Category Archives: Important and special days of the year

Vasanth Panchami – The Day to worship Goddess Saraswati – The Goddess of Knowledge

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‘Vasanth’ in Hindi means ‘Spring Season’ and Spring is considered to be the best of all seasons, specially in India. ‘Panchami’ means the fifth day. In Hinduism, it is beleived that Goddess Saraswati was born on this day. Goddess Saraswati is considered to be the Goddess of Knowledge, Wisdom, Music, Fine Arts and all the related fields.

Idol of Goddess Saraswati

Idol of Goddess Saraswati

The day is celebrated in Bengal and by Bengali speaking people residing, all over the world. People offer their prayers to Goddess Saraswati. Special rituals are held since early morning. Idols of Goddess Saraswati is worshiped with flowers, garlands, lamps, incense sticks amidst holy chants in Sanskrit.

Fruits, sweets  of different kinds and Khichari (traditional dish made with rice, pulses, vegetables and spices) are offered to Goddess as Naivedya or Bhoga. It is a very special day for students and educational institutions. As the season is spring, there is a tradition of wearing clothes of yellow colour. Students pray with devotion and one of the most ommon prayers in Sanskrit language is:

Saraswati Namasthubhyam

Varade Kamarupini

Vidhyarambam Karishyami

Siddhir Bavathume Sadha

May Goddess Saraswati bless us all with wisdom, knowledge, positive thoughts, and also the ability to differentiate between God and bad.

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HAPPY DIWALI

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Diwali or Deepawali is the festival of lights, celebrated in India and by all India with grandeur and jubilation. The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil. People celebrate by offering prayers to Almighty God and by lighting lamps all around the house. Lamps are believed to bring Divine Energy and auspiciousness home driving negative energy. People greet each other, share gifts and sweets.

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It was a moment of joy for me, when I found a hand-made Diwali greeting card in my daughter’s School Bag where she returned from School. I thank her Teacher for this initiative. This made me so happy and feel so special. Happy Diwali Everyone.

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Do also my post on the Importance of lighting lamps in Bubblews:

http://www.bubblews.com/news/8958161-light-a-lamp-and-bring-home-the-divine-energy

Lord Buddha and His Teachings

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Today, on this auspicious day of the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, let us all meditate upon Lord Buddha and pray for peace and harmony. Let us determine to follow the values taught by him and lead a life of truthfulness, honesty and compassion.

 

By Shahakshay58 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Shahakshay58 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The day, today is a highly auspicious day, as it marks the day of Lord Buddha’s appearance, disappearance and also enlightenment. Buddhists all over the World immerse in deep meditation on the teachings of Lord Buddha on this day. This day also reminds humanity the important message that was imparted by Lord Buddha. His teachings have always been highly relevant and it is even more relevant in the corrupt society of today.

Lord Buddha was born as a Prince and was named as Siddhartha. When he realised that people undergo severe pain during their lifetime, he was immensely disturbed. Later on, he gave up his Kingdom and all its comforts, in order to seek answers for all the questions that were troubling his mind.

He realized that the main reason behind sufferings of human beings is ‘desire’.  ‘Desires’ bring dissatisfaction and sufferings. He advocated the path of detachment. He taught the principles of Karma. His main teachings included the basic values of life and way of conduct. He wanted human beings to follow the path of right thought, action and deed.

Lord Buddha appeared on the full moon day of the month of  April-May according to Hindu calender. The followers of Lord Buddha and his teachings are Buddhists and the faith is famous as Buddhism. The teachings of Lord Buddha forms the basis of Buddhism.

 

The Best Gift of My Life

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Today as the whole World celebrates Mother’s Day, I received the best gift of my life. My little daughter, who has just started going to School, gifted me a cute little card which says “LOVE YOU MOM”.

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She is just 3 and a half years old and I was amazed to see that she, of course with the help of her Teacher has made this wonderful little card, just for me. My sincere gratitude towards my daughter’s Teacher, who has conceptualized this and made it happen. Many many thanks dear Teacher.

