Popular Festivals Of India | Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi & More Festivals

 

India is well known all over the world as a country of cultural and traditional festivals as it has many cultures and religions. One can enjoy the festival celebration in India every month. As it is a secular country full of diversity in the religions, languages, cultures and castes, it is always crowded with the people involved in the fairs and festivals celebration. Watch this wonderful animated video about the popular Festivals celebrated in India.

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Spread cheer this Christmas!

Christmas is a merry making festival marked in History as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Christmas is a prelude to a New Year and is symbolized by the jolly man in red, Santa Claus and gifts! This is an auspicious time when families get together and spread cheer all around. During this festival people summarize the whole year with a good note and together they take a step towards a New Year!

It’s the season of giving. As the holidays approach, many people look for ways to help the needy. There are food drives, school fundraisers and end-of-year donation solicitations galore, and it can be hard to decide where to direct your generosity. A fun and easy way to help low-income children in your area is to buy Christmas gifts for them. Many kids would not get any gifts on Christmas morning if it weren’t for the support of their community.

As much as we want our children to get excited about all the festivals, we also want to teach them to focus their hearts and minds outward on others. Not all kids are equally fortunate to celebrate this festival of merry making. So, this Christmas make a slight effort to put a smile to their faces by being their Santa!

While we dance to the rhythm of celebration and put a smile to someone’s face, let us all tune in to Shemaroo Kids and enjoy a compilation of Kid’s Christmas songs. Here we go:

 

 

Facts about Easter Sunday

Happy Easter _ Easter Sunday

Easter is a festival of overwhelming joy that celebrates life. But what is the History behind this festival? Most important, why Jesus is so remembered on Easter? Let’s find out more about this day.

The crux of Easter is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, from His tomb after his crucifixion. Easter is the holiest day of Christian calendar. It is a celebration of resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. So what does this miracle has to do with a bunny delivering painted eggs. The answer lies in a hundred generations of rituals and customs.

Forty days prior to Easter, begins the Lent season, special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works in preparation of the celebration of Easter. This has significance to Jesus Christ’s journey till his resurrection. According to the gospels of the New Testament, Jesus Christ and his apostles’ entered Jerusalem to observe Passover-the Jewish Holy season that celebrates the Hebrew’s freedom from slavery. After the Passover supper, Jesus was arrested and on, what now is called Good Friday, he was crucified. This incident also throws light on the “Fourteen Stations of The Cross”.

fourteen station of the crossTwo days later Christ rose from the death. Those of Jewish origin were the first to celebrate resurrection likely as a new facet of the Passover festival. In fact, the Easter celebration was called Pascha. It’s derived from the word Pesach, the Jewish translation for Passover.

Originally Easter was celebrated two days after Passover, so it fell on any day of the week. But Easter Wednesday didn’t just feel right. In 325 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine and the council of Nicaea mentioned that Easter would only fall on a Sunday, the day when Christ rose. The Easter Sunday will be the first Sunday to follow the full moon after the spring equinox. They could occur anytime between March 22nd and April 25th.

Around the same time Christians began one of the first recorded rituals on modern Easter celebration – the lighting of the Paschal candle. Its flames reminded of Christ’s resurrection. Also, during this time worshipers placed a lamb under the altar to be blessed. Lamb had played an important role in Passover. So, early Christians portrayed Christ as the Lamb of God.

As Christianity spread throughout Europe different Pagan customs blended into the holidays. Easter is named for a Saxon goddess who was known by the names of Oestre or Eastre, and in Germany by the name of Ostara. She is a goddess of the dawn, spring and fertility which brings us to the Easter eggs. Eggs have been a mythological symbol of birth for thousands of years. Christians adopted the egg as an Easter custom sometime around the 13th Century. The yolk inside a shell represented Christ’s emergence from the tomb. Eggs were painted red to represent the blood Christ shed on the cross. Decorated eggs bring with them a wish for the prosperity of the abundance during the coming year. The colourful Easter eggs soon hatched its own traditions. A popular one was egg rolling.

