India - The Land of Festivals

Hinduism is often described as a religion of fasts, feasts and festivals. In India, the celebrations of fairs and festivals form a wondrous and joyful series of events, marking the rites of passage between birth, death and renewal. There are said to be more festivals in India than there are days of the year. There is celebration for every religious occasion, change of season and for every harvest. They are times when people gather together, linked by ties of shared social and religious beliefs. Vibrant colours, music and festivities make the country come alive throughout the year. 

Festivals in India are characterized by color, gaiety, enthusiasm, prayers and rituals. Foreign travelers are struck by the scale and multiplicity of Indian festivals that have evolved in the society. Fairs and festivals are moments of remembrance and commemoration of the birthdays and great deeds of gods, goddesses, hero's, heroine's, gurus, prophet's and saints. 

Indian Festival Calendar 2014
January February March April
Wed 01 - New Year's Day
Tue 07 - Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti
Sat 11 - Pausha Putrada Ekadashi
Sun 12 - Swami Vivekanad Jayanti
Mon 13 - Lohri
Tue 14 - Makara Sankranti / Uttarayan
Tue 14 - Ganga Sagar Snan
Tue 14 - Pongal
Tue 14 - Magh Bihu (Assam / Bengal)
Thu 16 - Paush Purnima
Sun 19 - Sakat Chauth
Sun 26 - Republic Day
Mon 27 - Shattila Ekadashi
Thu 30 - Mauni Amavas
Tue 04 - Basant Panchami / Saraswati Puja
Thu 06 - Ratha Saptami
Fri 07 - Bhishma Ashtami
Mon 10 - Jaya Ekadashi
Wed 12 - Kumbha Sankranti
Fri 14 - Magha Purnima
Tue 25 - Vijaya Ekadashi
Thu 27 - Mahashivratri
Mon 03 - Phulera Dooj
Wed 12 - Khatu Shyamji Festival
Wed 12 - Amalaki Ekadashi
Fri 14 - Meena Sankranti
Sun 16 - Holika Dahan
Mon 17 - Holi
Mon 24 - Sheetla Asthami
Thu 27 - Papmochani Ekadashi
Thu 31 - Chaitra Navratri
Thu 31 - Gudi Padava / Ugadi
Tue 01 - Chetti Chand
Wed 02 - Gauri Puja / Gangaur
Thu 08 - Ram Navami
Sun 13 - Mahavir Jayanti
Tue 15 - Hanuman Jayanti
Tue 15 - Baisakhi
Fri 25 - Vallabh Acharya Jayanti
Fri 25 - Varuthini Ekadashi
May June July August
Thu 01 - World Labour Day
Thu 01 - Parshuram Jayanti
Fri 02 - Akshaya Tritiya
Mon 05 - Ramanuja Acharya Jayanti
Tue 06 - Ganga Saptami
Thu 08 - Sita Navami
Sat 10 - Mohini Ekadashi
Sun 11 - Mother's day
Tue 13 - Shri Narsingh Jayanti
Wed 14 - Buddha Poornima
Wed 14 - Vrishabha Sankranti
Fri 16 - Narad Jayanti
Sat 24 - Apara Ekadashi
Mon 26 - Vat Savitri Puja
Wed 28 - Shani Jayanti
Sun 08 - Maheshwari Jayanti
Fri 13 - Saint Kabir Jayanti
Sun 15 - Mithuna Sankranti
Thu 19 - Ganga Dussehra
Fri 20 - Nirjala Ekadasi
Mon 23 - Yogini Ekadashi
Sun 29 - Jagannath Rath Yatra
Wed 02 - Sai Teun Ram Jayanti
Sun 06 - Bhadlya Navami
Tue 08 - Devshayani Ekadashi
Tue 08 - Chaturmas Vrat Begins
Sun 12 - Guru Purnima
Sun 13 - Shravan Maas Begins
Tue 22 - Kamika Ekadashi
Sat 26 - Hairyali Amawasya
Thu 31 - Hariyali Teej
Fri 01 - Nag Panchami
Sun 10 - Raksha Bandhan
Sun 10 - Amar Nath Yatra
Fri 15 - Independence Day
Sun 17 - Krishna Janmashtami
Mon 18 - Goga Navami
WThu 21 - Aja Ekadashi
WMon 25 - Sati Puja
WFri 29 - Shyamaharan Jayanti
Fri 29 - Ganesh Chaturthi
WSat 30 - Rishi Panchami
September October November December
Tue 02 - Radha Asthmi
Sun 05 - Charbhuja Nath Fair (Rajsamand)
Sun 05 - Jal Jhulni Ekadashi
Mon 08 - Annant Chaturdashi
Wed 10 - Pitru Paksha
Sat 13 - Kanya Sankranti
Sun 14 - Hindi Divas
Wed 17 - Vishwakarma Jayanti
Fri 19 - Indira Ekadashi
Tue 23 - SarvaPitru Amavasya
Thu 25 - Shri Agrasen Jayanti
Thu 25 - Shri Agrasen Jayanti
Thu 25 - Nav Ratra Sthapana
Thu 02 - Mahatama Gandhi Jayanti
Thu 02 - Lal Bhadur Shashtri Jayanti
Thu 02 - Durga Ashtami
Fri 03 - Maha Navami
Sat 04 - Dusshera
Sat 04 - Papankusha Ekadashi
Tue 07 - Sharad Poornima
Wed 08 - Valmiki Jayanti
Sat 11 - Karwa Chauth
Wed 15 - Ahoi Ashtami
Fri 17 - Tula Sankranti
Sun 19 - Rama Ekadashi
Sun 19 - Rama Ekadashi
Tue 21 - Dhanteras / Dhanvantri Jayanti
Thu 23 - Diwali, Lakshmi Puja
Fri 24 - Goverdhan Puja
Sat 25 - Bhai Dooj
Wed 29 - Chhath Puja
Sat 01 - Rajyotsava Day
Sun 02 - Kansa Vadh
Mon 03 - Devutthana Ekadashi
Mon 03 - Tulsi Vivah
Thu 06 - Guru Nanak Jayanti
Thu 06 - Kartik Purnima
Wed 12 - Guru Teg Bahadur Punya Divas
Thu 27 - Vivah Panchami
Tue 02 - Mokshada Ekadashi
Tue 02 - Geeta Jayanti / Geeta Jayanti Samaroh
Sun 07 - Ram Janki Vivah
Tue 16 - Dhanu Sankranti
Thu 18 - Saphala Ekadashi
Thu 25 - Christmas Day
Wed 31 - New Year Eve

All Hindu festivals have a deep spiritual importance or high religious significance. All great Hindu festivals have religious, social and hygienic elements in them. In every festival there is bathing in the morning before sunrise in the river or tank or well. Every individual will have to do some Japa, prayer, Kirtan, recitation of Sanskrit verses and meditation.

Indian Festivals are much more than celebrations. They are windows into the history of rich Hindu legends. They reveal the mind and philosophy of a nation through the different ages. Festivals have a cultural and social aspect which many feel transcends even their spiritual significance. They bring people together in friendship and love, and help heal broken relationships.