Today, as my little angel returned from School, she warned me not to open her bag as she knows that I will open her bag as I do everyday. This is my usual habit to check her bag, as soon as she returns home, so as to ensure that she has eaten her food that I had packed for her and also to check her School diary as her Teacher writes about the tasks completed in School and the portion to be completed as homework. I also check her books and it gives me immense pleasure to find a few stars or a well done comment with cute stickers given by her Teacher.

Today, probably this was instructed by her Teacher, she didn’t allow me to open her bag. She opened her bag and took out a cute little card and handed over to me saying “Love you Mummy”. I was thrilled to bits. I hugged her and said “Love you too darling”.

My daughter made my day today as she does everyday. Today, is very special, as I received the best gift of my life.

Card made by my daughter.

Card made by my daughter.

Makar Sankranti : The Day to Worship Sun

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January 14th or 15th every year is celebrated as Makar Sankranti in India. ‘Makar’ means Capricorn and ‘Sankranti’ means transition. The day is a highly auspicious day as it is on this day, the transition takes place in the form of Solar Energy on Earth which brings with it joy, warmth and hope. It is about the transition to auspiciousness. It is believed that on this day, the Sun moves towards the Tropic of Cancer from the Tropic of Capricorn, which is said to be a Journey towards the North and hence this day is also known as ‘Uttarayan’ in India. Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India on 14th or 15th of January every year with great enthusiasm. People usually wake up early in the morning and take bath. Many pious and devoted people believe in taking a dip in the holy ganges river. The day is dedicated in the worship of Sun God. The Day is to Worship Sun, the only visible God on Earth. The day has special significance in India as it is considered to be a harvest festival. People celebrate Nature’s bounty. It can also be called as the Indian Thanks-giving day. The day to thank Almighty God in the form of Sun for all the blessings in the form of light, energy and warmth. People pray for a better and brighter future. It is a major festival in Indian states of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Assam. In Punjab, the previous day of Makar Sankranti is known as Lohri. On the evening of Lohri, a huge bonfire is arranged and people make various offerings to ignite the fire. It is believed that the fire will burn all that is evil. People gather, sing and dance around the bonfire with enthusiasm, zeal and happiness. In Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, it is 3 days festival. In Tamil Nadu, a special dish is prepared which is known as ‘Pongal’ and is offered to Sun. Makar Sankranti is also known as ‘Pongal’ in Tamil Nadu. The dish which is made with freshly harvested rice, signifies nature’s bounty, prosperity and abundance. In Andhra Pradesh, the courtyards of every house is decorated with beautiful designs and patterns known as ‘Muggu’. People prepare several special dishes made with freshly harvested rice. In West Bengal, the day is known as ‘Paush Sankranti’. Every month, there is one Sankranti when the transit of the Sun takes place from one zodiac to another. Hindus of some states of India follow a Solar Calender where as some follow a Lunar Calender. ‘Paush’ is the month from mid-December to mid-January and is considered to be highly inauspicious for starting any new work. It is on ‘Paush Sankranti’ that the inauspicious phase comes to an end and a phase of auspicious, prosperity and enlightenment begins. On this day, the month of ‘Magh’ begins which is looked forward to for starting any kind of new venture. The two months of ‘Magh’ and ‘Phalgun’ are considered to be highly auspicious for wedding ceremonies. On this day, many kind of sweet dishes are made with jaggery, coconut, rice/wheat flour, milk and ghee. The date-palm jaggery is mostly preferred. There is a tradition of kite-flying in many places, specially in Gujarat. Many Kite-flying competitions are held on this day. It is good to embrace the warm sunlight on this day for good health and overall well-being.

Image: By Saloni Desai [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Image: By Saloni Desai [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

People enjoy the warmth of Sunlight and welcome the transition from Winter Season to Spring Season. People celebrate this day with special home-made sweets with Jaggery, sesame, rice flour,coconut, milk and many other ingredients. Sesame seeds have special significance on this day. People share sweets with friends and neighbours and spread the message of positive thoughts, love and cooperation. Image: By Saloni Desai [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Vaikuntha Ekadashi – A very significant day for the devotees of Lord Vishnu

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Today is Vaikuntha Ekadashi.

