Five fun August festivals

IMG_0688Are you ready?  I hope so.  A busy few months of festivals and celebrations is about to begin.

This month there’s five dates to mark in the diary.   Namaste New Delhi’s guide will give you all the information you need to know about what’s happening, when, where and why. Here goes.

Teej will be celebrated on the 6th August

Teej coincides with the monsoon.   Hindu Girls and women come together to celebrate Goddess Parvati and her union with Lord Shiva.

Women celebrate nature’s bounty thanks to the rains and pray for the long life of their husbands.  Singing, dancing, prayer rituals are performed.  A fast will also be kept by women.

Last year I learnt that some men, not all, fast as well.  It’s India, don’t expect festivals rules and rituals to be consistent.  There are three types of Teej festival and different things happen at each.

If you want to find out more about Teej take a look at the Teej Festival website.

15 August is Independence Day

You might have guessed that Independence day is on the way.  On the 15th August 2016 Indians will celebrate the 70th anniversary of independence and freedom from British Rule.

It’s a national holiday and Narendra Modi ji, India’s Prime Minister, will be at the Red Fort, Delhi, to address the crowds.  There will be a lot of flag waving, kite flying and a military march past.

You’ll have probably already seen kids practising their kite flying skills in advance of the big day.

Head to Old Delhi early to soak up the atmosphere.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting various independence orientated blogs to give some more information on this most important of days.

Parsi New Year is celebrated on the 17th August

India’s dwindling Parsi population can primarily be found in Bombay, Maharastra.  Parsi’s are in Delhi too and the Delhi Parsi website gives some information on the local community.

Arriving in India over a 1,000 years ago, Parsis (which means Persians) are followers of the Iranian prophet Zoroaster who lived in Iran some 3,500 years ago.

Parsi New Year, also known as Noruz, will see fires lit and feasting.  Wondering why fires are lit?  Well, back in ancient times, when there were no temples, books or religious imagery, light served as the focus for Parsi religious practice.

Ratan Tata, India’s most successful businessman was a Parsi, as was Queen front man Freddie Mercury, who was born Farrokh Bulsara.  I bet you didn’t know that.

Find out more about the Parsi faith at this website

Raksha-bandhan on the 18th August

I bet you’ve seen red threads on women’s arms.  No?  Take a look.  Raksha Bandhan, on full moon day, celebrates brotherhood and love.  Brothers and sisters wrap sacred threads (Rakhi) around each other arms and exchange vows.

On this day brothers re-affirm their promise of love, affection and protection for their sisters.  They  also give them gifts.

Women can also choose to give the gift of Rakhi to male friends that they have developed a close bond with.  It’s a way of saying to a men let us just be friends.  It turns the relationship into a sisterly one.  I bet there’s quite a few disappointment men around on Raksha Bandhan.

Find out more about the festival on this website.

And last, but by no means leads, its Janmashtami on the 25th August.  This a big one!

On this day Lord Krishna appeared on the earth. His birthday is celebrated with great fervour by Hindus.

Last year I was baffled.  Walking around Lodi Colony and Mehar Chand Marg the celebrations were in full swing.  Children were running around with big smiles, cradles and cribs were out on street corners and plays were taking place.

I had no idea it was Janmashtami, nevermind what it meant.  This year I can’t wait to get involved.

Lord Krishna appeared around midnight, so it will be a late night.

All you ever wanted to know about Janmashtami can be found on this website

There you go.  I given you five good reasons to have some fun.

And eat some sweets.  What more could you want?  Let’s celebrate.

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