It’s October and that means it’s festival time

Are you ready?  You better be.  Festival season is about to hit hard and fast.   This month there are nine big name festivals to get involved in.  Here’s a run down of what’s on, when and where so you don’t miss out.

There’s a lot of festivals to get through this month, so without further ado here’s what you need to know.

Mahatma Gandhi ji’s Birthday, Sunday, 2nd October

Did you celebrate Gandhi Jayanti yesterday?  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, more commonly known as ‘Mahatma Gandhi’, was born on October 2, 1869.  On his birth anniversary, Gandhi’s contributions towards the Indian freedom struggle is remembered.  If you want to learn more about the Mahatma click here.

Navatri / Durga Puja / Durga Visarjan, Early October until Tuesday 11th October

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Waving off Ma Durga at Yamuna Ghat

Navatri and Durga Puja started on the first of the month.  Temporary pandels have popped up across the city.  On the 11th the women folk with wave farewell to Ma Durga and wish her safe journey back to Kalkalji to be with Lord Shiva.

Delhi’s sizable Bengali community will be celebrating Durga Puja big time. The ghats on the banks of the Yamuna will be packed with worshipers immersing their idols on Durga Visajaran.

Dussehra, Tuesday 11th October

A Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil.  On this day Lord Rama killed the demon-king, Ravana, rescuing his abducted wife Sita in the process.  Lord Rama did this with the help of Hanuman Ji, the monkey deity known for his courage and selfless service.  Check out the various Ram Lila sites across Delhi and get to see giant effigy’s of Ravana explode in the evening!

Day of Ashura, Muharram, Wednesday 12th October,

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The day after Muharram at the Karbala, Jor Bagh.

Ashura Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, starts on the 1st of October and ends on the 31st October.  On the day of Ashura, the 12th October, the death of Husayn (Hussein), grandson of Muhammad is commemorated.  Large prayer meetings, parades and marches take place.  The Karbala, Jor Bagh, South Delhi, is at the centre of the commemorations.   It’s a fascinating place to be.

Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti, Sunday 16th October

Maharishi Valmiki, also known as Valmiki, was the author of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana.  This poem contains a staggering 24,000 verses!  A contemporary of Lord Rama, it’s said that Valmiki taught the Ramayana to Rama’s two twins, Kusha and Lava.

Karaka Chaturthi, Wednesday 19th October 

A harvest festival, also known as Karva Chauth, occurs on the fourth moon after the full moon.  It’s traditionally celebrated in the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, but is popular in capital’s given the NCRs diverse make up.

Married women fast for the day, some husbands do the same to offer their support and unmarried girls may forgo food to help in their search for a good husband in the future.

Naraka Chaturdasi, Saturday 29th October

On this day the demon ruler Naraksura was killed by Lord Krishna, Satyabhama and Kali.  The powerful king obtained his powers from Lord Bharama, but used them to imprison women and torture his people.

Krishna, Satyabhama and Kali are celebrated on this day for killing  Naraksura and setting the people free.

Diwali, Sunday 30th October

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Diyas light up Delhi on Diwali night

Diwali (or Deepavali), a Hindu festival celebrating the safe return of Lord Rama after his battle with Ravana.

It’s the biggest festival in the Hindu calendar and celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil.  It’s widely known as the festival of lights.  It’s shopping time too.  Head off to the Diwali melas and enjoy excessive amounts of sweets in the run up to the big day.

Govardhan Puja, Monday 31st October

If you have any energy left after Diwali, Govardhan Puga is celebrated the day after the festival of lights.  It’s another chance for Hindus to heap praise on the mighty Lord Krishna.

This time Krishna convinced the people not to worship distant gods in far-away lands, but their avatars on earth.  Indra, the god of rain, annoyed by Krishna’s activites caused a great storm.  To protect the people, Krishna lifed Mount Govardha with his little finger to act as an umbrella.  Indra’s storm raged, but Krishna stood firm.  Indra relented, travelled to earth and bowed in front of Krishna.

That’s it!  What a month awaits.

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