19 September, 2010

Sri Vithappa Fair

Sri vithappa fair is the popular fair held in the honor of the vithappa deity in the village Vithappa. The first fair was held 200 years back since then the fair has become the regular practice and organized every year in the month of September or October or on the fourteenth and fifteenth day of Ashwija month.
 
The three day long fair is witnessed by 7 to 8 thousand people from adjoining areas.

This fair has a religious and folk importance. 

Celebrations:

The fair is organized with high festive spirits as the celebrations are marked by the grand procession with devotees carrying the holy deity in a palanquin. 60 parties of drummers from different parts of
Karnataka also accompany the holy procession. 

There is also trend of offering the sacrificed sheep before the deity which is later sold by the priest or pujari and the amount gained is credited to the temple funds.

There are many religious beliefs associated with the Sri Vithappa fair like turning of milk (brought for offering) into curd before offering to god is considered a good omen.


Another trait related with the fair is the collection of grains from bag kept in the temple by a person from Chunchanoor village during the fair. It is believed that if these grains are sowed into the
farms then will result in rich yield for that very year.


18 September, 2010

Ram Navami

The birthday of Lord Rama, the celebrated hero of the famous epic, 'Ramayana', is enthusiastically celebrated on the ninth day of the waxing moon in the month of Chiatra, all over India. Lord Vishnu is worshipped in his human incarnation as Rama, the divine ruler of Ayodhya. Celebrations begin with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning. At midday, when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special prayer is performed. 

People sing devotional songs in praise of Rama and rock, images of him in a cradle to celebrate his birth. Rathyatras or chariot processions of Ram, his wife Seeta, brother Lakshman and devotee Hanuman are held from many temples. People gather in thousands on the banks of the sacred river Sarayu for a dip. Some observe a strict fast on this day.

Ayodhya is the focus of great celebrations. Devotees throng the temples of Ayodhya and Pondicherry, two places closely connected with the events of the Ramayana to participate in Ramnavami festivities.

Sri-Ramnavami is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama. It occurs on the ninth day (navami). The festival commemorates the birth of Rama who is remembered for his preperous and righteous reign. Ramrajya (the reign of Rama) has become synonymous with a period of peace and prosperity. Mahatma Gandhi also used this term to describe how according to him, India should be after independence.

Ramnavami occurs in the month of March. Celebrations begin with a prayer to the Sun early in the morning. At midday, when Lord Rama is supposed to have been born, a special prayer is performed. In northern India especially, an event that draws popular participation is the Ramnavami procession. The main attraction in this procession is a gaily-decorated chariot in which four persons are dressed up as Rama, his brother Laxman, his queen Sita and his disciple Hanuman. Several other persons dressed up in ancient costumes as work by Rama's solders accompany the chariot. The procession is a gusty affair with the participants shouting praises echoing the happy days of Rama's reign.

Surya - The Sun was recognised as the source of light and heat even in ancient times. The importance of the Sun was much more in the higher latitudes from where the Aryans are supposed to have migrated into India. Many royal dynasties portrayed symbols of virility like the Sun, Eagle, Lion etc. as their progenitor. Rama's dynasty considered them to have descended from the Sun. This could have led to the tagging on, of Rama's birthday to a festival devoted to the sun.

On the face of it Sri-Ramnavmi appears to be just a festival commemorating the reign of a king who was later deified. But even behind present-day traditions there are clues, which unmistakably point to the origin of Ramnavmi as lying beyond the Ramayana story.

Sri Ramnavami occurs at the beginning of summer when the sun has started moving nearer to the northern hemisphere. The Sun is considered to be the progenitor of Rama's dynasty, which is called the Sun dynasty (Raghukula or Raghuvamsa, Raghu means Sun and Kula or Vamsa mean familial descendant). Rama is also known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, Raghavendra etc. That all these names begin with the prefix Raghu is also suggestive of some link with Sun worship. The hour chosen for the observance of the lord's birth is that when the sun is overhead and is at its maximum brilliance. In some Hindu sects, prayers on Ramnavami day start not with an invocation to Rama but to Surya (sun). Again the syllable Ra is used in the word to describe the sun and brilliance in many languages. In Sanskrit, Ravi and Ravindra mean Sun.

Significantly, the ancient Egyptians termed the sun as Amon Ra or simply as "Ra". In Latin the syllable Ra is used to connote light. For example, we have Radiance which emission of light, or Radium, which means any substance emitting light or brilliance. The common element is the syllable Ra that in many languages is used to derive words for describing Sun or light.

The occurrence of this syllable in most names used for Rama along with other clues is strongly suggestive that the festival Ramnavami antedates the R- ayana and it must have originated much before the Ramayana, as a 'Sun-festival' for invoking the Sun who was recognised as the source of light and heat even in ancient times. The importance of the Sun was much more in the higher latitudes from where the Aryans are supposed to have migrated into India. Many royal dynasties portrayed symbols of virility like the Sun, Eagle, Lion etc. as their progenitor. Rama's dynasty considered them to have descended from the Sun. This could have led to the tagging on, of Rama's birthday to a festival devoted to the sun.

