diwali

19TH OCTOBER, 2017 – DIWALI

Diwali, or Deepavali, commonly called the “Festival of Lights”, is a five day autumn festival celebrated by Hindus worldwide.  It is also honoured by Sikhs, and is of significance to Jain and Buddhist communities since it celebrates not only the triumphant return of Rama and Sita to their capital, Ayodhya, but many other events involving various other deities.  Diwali offers a great opportunity for you to bring your classroom alive with its breadth of rich, colourful culture. It is never too late to celebrate; we provide special Diwali sessions throughout October and November, even into early December!

Happy Diwali!

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Ganga Puja, 3rd June 2017

This is the anniversary celebrating the day the heavenly River Ganges came to earth. Study of the holy rivers of India gives opportunity for pupils to connect with Hindus’ lifestyle and their relationship with nature in both a practical and spiritual context.

Narasingha

Narasingha Jayanti, 9th May 2017

This festival celebrates the appearance of  the fourth of the Dashavatars, the ten main incarnations of Lord Vishnu. He saved the devoted young boy Prahlada from his tyrannical father Hiranyakashipu and thus exemplifies compassion through assertive protection of the weak and vulnerable. The story is connected to the Holi festival and is retold on this day in dramatic fashion. Narasingha is mainly worshipped by Vaishnavas who seek His protection against all evil forces both internal and external.

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5TH APRIL, 2017 – RAMA NAVAMI

Lord Rama appeared on Earth many thousands of years ago during the Hindu age of Treta, on the ninth day of the waxing moon, in the Indian lunar calendar’s month of Chaitra (March-April).  Each year Hindus celebrate this day as Lord Rama’s birthday (or “appearance day”, since Rama does not actually take birth like a mortal being).  The Rama Navami puja rituals, chanting of Shri Rama, and other celebrations take place in the hours just before noon, reaching their peak at 12.00 noon, the moment of the Lord’s appearance.

People throw coloured powder as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY) - RTR3FC9U

13TH MARCH, 2017 – HOLI

Holi is a religious festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world.  Following Diwali, it is considered the second biggest festival on the Hindu calendar.  Holi is also known as the Festival of Colours due to the playful practice of throwing coloured powders over one another in the streets and open places.

The Holi festival is named after Holika, the aunt of Prince Prahlad, who unsuccessfully attempted to aid her wicked brother Hiranyakashipu by casting the little boy into the flames of a fire.   Students will enjoy discovering this story with its many twists and turns, and its timeless theme of celebrating child protection.

Holi is celebrated all over India, but the celebrations that take place in the region of Braj (near New Delhi), where Lord Krishna appeared and had his pastimes 5000 years ago, are cherished with most affection by many Hindus.

shivaratri-celebration

24TH FEBRUARY, 2017 – MAHA SHIVARATRI

Shivaratri is the Hindu festival celebrating Lord Shiva.  Ratri’ means night, and Shivaratri celebrations take place during the night.  There are twelve Shivaratris in a year, one occurring each lunar month.  However, Maha Shivaratri, meaning “the great Shivaratri”, occurs just once a year on the 13th night of the waning moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna (February-March).  Shivaratri nights are considered a time when darkness and ignorance in one’s life and in the world can be overcome by prayer and an all-night vigil (jagaran).  Offerings are made to Shiva of fruits, leaves, sweets and milk.  For the monthly Shivaratris, the following day, devotees perform all-day fasting and worship of Shiva, and some perform meditative yoga.  In Shiva temples, “Om Namah Shivaya”, the sacred mantra of Shiva, is chanted throughout this day.  Maha Shivaratri celebrations will run, in a similar vein, from three to ten days.