So when did Easter Bunny come to the scene? The fertile rabbit have long been a symbol of new life in European Pagan celebrations. There is a sweet Christian legend about a young rabbit who, for three days, waited anxiously for his friend, Jesus, to return to the Garden of Gethsemane, not knowing what had become of him. Early on Easter morning, Jesus returned to His favourite garden and was welcomed the little rabbit. That evening when the disciples came into the garden to pray, still unaware of the resurrection, they found a clump of beautiful larkspurs, each blossom bearing the image of a rabbit in its canter as a remembrance of the little creature’s hope and faith.

Children build nests in their homes to entice the rabbit to visit and so began the custom of the Easter egg hunt and the Easter basket. To celebrate this festival Chocolatiers across the world began making chocolates in the shape of eggs as a sweet Easter tradition. Today billions of dollars are spent on making Easter candy.

Easter is a joyful day when Christians celebrate the resurrection. For two thousand years customs have been added – some spiritual, some fun, but Easter is also the time for families to gather and welcome spring, when new life emerges after the dead of winter.

 

The Festival of Colours: Holi

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Holi is a colourful and most fun-filled festival which is celebrated in the month of March, usually in the latter half of the month. It is a festival, with dancing, singing, and throwing of multi-colour powders and coloured water. Numerous legends and stories associated with Holi celebration make the festival more exuberant and vivid. The most popular one is related to the killing of Holika. The story centres on an arrogant king Hiranyakashyapu who wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship him. But his son Prahlad refused and worshiped Lord Vishnu instead. He attempts to kill his son but fails each time. Finally, the king’s sister Holika, who is said to be immune to fire, sits with the young boy in a huge fire pyre. However, the prince Prahlad emerges unscathed, while his aunt burns to death. Holi commemorates this event from mythology, and huge bonfires are burnt on the eve of Holi as its symbolic representation.

Holi is also a festival of love and unity and celebrates the triumph of good over evil. The festival is celebrated with lot of pomp in north India. It is celebrated with vibrant colours – these colours are actually colours of joy, colours of love and colours that fill our life with happiness to the core of our hearts. It adorns each life with its various hues.

This festival of colours also signifies the everlasting love between Radha and Krishna. Young Krishna is known to be very playful and mischievous. The story goes that as a child, Krishna was extremely jealous of Radha’s fair complexion since he himself was very dark. So Krishna’s doting mother Yashoda asked him to go and colour Radha’s face in whichever colour he wanted. In a mischievous mood, naughty Krishna applied colour on his beloved Radha’s face, making her one like him.

On this joyous occasion, people follow the tradition of smearing colour onto the faces of their friends and guests, playfully. Interestingly there is another version of Holi , called the Lathmar Holi played in some parts of Uttar Pradesh. While playing with colours is the essence of the festival, it can be at times very dangerous, in case you do not take precautions. This is because, in the present time, the colours available for Holi are made of harmful chemicals, which may prove to be hazardous if not used properly, without precautions. Therefore, you should take safety measures, if you want to ensure a joyous and colourful Holi. In the following lines, we have provided some safety tips for Holi.

  • The best option would be to play with natural homemade colours. Protect your skin and hair by using safe organic colours that are environment-friendly too
  • Use more of the red or pink colours which look good and can be easily taken off. Gaudy purple, green, yellow, orange have more harmful chemicals in them and should be avoided. Try picking the organic ones!
  • Make sure that your face is well creamed before and after the colour play
  • Oil your hair well, so that colour doesn’t stick on your hair and can be washed off easily later
  • Make sure that powder or any other product does not get inside your eyes. Eyes are extremely vulnerable on Holi because of the use of harmful chemicals in colours these days. Please ensure that your eyes remain protected at all times
  • Put on your old clothes so that you won’t have to take on the hassles of an immediate washing
  • There is a change in season as post winter spring creeps in. The thandai served during Holi is rich in dry fruits and spices which help further strengthen the immune system and protect against the changing seasons.
  • Avoid throwing water filled balloons or even being attacked by one!
  • At last, play with dry colours or use minimal water. Water is a resource that should not be wasted

With little care, have a colourful and safe Holi, the symbol of love and beauty in life!