There is some link between Lord Rama and Sun Worship. The Sun is considered to be the progenitor of Rama's dynasty, which is called the Sun dynasty (Raghukula or Raghuvamsa, Raghu means Sun and Kula or Vamsa mean familial descendant). Rama is also known as Raghunatha, Raghupati, and Raghavendra etc. That all these names begin with the prefix Raghu is also suggestive of some link with Sun worship. 

The hour chosen for the observance of the lord's birth is that when the sun is overhead and is at its maximum brilliance. Significantly, the ancient Egyptians termed the sun as Amon Ra or simply as "Ra". In Latin the syllable Ra is used to connote light. For example, we have Radiance which emission of light, or Radium, which means any substance emitting light or brilliance. The common element is the syllable Ra that in many languages is used to derive words for describing Sun or light.


Pongal

Pongal - Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh:


In South Sankranti becomes Pongal. It is a celebration of the harvest, which is observed for three days in January. Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal and Mattu Pongal, are the three days of Pongal festivities on successive days. In certain parts cattle races still enliven the village festivities. Pongal is a colourful and traditional festival with many a ceremony devoted to various deities. 

Pongal is an important festival in India, and we pray to the Sun God on this occasion. In North India, it is known as Sankaranthi. 

The sun is very powerful and helps in the growth of the paddy and other plantations. So this festival is very important for farmers and so it is celebrated in a grand manner in villages. The house is cleaned, and all maintenance jobs are done before this festival. During the four-day festival, different varieties of Rangoli are drawn in front of the houses early in the morning.

Bhogi The celebrations start on the last day of Margazhi, which is known as "Bhogi". On this day, we get up very early in the morning to take head bath. We place all the trash in front of the house and inflame it. We dispose old and useless things from our house and replace with new ones. Then we draw rangoli in front of the houses.

Pongal
Reaping of paddy is done. Using the new rice, the recipe "pongal" is made and offered to God. The sun God moves in chariot driven by seven horses. A picture of the chariot is drawn in an open space when the sun arrives. A small sun is drawn at the centre of the chariot. We place turmeric sprigs and sugarcane in the pooja and pooja is done onto the chariot. Then the dishes are offered to God. Once the pooja is over, everyone in the house takes a small amount of Pongal and sprinkles all over the house, saying "Pongalo Pongal". This is done as a prayer to God to bless their houses.  

Maatu Pongal:


The next day is maattu Pongal - pongal for the cows. Cows are worshipped on this day. Milk suppliers decorate the cows. They paint the horns, apply colours and tie clothes on the cows. Then they take the cows to all the houses.

Kaanum Pongal:



People go out for places and enjoy this day. This is a day to spend time and entertainment outside. In Madurai, Tiruchirapalli and Tanjore a kind of bull fight called the Jellikuttu is held. Bundles containing money are tied to the horns of the ferocious bulls, and unarmed men try to wrest the bundles from them.
With ingredients provided by freshly gathered harvest, community meals are held at many a place.



Dussehra Mela

Introduction:

Dussehra is the 10th day of the month of Ashwin in the Hindu calendar. Dussehra is a very important festival of the Hindus celebrated all over India especially in North India with loads of fun and zest.

Dussehra marks the victory of Ram over the demon Ravana, the victory of good over evil. Navratri is celebrated for nine days preceding Dussehra.

During this time, Goddess Durga, the powerful female deity is worshipped all over India.

Celebrations:

On the 10th day of Ashwin, when people celebrate Dussehra, colossal effigies of Ravana are burned in several places to mark the victory of Ram.

Along with Ravana, effigies of his brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnad are also burned marking an end of all evils.

People dress up as Ram and Lakshman and shoot arrows of fire at these effigies which are loaded with explosives symbolizing the victory of good over evil.

Mela in Kota:

To mark this occasion a large mela called the Dussehra Mela is organized in Kota in Rajasthan. It is one of the biggest melas to be organized in Rajasthan.

The Dussehra mela attracts thousands of tourists from all over. Ramlila is performed at the meal ground in Kota.

Several items including household items, jewelry are sold in the mela. You can witness a riot of colors in the mela.

Traditional performances, well decorated shops, children dressed as vanar senas are major attractions in this mela.

Weapons are also worshiped during this time as they were an integral part of the Rajputs.



Kala Ghoda Arts Festival


Introduction:
 
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is an annual celebration of dance, music and other art forms. The festival is being held every year since 1999 in the month of February at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai. The Kala Ghoda Association hosts the weeklong Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is named after the black equestrian statue of Edward VII that used to stand in the Fort area of Mumbai.

Kala Ghoda is a crowd-puller for creative talent. People with Creative bent of mind from all round the country participate and showcase their talent.

Kala Ghoda Festival is also an attraction point for tourists. Tourists from India and abroad come here to have fun and enthusiasm.

The Festival enters into 11th year in 2010; its popularity is growing over the years.

kala Ghoda festival is created to draw attention towards the development by physically improving the area, restoring buildings and porticos, building people-friendly street furniture and improving the amenities.

The festival features Gallery and pavement shows, exhibitions of paintings and sculptures, literary events, film screenings, music concerts, dance performances, theatre shows, workshops, heritage walks and food fiesta.

KGAF will be held between 6-14 February in the year 2010.

The participants range from the modern urban sellers with designer goods to sell, to village artists selling their traditional craftwork.

Time to celebrate:

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is celebrated every year in the month of February at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai.