Greetings of the hour, dear travelers. If you don’t mind traveling out in this heat, then allow me to introduce you to the May festivals and fairs of India.
By the way, not all the parts of India become hot during May. Southern India remains largely pleasant so go there at this time of the year and enjoy.
May festivals and fairs of India
1. Ganga Dussehra (May 24, 2018, Thursday)
Do you know that our holy river Ganga came to earth from heaven?
There is a story behind it.
Thousands of years ago, King Bhagirath vowed that he would bring the Ganga from the heavens to deliver moksha to his ancestors.
He prayed to Ma Ganga for very many years and pleased by his devotion, she finally decided to come down to Earth. That day when Ma Ganga descended from heaven is celebrated as Ganga Dussehra in North India. People worship this holy river in Haridwar, Allahabad, Benares and the other cities where she flows.
If you are in India around May 24, please visit Rishikesh or Haridwar and witness the surreal Ganga aarti.
Watch this Ganga aarti video and appreciate the richness of Indian culture
2. Apara Ekadashi (May 11, 2018, Friday)
You know what, these festivals and fairs of India give us an opportunity to repent our past bad deeds and purify ourselves.
Apara Ekadashi is one such fair when Hindus fast for an entire day to atone for their sins and become better human beings.
This fair is observed by people in Punjab, Kashmir, Odisha, and Bihar. There is an interesting story behind this Indian festival.
King Mahidavraj was just, virtuous and a kind person. His subjects loved him for these qualities. But, his younger brother, Bharajdhwaj was a cruel and selfish person. The younger sibling was jealous of the King and wanted to become the next ruler by any means.
One day, Bharajdhwaj killed his brother while the latter was sleeping and later became the king.The younger brother buried the body of Mahidavraj under a peepal tree and thought that nobody would discover his crime.
But the new king was always restless; his past misdeeds were always weighing down on his mind. In short, Bharajdhwaj had become a mental wreck. The new king was desperate for mental peace.
Luckily for Bharajdhwaj, Rishi Ghumay was visiting his kingdom at that time. Hearing that the great Rishi was in his kingdom, Bharajdhwaj decided to pay the former a visit and ask for a solution.
Rishi Ghumay was indeed a noble soul and after hearing the king suggested that he observe the Apara Ekadashi fast. This penance would surely purify Bharajdwaj, Rishi Ghumay assured the king. Of course, Bharajdwaj did as suggested by Ghumay and after death achieved Moksha or Nirvana.
How to observe Apara Ekadashi
On this day, devotees remain hungry for the entire day. If you cannot remain on an empty stomach, the perhaps you can have fruits and milk. Pray to Lord Vishnu and do not pluck leaves of Tulsi plant.
I think that by remaining hungry for one full day, you are actually donating your food to the needy. Don’t you think that this way, you are actually wiping away your past sins?
May festivals and fairs of India
3. Vat Savitri Pooja (May 15, 2018)
India is run by families. The basic building structure of our society is the family.
The Vat Savitri Pooja celebrates the Indian family. On this day, the lady of the household prays to Vat ( a tree) for the welfare of her husband and children.
The Vat tree is actually a banyan tree which is massive in size. If you see this tree closely then you will see its branches hanging down and trying to touch the ground.
In Hindu thought, the banyan tree represents the Holy Trinity- Bramha, Vishnu, and Mahesh. Hindu ladies also consider this tree as a form of Sati Savitri.
Most of you who have been reading this blog know the significance of the Holy Trinity but who was Sati Savitri?
Ladies and gentlemen, us Hindus consider Savitri as the embodiment of a perfect woman. She had fought with Yama, the Lord of Death, successfully and brought her husband back from the door of death.
That is why on Vat Savitri married Hindu women pray and worship the banyan tree for the welfare of their families.
4. Shani Jayanti ( May 15, 2018)
Yes, we all say Happy Birthday to our gods and goddesses. On Shani Jayanti, we wish Happy Birthday to Lord Shani who is one of the sons of Lord Surya.
This god is interesting company. His brothers include Manu ( from whom mankind has evolved), Yama (Lord of Death), and the Yamuna, one of the holiest rivers of India.
On Shani Jayanti, we practice celibacy which means no sex that day. There are other things also that we do this day like praying to Lord Hanuman, applying oil on the body before taking a bath, and serving the old and the infirm.
That is it, folks.There are other May festivals and fairs of India but I have kept this list short.
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