|Fairs / Festivals August 2020|
|August 3, 2020||Raksha Bandhan||North India|
|August 8, 2020||Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race||Kerala|
|August 11, 2022||Janmashtami||All India|
|August 15, 2020||Indian Independence Day||All over India|
|August 22, 2020||Onam||South India|
|August 29 – September 8, 2020||Velankanni Church Feast||Tamil Nadu|
India is indeed a land of festivals. In bengale there is a quote which says "baro mashe tero parbon", meaning there are only 12 months in a year but 13 festivals to celebrate. Let’s take a look at the festivals and fairs coming up in the month of August.
Rakhshabandhan or Rakhi is a very important festival celebrated in the Northern part of India, which reinforces the divine relationship between a brother and a sister. It is celebrated on the full moon day of Shravan.
Celebrations: On this day the sister ties an auspicious thread, symbolising eternal love and affection, on the right hand wrist of the brother. The brother reciprocates with a vow of protection and showers his sister with gifts. The festival reconfirms the bond of affection between siblings and is a day of great fanfare, joy and cheer. It is also customary to fry poories (puffed pancakes) and cook vermicelli pudding on this occasion.
|Raksha Bandhan Calendar|
Janmashtami is one of the most auspicious and revered festivals of Hindus. Observed by the Hindu community in India and around the world, Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, who was an avtaar of Lord Vishnu. According to the Hindu calendar, Janmasthami is observed on the eighth day of Krishna Paksha in the Bhadrapad, which falls in August-September.
The history of Janmashtami dates back to the epic age. Krishna took birth to kill Kansa, the tyrant ruler of the kingdom of Vrishni. The kingdom had its capital at Mathura, which is located in the present state of Uttar Pradesh. Kansa had taken the throne by unfair means. He grabbed the throne by imprisoning his father king Ugrasen who was a just and noble ruler. Unlike his father, Kansa not only proved to be an unworthy king but was also a tyrant. He unleashed a volley of pain and sufferings on the people of Mathura. There was a prophecy that Kansa would be killed by the eighth child of Deviki, his sister, and her husband Vasudeva. Afraid of his doom, Krishna had both Deviki and Vasudeva thrown in the prison where they had to put up with miserable conditions. However, Kansa's atrocities did not stop here. Determined to avoid his death at all costs Kansas killed Devaki's first six children mercilessly. He would do this by smashing the infants head on the wall. The seventh one was a miscarriage. When the eight child was born, Vasudeva slipped out of the prison where the officials had fallen asleep due to a miracle by God. Later, he reached Gokul where he exchanged Krishna with Nanda and Yashoda's daughter. Vasudeva brought Nanda's little daughter back to Mathura. Upon hearing about Deviki's delivery, an enraged Kansa stormed into the prison and attempted to kill the eighth child the same way as he had treated with the others. However, as he flung the child on the rock in an attempt to kill her, she rose up in the sky threatening Kansa about his impending death. Meanwhile, Krishna lived at Gokul and Vrindavan where he spent his early childhood. Later, Krishna returned to Mathura along with his brother Balram and killed Kansa relieving people from years of atrocities. Since then, Janmashtami is celebrated every year as Lord Krishna's birthday.
Janmashtami is celebrated on a grand scale all through the country; however, the most elaborate festivities are witnessed in Mathura and Vrindavan which are associated with Krishna's birth and childhood days. Here, people organize the ras-lilas, which are plays or dance performances depicting the flirtatious side of Krishna during his youth. Another popular event that is observed on this day is the organizing of Dahi handi. In his childhood, Krishna, along with his friends, would steal butter or dahi from handis which would be hung from the ceilings. In modern time, young men, who are also known as Govindas, enact the same scene. Handis are placed at a convenient height and young men would form a human tower and try to reach the handi. The person on the top of the pyramid would break the handi which would unusually be filled with butter, milk and other stuff. At times, a prize money is also added to the handi or the earthen pot. This festival is particularly popular in Maharashtra.
Temples on this day, wear a festive look. Many of them organize jhankis, which are depictions of Krishna's life starting from his birth, being carried to Gokul by his father, being discovered in Gokul and other events associated with his life. The celebrations take place at midnight and hordes of people can be seen visiting temples at this hour.
People decorate their homes and perform puja to seek the blessings of the Lord. It is also a major celebration in South India and in many homes, foot steps of Lord Krishna are made which begin from the entrance of the house and lead to the puja room.
