India is a land of festivals. Different parts of the year are marked with various festivals celebrated in equally diverse ways. From the New Year, we welcome festivities and enjoy each and every one of the festivals in a most customary way. In January comes Makara Sankranti which marks the start of the Sun’s northern course, known as the Uttarayana Patha. Termed as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated with a popular dish with the same name. Farmers worship their harvested crops during this festival. In Western India, people exchange jaggery coated sesame seeds, Til-Gul.
Indian Festivals are related to health and wealth. Kite festival is not an exception. Both Makar Sankranti (Uttarayan) and Basant Panchami come in the winter season. Makar Sankranti (Utran) comes on a fixed date of January according to the solar calendar but Basant Panchami is observed according to the lunar calendar. It usually comes in the month of January or February. Sun rays are very good for health in the winter season.
Indian sub-continent is a hot weather country and winter is not very long here. Sun rays are harmful in the summer. Hence, Indian people can take sunbath in winter only. Kite flying is a good way to get direct sun rays.
During February-March, the colourful festival of Holi is celebrated. Bonfires are lit in the evening of the first day. The second day is Rangapanchami when people irrespective caste and creed play colours.
Hence, the biggest celebration of Holi takes place at Mathura.
Shravan month will end by August 22. The series of festivities start from Independence Day. In the month of August, Gokulashtami is also celebrated. At midnight, the birth of Lord Krishna is replicated with pomp and ceremony. The next day is the Dahi Handi celebration when an earthenware pot filled with milk, curd, butter, honey, and fruits are suspended from a height. Young men and boys, called Govindas construct a human pyramid to reach the pot and claim the contents after breaking it.
Currency notes tied to the rope by which the pot is suspended, are distributed among the participants. The act replicates Lord Krishna’s love for milk and butter.
Every year during August or September, the birth of Ganesha is celebrated with the Hindu festival, Ganesh Chathurthi. During this time, participants worship Ganesha idols for 10 days and then immerse them in the sea or in other pools of water. Many of the ingredients to create the Ganesha idols are pollutants, and when millions of these idols are immersed into local seawater, lakes, ponds and wells, the water becomes polluted with toxins and kills marine life, year after year, causing great dame to the underwater ecosystem. Through this festival, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak had begun uniting Hindus and educating them about the evils of colonization.
October is the month when Navratri, a festival devoted to the Goddess Durga is celebrated over nine days. Bengali’s celebrate by worshipping Kali. The Dussehra festival mood and the spiritual feeling of Bengal came to the satellite city. Dussehra is being celebrated all over India in different ways. For example, Gujaratis play Garba during the nine-day festival and some of them observe fast as well. South Indians celebrate Navratri in a unique way by placing beautifully decorated dolls at home. The celebration started after Amavasya day and Golu will commence from the next day. In Northern India, the tenth day called Dussehra is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Rama over the demon-king Ravana. Giant effigies of Ravana are publicly burnt and Ramlila is also performed.
A few weeks later is Diwali, the festival of lights. Diwali celebrations start well ahead with people going in for high-level preparations for the festivity. The festival of lights around is the corner and we long to go for an environmentally safe Diwali. The celebrations associated with Diwali are also known to take a toll on the environment, including health risks among various individuals including young children and the senior citizens. It is our earnest desire to ensure that the festival is celebrated with joy yet without causing any substantial damage to the environment. The festival starts with high spirits and Diwali start with Dhanteras. Diwali signifies the victory of divine forces over those of wickedness.
Festivities go on throughout the year but of late we have learned to celebrate most of the festivals in an eco-friendly way and people realise the importance of keeping air pollution-free. Thus we keep maintaining festivities with celebrations but at the same keep things within the certain level and make it more memorable rather than making it miserable.
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