India is the land of festivals, and no festival season is as busy as the one that begins during the Indian monsoon and carries right up to the time of harvesting in January. In this article, we show you four big festivals that occurred in the month of August, and what to look ahead to in the coming months.
The Indian festival season begins around the month of August and marches right on until the end of the year in December. Strictly speaking, the festival season ends (or begins, depending on how you’re looking at it) with the harvest festival Sankranti in January. Now that we’re half way into the month of August, let’s look around us to see which big festivals we either just passed or will pass in the near future.
1. Ganesh Chaturthi
This is the real big one. Ganesh is the favourite god of the Indian people, with every house in the country holding multiple idols of the elephant god. Ganesh Chaturthi marks the birthday of this adorable, food-loving son of Shiva. Households across the country rear an idol of Ganesh in their homes, and at the end of the festival, immerses him in a water body. The festival is marked by multiple idols and lots of music and fanfare across the busy streets of India. Date: 5 September, 2016.
2. Rakshabandhan or Rakhi
The origin of the ritual where a sister ties a rakhi to a brother comes from Indrani tying a thread around the wrist of her husband, Indra, to protect him from evil. In return, the brother vows to protect his sister from all worldly troubles and to always keep her first in his thoughts. It’s also customary that the brother gives his sister some money for keeps in return for a rakhi. A festival that celebrates brother-sister love, it is also seen as a threat by single guys in the country who fear being given a rakhi by women that they know toward whom they have romantic inclinations. Date: 18 August, 2016.
3. Krishna Janmashtami
Krishna is a god that will probably tie for first place among the favourite deities in India along with Ganesh. Krishna is the lovable rascal, the charming rogue, the eternal lover for all young women of India. The celebration of Janmashtami takes place during midnight, because Krishna’s birth is said to have happened during midnight in a prison, on a stormy and wild night, to end the rule of his maternal uncle, Kamsa. Mathura and Vrindavan, especially, give it their all when it comes to celebrations. Date: 25 August, 2016.
Teej is a festival of fasting during which women seek the blessings of the first couple, Shiva and Parvati, and pray for marital bliss. It is believed that the name of this festival comes from a small red insect called ‘Teej’ that emerges from the earth during the monsoon season. Hindu mythology has it that on this day, Parvati came to the Shiva’s abode, marking the union of the husband and wife. Date: Throughout the month of August to September.