Janamashtami is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Krishna, who is an avtaar of Lord Vishnu. It is an auspicious day for the Hindus and marks the victory of good over evil. Kansa, who was an uncle of Krishna, was an evil tyrant and the ruler of Mathura. He had unleashed a spate of brutalities on the populace of Mathura. He did not even spare his own family members. In order to gain the throne, he even had his father imprisoned. Upon hearing that his sister Devaki's son would be his doom, he had them imprisoned in the most miserable conditions. He did not relent from killing the couple's infants. However, Lord Krishna miraculously took birth without Kansa's knowledge. Later, he, along with his brother Balram, killed Kansa and put an end to the sufferings of the people of Mathura as well as his family members. Thus, Lord Krishna's birth is a big day – a day when the almighty personally took birth to eliminate evils prevalent on the earth.
Worshipers of Lord Krishna exhibit their devotion to the God by observing fast on this day. There are two kinds of fasts observed on Janmashtami – Nirjal fast and Phalahar Fast. In the former kind of fast, devotees do not take food or water. At midnight, an aarti and special puja is performed following this prasad is offered to Lord Krishna. Thereafter, devotees break their fast by partaking prasad.
Phalahar is not as stringent as nirjal. Here, devotees have the liberty of consuming fruits and milk. However, cereals or any other food stuff should not be taken. But, like nirjal, Phalahar fast too is broken at midnight after the Janmashtami puja has been performed.
The birth of Lord Krishna was one of the most magnanimous moments for mankind. It was an end to the sufferings and pain of the people. So, on Janmashtami, people welcome Lord Krishna by indulging in elaborate decorations. Temples and homes around the country wear a festive look and are a sight to behold. One of the most popular decorations that people buy on this day is the idol of Lord Krishna. Often young Krishna is seen playing the flute. Other than this, devotees also adorn their homes with the idol of Lord Krishna playing the flute with Radha by his side. These idols of Lord Krishna are decked up with colorful clothing, ornaments, garlands and peacock feathers. Another piece of decoration is that of baby Krishna in a cradle.
A common sight on Janmashtami is are beautiful walls hanging in homes and temples. Crafted with stones, glass and patchwork, these ethnic wall hangings reflect the traditions of the Hindu community or the various stages of the life of Lord Krishna. One will witness footsteps in many homes around the country. People also decorate the doors of their homes. They use elegant door hangings which are made of shinning mirror, glass beads, fancy motifs and other such stuff. Items associated with Lord Krishna such as peacock feathers, handis, flute and others are also hung on the walls.
Om is one of the most important elements of the Hindu religion and on the entrance of many homes you will see this feature on this day.
The day that India broke free of the clutches of the British Raj is celebrated as the Independence Day all over the country. It is a day of great pride and joy for the Indians, and is celebrated with great pomp and show.
Celebrations: Flag hoisting marks the Independence Day. The Tiranga is hoisted in schools, official buildings, hospitals, government buildings a day before Independence Day as on that day it is a national holiday, and all institutions remain closed etc. Even the hospitals run only on skeleton staff.
The capital cities of all the states have a parade of march-past ceremony where the chief minister of the state accepts the salute. Kite flying is a tradition associated with Independence Day and the skies can be seen covered with kites with the Tri Colours.
The real action of course takes place in the Red Fort area of the capital city of Delhi. There is a parade held with the defence forces demonstrating their march-past and drill abilities, as well as any new weapon which has been recently acquired. The parade also showcases the different cultures and rich heritage of India. The Prime Minister hoists the Indian flag and accepts the salute of all the participants of the parade.
Onam is a 10 day long harvest festival of Kerala. It is believed that King Mahabali, a benevolent Asura King, and the grandson of Prahlada visits Kerala during Onam, and he brings along with him prosperity, health and happiness for the natives. Onam is celebrated to welcome this great king.
Celebrations: The festivities are spectacular, and Kerala is at its beat during Onam. Traditional rituals start very early in the morning. Mahouts take out a procession of beautifully dressed up elephants on the streets. Spectacular carnivals of fireworks, music and folk dance performances like Kathakali and Pulikali (Tiger dance) are hosted all over Kerala.
Onam celebration is unique because of the Aranmula Boat Race, held at Aranmula where there is a temple of Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Pairs of snake boats are rowed across the River Pampa, and they move to the rhythm songs, as thousands of spectators watch from the river banks.
Every year during this period the Annual Feast Of Our Lady Of Health is held in Velankanni, in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. Velankanni is one of the biggest Catholic pilgrimage centres with the Basilica Of Our Lady Of Health. September 8th, the day when the feast concludes, is considered auspicious by the Christians as this is the day that the first Church in India was constructed by the Portuguese. On this day the Christians celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of Mary.
Celebrations: Everyday during the feast, mass is held in the church in 6 different languages and 14 times a day. Christian from across India make a pilgrimage to Velankanni during the feast. It is believed that Our Lady of Health has healing powers.