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Festivals In Sravana Month

Discussion in 'Festivals, Functions & Rituals' started by padmaiyangar, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. padmaiyangar

    padmaiyangar Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear IL members ,
    these are the important festivals in sravana month

    The month of Shravan is the fifth month of the Hindu calender beginning from Chaitra, and is the most auspicious month of the Chaturmas. On Purnima or fullmoon day, or during the course of the month the star 'Shravan' rules the sky, hence the month is called Shravan. This month is spread out with innumerably religious festivals and ceremonies and almost all the days of this month are auspicious.
    Naga-Panchami: One of the first main important day is the Naga-Panchami which falls on the fifth day of Shravan and is held in honour of Nagas or snakes. Hindus deify snakes and regard them with veneration. This may be due to their association with the Gods. Shesha or Ananta, the thousand hooded king of serpents forms the couch for Lord Vishnu. The King of serpents Vasuki adorns the neck of Lord Shiva forming a crest over the Lord. This day is dedicated to snakes and they are worshipped with milk and fruits. Snake worship is quite common specially in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place>South India</st1:place> where there are shrines in many houses where the householder feed the serpents. It seems the most celebrated shrine is that of Meccad of a Nambudiri house holder in Malabar. In <st1:place>Bengal</st1:place>, Manasa is worshipped as the goddess of serpents and feast in honour of this Goddess serpent is celebrated with great pomp. To some, this day denotes the return of <st1:place>Krishna</st1:place> from the Yamuna after overcoming the snake Kaliya. <st1:place>Krishna</st1:place>'s herdsmen celebrated the Naga panchmi day by treating Kaliya with milk as a gratitude for not harming their beloved <st1:place>Krishna</st1:place>. There are many folklores in connection with snake cult. At Sirale a fair is held on Naga panchami when snakes are specially caught worshipped and then set free. At Vitthal in <st1:place>South India</st1:place> is the <st1:place><st1:placeType>temple</st1:placeType> of <st1:placeName>Ananteshwara</st1:placeName></st1:place> (Lord Ishwara with large snake as its crest) where snakes are worshipped and appeased if anything goes wrong. Digging and ploughing is strictly abstained lest the snakes are injured.
    Kalkyavatara: The Kalki Avatara falls on Shravan sukla (the light half) sixth. This anticipatory incarnation is also known as Nishkalankavatara (Stainless) and is yet tooccur and the month and the day is already foretold. In the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata, the coming Kalki has been hailed as when unrighteousness will leave and righteousness will be established. This day, though not celebrated, is noted for the future emancipation of mankind.
    Putradaikadashi: (Son giving eleventh) falls on Shravan sukla (light half). King Mahijit was sonless due to which all were distressed. The King consults a learned sage who tells him that in his previous birth the Kind was a Vasya merchant and had committed some wrong. The sage advises the King to observe fast on this Shravan sukla Ekadashi day by which the demerit would be cancelled. The King obeys and is blessed with a son
    Hindola or Swinging: Sukla eleventh to fifteenth in <st1:place>North India</st1:place>. A swing is made an is decorated with flowers and hangings. Every night idols of Lord Krishna and Radha are placed on it and swung, rejoining with dancing and singing of a special metre the 'hindola'. The main purpose is to please <st1:place>Krishna</st1:place> to gain his blessings and merit.In this month the Shravan Full Moon day is very prominent as a number of festivals ensemble on this day.
    Narali Purnima: On full day of this Shravan (July-August), is celebrated by worshipping the ocean with mantras and offering of coconuts into it. Hence the name Narali from 'naral' meaning coconut, the coconut day. From this day the south-west monsoon is supposed to abate, and fisher-folks resume their trade. According to some throwing of coconuts into the sea is an offering to the "Food-giving goddess of the water" whereas other say the offering is made to Varuna the Vedic God of Ocean.
