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Important Hindu Festivals With Their Dates From 2011 to 2015
This article includes a list of the most important Hindu festivals, with a brief description of each. Dates of these important Hindu festivals for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 are also mentioned. The order in which Hindu festivals are listed is in the order of the year.
Makar Sankranti: This is the festival of the Sun God. According to the Hindu calendar, Makar Sankranti marks the end of an inauspicious period that begins in mid-December. It also marks the end of winter and the beginning of a new harvest season. In many parts of India, this festival is celebrated by flying kites. Unlike most Hindu festivals, which are based on the lunar calendar, this festival follows the solar calendar. Therefore, this day is celebrated on January 14. Depending on the Earth’s axis, this holiday is changed every 80 years.
Dates: January 14, 2011, January 14, 2012, January 14, 2013, January 14, 2014, January 14, 2015.
Vasant Panchami and Saraswati Puja: This festival marks the beginning of spring. It is also a day to pay respect to Goddess Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, wisdom, music and art. Goddess Saraswati has 4 arms representing mind, intellect, ego and vigilance. He plays the Veena (a sitar-like instrument) with both hands. In the third hand he holds the lotus symbol of knowledge and in the fourth hand he holds the holy scriptures.
Dates: February 18, 2011, January 28, 2012, February 15, 2013, February 4, 2014, January 24, 2015.
Maha Shivaratri: There are many tales about why Maha Shivaratri is celebrated. According to one popular story, when Parvati asked Lord Shiva what his favorite ritual was, Lord Shiva replied that the thirteenth night of Maa’s moon was his favorite day. Since then, the day is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. His devotees fast all day and keep vigil all night. Wash the Shiva Linga with milk, honey, water and bael leaves. It means purifying the soul.
Dates: March 3, 2011, February 20, 2012, March 10, 2013, February 28, 2014, February 17, 2015.
Holi: According to legend, the demon king Hiranyakashipu was blessed by Brahma and made him invincible. He forbade the worship of gods. His son Prahlada continued to worship Lord Vishnu. An attempt to kill Hiranyakashipu Prahlada may fail. Holika was Prahlada’s demonic sister. He was also blessed to not be destroyed by fire. A fire of wood was made and Holika sat on it. Prahlada was ordered to sit on his sister’s lap. When the fire was lit, Prahlada was unharmed, but Holika, who was unable to be caught in the fire, was reduced to ashes. Holi is celebrated to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
Holi is a festival of colors and people traditionally throw colors and water on each other. Bhang (cannabis) is also used.
Dates: March 20, 2011, March 8, 2012, March 27, 2013, March 17, 2014, March 6, 2015.
Ram Navami: Lord Ram is the 7th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Ram Navami is a birthday celebration.
Dates: April 12, 2011, April 1, 2012, April 20, 2013, April 8, 2014, March 28, 2015.
Hanuman Jayanti: Hanuman jayanti celebrates the birthday of the monkey god Hanuman. Hanuman was the son of the wind god Vayu. Hanuman is known for his strength and devotion to Lord Ram and Sita.
Dates: April 17, 2011, April 6, 2012, April 25, 2013, April 15, 2014, April 4, 2015.
Raksha Bandhan: Raksha Bandhan strengthens the special bond between brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters tie Rakhi (sacred thread) on their brothers’ wrists, and brothers reaffirm their promise to protect their sisters.
Dates: August 13, 2011, August 2, 2012, August 21, 2013, August 10, 2014, August 29, 2015.
Krishna Janmashtami: This festival celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna was born in the middle of the night in prison and the next day his evil uncle Kansa had to execute him. Krishna’s father Vasudeva ran away with Krishna and handed him over to his friends Nanda and Yashoda to raise him.
As a child, Krishna was very naughty. He used to break the earthen pots in which his mother kept butter and milk. On Krishna Janmashtami, young men recreate this scene by creating human pyramids to break the high-hanging butter and milk containers.
Dates: August 22, 2011, August 10, 2012, August 28, 2013, August 17, 2014, September 5, 2015.
Ganesh Chaturthi: This 10-day festival celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesh, the god of prosperity, fortune and wisdom. Hindus consider it auspicious to invoke the name of Lord Ganesh before starting any new venture.
On the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi, idols of Lord Ganesh are brought and placed on the altar. These idols are worshiped and then immersed in a body of water (sea, lake, river, etc.). Depending on personal beliefs, immersion can be done at any time during the 10-day festival.
Mumbai hosts the most colorful and vibrant Ganesh festival. Large pandals (tents) are set up where devotees can come and pray. The immersion ceremony is accompanied by music and dance.
Dates: September 1, 2011, September 19, 2012, September 9, 2013, August 29, 2014, September 17, 2015.
Navratri: Navratri in Sanskrit means nine nights. The nine forms of Goddess Shakti/Devi are worshiped for nine nights and ten days. Navratri is divided into three intervals of three days. Durga (also known as Kali), the destroyer of evil, is worshiped on the first three days. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshiped for the next three days. On the last three days, Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, music and art, is worshipped. In the order in which it is written, nine goddesses are worshiped on the nine nights of Navratri – Maa Shailaputri, Maa Brahmacharini, Maa Chandragantha, Maa Kushmanda, Maa Skanda Mata, Maa Katyayani, Maa Kalaratri, Maa Mahagowri and Maa Siddhidaini.
Navratri is a joy of worship, feasting, music and dance. Garba folk dance and Dandiya (stick dance) are very popular in Western India.
Dates: September 28, 2011, October 16, 2012, October 5, 2013, September 25, 2014, October 13, 2015.
Dussehra – Vijay Dashami: Dussehra is celebrated the day after Navrati. It is the day when Ram defeated Lord Ravana. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
As part of the celebration, an effigy of Ravana is filled with fireworks and burnt at the end.
Dates: October 6, 2011, October 24, 2012, October 14, 2013, October 4, 2014, October 22, 2015.
Diwali and Lakshmi Puja: The Festival of Lights is one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar. It celebrates the return of Ram, Sita and Lakshman to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. According to legend, the citizens of Ayodhya lit earthen oil lamps on the way to bring Ram back to Ayodhya.
The five-day festival of Dhanteras begins, during which businesses begin their financial year. It is also the day when families buy ornaments.
The second day, ‘Naraka Chaturdasi’, celebrates Lord Krishna’s victory over Naraka.
On the third day, Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped to ensure prosperity. It is the main day of Diwali.
The fourth day, ‘Annakuta’ or ‘Shukla Paksha’ marks the day when Lord Krishna started worshiping Govardhan.
On the fifth day, Bhai Dooj strengthens the bond between brothers and sisters. On this day Lord Yama visited his sister Yamuna.
Traditional lights are lit on all five days of Diwali and the sound of fire crackers will be heard on all five days.
Dates: October 26, 2011, November 13, 2012, November 3, 2013, October 23, 2014, November 11, 2015.
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