Ekadashi means the eleventh day. In Hindu Calender, the eleventh day from the either the full moon or the no moon night, is known as Ekadashi.  This eleventh day is considered to be an auspicious day in Hinduism.

The day has special significance for the Vaishnavas or the devotees of Lord Vishnu. It is believed to be very auspicious to observe fast on an Ekadashi day. Many devotees eat fruits and drink milk and spend the entire day in worshiping Lord Vishnu.

Of all the Ekadashi days, some has special significance.

Vaikuntha Ekadashi is one such special day.  ‘Vaikuntha’ is a sanskrit word which means’ the abode of Lord Vishnu’ or where the Lord dwells. It is believed that on this day, the gates of ‘Vaikuntha’ opens for the pious devotees.

Special arrangements are made in famous temples like Balaji Temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, India and in ISKCON Temple located in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. People queue up in huge numbers to have a glimpse of the Lord during the mid-night and wait until the main door of sanctum sanatorium is opened during dawn which can be anywhere between 3.30 am to 4.30 am.

Pious devotees fast on this day and chant the holy name of God. It is considered to be highly beneficial to read or chant sacred texts like the Bhagwad Gita and the Vishnu Sahasranama.

A sincere prayer and remembrance of the holy name of God is all that the Lord wants from us, Human Beings.

Glory to Lord Venkateshwara. Glory to Lord Vishnu.

Happy ‘Ugadi’ and ‘Gudi Padwa’

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The festival ‘Ugadi’  has a very special place in my mind. It reminds me of the culture, traditions, beliefs and cuisine of Andhra Pradesh. A good amount of my life, I have lived there and this day makes me feel nostalgic. People have deep love and respect towards their traditions, rituals and beliefs.

‘Ugadi’ is the New Year festival celebrated every Year in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The name  of this day or festival is ‘Ugadi’  in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and the name in Maharashtra is ‘Gudi Padva’.

The festival of Ugadi also represents the celebration of Nature’s bounty during Spring Season.  Spring season brings with it fresh green leaves, fruits and flowers of different colours. Spring represents new life, new beginnings, new aspirations and a fresh new approach towards living with hope and happiness. Fresh raw green Mangoes have a special significance in India. Mangoes are always worshipped and offered to God before consumed. Leaves of Mango tree are used to decorate the entrance of every house as it symbolizes prosperity. Raw Mangoes,leaves, flowers  signify fertility,  growth, prosperity and overall well-being of the family.

The the day and date of this day depends on the Lunar Calender. Among Hindus, there are two different calenders. One which is followed by the orbit of Moon [Lunar Calender] and the other follows the orbit of Sun [Solar Calender].

In Andhra Pradesh, the first day of the Hindu Lunar Calender begins with a bath early in the morning followed by worship of deities and prayers at home. People usually wear new clothes. I remember, wearing new clothes myself. The atmosphere used to be filled with the aroma of raw mangoes and an excitement of festivity.
People also visit the Temples to seek blessings for a prosperous New Year. There is a tradition of reading Astrological predictions for all Moon signs by Temple priests.

The first thing to be consumed in the morning on the day of ‘Ugadi’ is the ‘Ugadi Pachadi’ which is a syrup made with raw mangoes, neem leaves, green chilli, jaggery and tamarind. This syrup has all the five tastes:  sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. It signifies all the sweet and bitter experiences of life. Life offers experiences of different tastes. All the ingredients in the ‘Ugadi Pachadi’ is added in equal quantities so that the New Year offers experiences in equal proportion. I too have always tasted the ‘Ugadi Pachadi’ every year on ‘Ugadi’ as long as, I was there.

The day is complete with sumptuous meals enjoyed with family and friends. As no festival in India is ever complete without the preparation of traditional home-made sweets, this festival too has its own unique sweet items to be served and shared with all loved ones. Wishing everyone a very Happy and Prosperous ‘Ugadi’. May this New Year bring peace, prosperity and happiness to all.

Also Read: http://expertscolumn.com/content/festival-ugadi-new-year-day-hindu-lunar-calender