Indian Festivals
At a Glance

You can now listen and learn the history and significance behind all the popular Indian festivals here.

Indian festivals

India is the land of festivals, where people of all faiths coexist. The numerous Indian festivals celebrated in our country are a true reflection of the country’s rich culture and traditions. Many Indian festivals are celebrated every month that give us an opportunity of rejoice with our families, friends and society at large. 

To give an overview of all the popular Indian festivals, their origin, history, significance, timing and dates, we bring to you “Indian Festivals At a Glance” podcast. This show will would provide you (and our little listeners) with all the essential information that one should know about it.  So join us in this journey where we take you through the India’s cultural history.

What are the popular Indian Festivals?

The following Indian festivals are explained in our podcast, “Indian Festivals At a Glance”.

Birth & Spiritual Enlightenment of Lord Buddha

Return of Krishna with his brother and sister Balarama and Subhadra to Vrindavan

The festival of sacrifice

Freedom of India from British Raj

Welcoming The Mighty Mahabali

What are the Indian festivals in May 2021?

1. Buddha Purnima

In this episode of “Indian Festivals At a Glance”, we are going to talk about Buddh Purnima. Buddh Purnima or Buddha Purnima is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha.

One of this major Indian festivals, Buddha Purnima, is celebrated according to the Lunar calendar. Therefore every year it falls on different dates. Though it is primarily celebrated in the Baisakh month of the Buddhist calendar Not just India, Buddhism is followed in many more countries and it is also celebrated on different dates and in different styles.

  • In Japan: 8th April,
  • In Taiwan: 2nd Sunday of May,
  • In China & Korea: On the 8th day of the 4th month (Chinese Calendar)
  • In Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Malaysia: On the full moon day of Baisakhi

According to Hindu calendar, Lord Buddha or Gautam Buddha was born on the full moon day of the Baisakhi month. It is believed that he was born in around Lumbini 563 BCE or 480 BCE. His birth name was Siddharth Gautam. His father, Shuddodhan was the King of  Shaky Dynasty and his mother was Maya Devi. He was acquitted with everything and was destined to be a King in future but at the age of 29, he witnessed four such things that he willingly gave away his throne.

He saw an old man, a sick man, a dead man and a sage. After this Siddharth Gautam became Gautam Buddha and left his kingdom to find peace in meditation and simple life. He preached and inspired several people over the years and finally attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya under the Bodh tree. That is when, he finally became Lord Buddha or Buddha- The Enlighter. In 483 BCE or 400 BCE, at the age of 80 he receives “Mahanirvana” meaning, total extinction of individuality (according to the Buddhists).

  • In Cambodia, people celebrate Buddha Purnima by carrying Buddhist flags, Lotus, incense, and candles to acknowledge Lord Buddha.
  • In South Korea, Buddhists celebrate Lotus Lantern festival
  • In Indonesia, they have world’s biggest Buddhist temple and they organize large processions
  • In India, India Buddha Purnima is a public holiday but specifically limited to Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Bodh Gaya, Lahoul Spiti, Kinnaur, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Kurseong few towns in Maharasthra, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, and in Uttranchal. The festival is limited to these places because of the presence of 70% Indian Buddhists population there.

There is a popular tale of Sujata narrated on this day. It is believed that Sujata fed Gautam Buddha a spoon of “Kheer” that resulted in the end of his six years long uninterrupted meditation.  Though every country has its unique way to celebrate this occasion of Buddha Purnima but one common thing that binds them all is “Charity”. On this day, all the followers of Buddha donate according to their capacity.

We hope you have enjoyed listening to the history behind this popular Indian festival. We will soon bring to you more episodes of “Indian Festivals At a Glance”.

What are the Indian festivals in July 2021?

2. Rath Yatra

In this episode of “Indian Festivals At a Glance”, we are going to talk about Rath Yatra. Rath Yatra or the Chariot festival is one of the holiest and oldest festivals of India.

It celebrates the return of Lord Krishna with his brother and sister Balarama and Subhadra to Vrindavan. Though It is celebrated in India and across the world, the most famous is the Jagannath Ji Rath Yatra which is held at the beach town Puri, of Odisha, an eastern state of India.

The idol of Lord Jagannath, Balarama, and Subhadra are taken out in a procession on a huge chariot. It marks Lord Jagannath’s annual visits to the Gundicha Temple (Aunts Home) home near Balagundi Chhaka, Puri for nine days. In these nine days, he takes all his ten forms. After nine days they return to their home Jagannath Ji Temple.

We hope you have enjoyed listening to the history behind this popular Indian festival. We will soon bring to you more episodes of “Indian Festivals At a Glance”.

3. Eid Mubarak

“Itr ki khushboo, sivayion ki mithaas, Naye naye kapde, haathon mein mehndi aur jeb mein dher saari eedi… Aisa hota hai humaare India mein Eid ka Tyohaar… “

Eid is a holy festival of Muslims. There are two Eid holidays: Eid ul Fitr and Eid al Adha. The Hijri calendar, also known as the Islamic calendar, has 12 months but with 354 or 355 days.

First, let’s discuss Eid ul Fitr. The fasting month of Ramadan comes to an end on Eid al-Fitr, which means “feast of the breaking of the fast.”

During this month, people fast which is also known as Roza. During Roza, Muslims do not consume anything during the day. They only eat Sehri in the morning before sunrise and Iftaari in the evening after sunset. Without the moon, Eid celebrations would be incomplete.

The purpose of this month’s fasting and worship is to get closer to Allah and to show compassion to those in need.

Eid ul Adha, Bakr Eid, or Eid ul Zuha  means “festival of sacrifice.” This festival takes place on the 10th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.

Muslims all across the world celebrate Eid ul Adha to honor Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham’s) sacrifice, which he made following Allah’s order as a believer in Him.

Muslims believe that God tested the Prophet by commanding him to sacrifice his firstborn son, Ismail (Ishmail). Ibrahim followed Allah’s commands and laid down his beloved son for sacrifice, but at the last moment, Ismail was replaced with a sheep. 

The completion of Hajj, a five-day pilgrimage to Mecca that every able-bodied Muslim is obligated to accomplish once in their lifetime, is also commemorated on Eid al Adha.

The journey is said to cleanse the soul of sins and establish a spirit of equality, sisterhood, and brotherhood.

Men, women, and children dress up in their nicest attire for  Eid Ul Zuha, and wonderful dishes like Biryani and Kebabs are prepared in homes. Muslim families throw a feast and give out gifts to the less fortunate. Children are also given gifts known as “Eddie” in certain Muslim traditions.

We hope you have enjoyed listening to the history behind this popular Indian festival. We will soon bring to you more episodes of “Indian Festivals At a Glance”.

More content on Indian Festivals coming soon!