Nag Pancham, Shitala Satam, and Randhan Chat.

There are just a few of the rituals that are observed in the holy month of Shravan. This is the month when Mother Nature nourishes with monsoon rains. All the lakes, ponds and rivers are full and there is green everywhere.

Some scholars are also of the opinion that it is during this period that waterborne diseases spread fast. So the numerous Vratas and rituals in the month are to keep people healthy.

Diwali

posted 1 Nov 2010, 03:01 by GujaratiSamajPenang   [ updated 24 Dec 2010, 00:16 ]

Diwali festival is a 5 day Hindu festival in India which occurs on the fifteenth day of Kartika. Diwali when translated means "rows of lighted lamps" and the occasion is also referred to as the Festival of Lights.

During Diwali, Indian homes are cleaned and windows are opened to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lamps, lights and candles are lit as a greeting to Goddess Laksmi.

Gifts are exchanged and sweets, festive meals are prepared during Diwali. Because there are many  castes and regions in India, there are myriad manifestations of the Diwali festival.

In some places, the festival begins with Dhanteras, a day set aside to worship Laksmi. In the Indian culture, wealth is not viewed as a corruptive power. Instead, a wealthy person is considered to have been rewarded for good deeds of a past life, i.e karma.

On the second day of the festival, Kali, the goddess of Strength, is worshipped.

On the 3rd day ( the last day of the year in the lunar calendar), lamps are lighted and shine brightly in homes. The lamp symbolizes knowledge.

The fourth day of Diwali falls on the first day of the lunar New Year. At this time, old business accounts are settled and new books are opened. The books are worshipped in a special ceremony by Indian priests and participants are encouraged to remove anger, hate, and jealousy from their lives.

On the last day (Balipratipada) of the festival, Bali, an ancient Indian king, is recalled and remembered. Bali destroyed the centuries old philosophies of the society. However, in addition to this, he is remembered for being a generous and kind person. Hence, the significance of this day is to see the good in others, including enemies.

The Jain communities celebrate Diwali as a New Year's Day. Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, attained his Nirvana on the day of Diwali.

Sikhs celebrate Diwali to express joy at the return of the sixth Guru to Amritsar in 1620; Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned him along with 52 Hindu kings.

The Guru was granted freedom but refused to leave until the kings were also released.

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