    Shravani Purnima: On this day all Brahmins renew their sacred thread which they wear. It is also called Rig-Yaju Shravani as it appears only students of Vedas would renew the cord. But, actually all Brahmans who have been initiated and wear the thread renew it. There is an elaborate ceremony where the family priest begins the function by worshipping Lord Ganesha and lights a sacrificial fire reciting mantras and prayers. Eight supari betelnuts or eight Darbha (sacrificial grass) rings are placed on a tray representing the seven Rishis and Arundhati which are worshipped with flowers etc. Again, Tarpan or libations of water in the name of the departed spirits is offered. Then the old thread is cast off in the sacrificial fire and a new thread with a three-fold twist is worn after reciting the Gayatri Mantra. Lastly follows the worship of Brahma by offering of rice and flowers in the fire and distributing of gifts to Priests and Brahmans.
    Pavitraropana: Almost similar to the above, the same day Pavtiras or Ponvates which are rings, wristlets or necklets are made from strands of cotton threads of varying lengths, number of twists and knots. These strands or Ponvates are then washed, consecrated with mantras and offered to different Gods like Shiva, Vishnu, the Sun and also the family priest. The best Ponvate is it seems of nine-stranded with one hundred and eight twists and twenty-four knots! Some change the sacred threads or offer the Ponvates on Purnima or on the previous day according to the position of the moon at the constellation in Shravan
    Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi Purnima: <?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shapetype id=_x0000_t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" o:preferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600"><v:stroke joinstyle="miter"></v:stroke><v:formulas><v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"></v:f></v:formulas><v:path o:connecttype="rect" gradientshapeok="t" o:extrusionok="f"></v:path><o:lock aspectratio="t" v:ext="edit"></o:lock></v:shapetype><v:shape id=_x0000_s1026 style="MARGIN-TOP: 0px; Z-INDEX: 1; MARGIN-LEFT: 6.5pt; WIDTH: 46.5pt; POSITION: absolute; HEIGHT: 47.25pt; mso-wrap-distance-left: 3.75pt; mso-wrap-distance-top: 7.5pt; mso-wrap-distance-right: 3.75pt; mso-wrap-distance-bottom: 7.5pt; mso-position-horizontal: right; mso-position-horizontal-relative: text; mso-position-vertical-relative: line" o:allowoverlap="f" alt="Image" type="#_x0000_t75"><v:imagedata o:title="rakhi1" src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\SUPDT\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_image001.jpg"></v:imagedata><?xml:namespace prefix = w ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:word" /><w:wrap type="square"></w:wrap></v:shape>Is perhaps the most sublime and sentimental of festivals which also falls on Purnima day. A Rakhi or amulet, may be of silk thread, or of more costly make according to one's means, is tied round the wrist of brothers by their sisters as a charm protecting them from evil or harm and, consequently in return seeking their help when in trouble. The Rakhi name derives from the word 'raksha' that is to protect. It symbolizes the abiding and chaste bond of love between the brothers and the sisters. There are abounding episodes of women seeking protection for their husbands' lives even from rival heroes through Rakhi. It is said Alexander's wife tied Rakhi on their mighty adversary Pururuvas seeking assurance of her husband's life. The great King, true to the Kshatriya tradition and word, restrained from striking the fatal blow when he saw the Rakhi on his hand.
    Vara Lakshmi Vrata: This is a Vrata which implies the worship of Goddess of Wealth. The Vrata is observed on the Friday immediately preceding the full moon day of the month of Shravan (August-September). Maha Lakshmi is the embodiment of prosperity and auspiciousness. It seems the glory of this Vrata is eulogized in the Skanda Purana by Lord Shiva Himself. The worship of Maha Lakshmi is performed by married ladies to obtain good progeny, and for the long life of the husband. Since Mahalakshmi as Vidya Lakshmi bestows divine wisdom also, great prophets have worshipped her for success in their spiritual work.
    Rishi Panchami: On this day of the Shravan full moon, stars other than the planets are worshipped. In Vedic times it was believed that the spirits of certain departed great sages of the earth were believed to inhabit certain stars, the most famous being the constellation Ursa Major i.e. the seven brightest stars of the north (The Great Bear). Later, the seers became identified with the stars they inhabited. The seven worshipped on Rishi Fifth are - Kasyapa, Atri, Bharadvaja, Visvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Vashishta. Rishi Panchami (Seers fifth) is also observed on Bhadrapada sukla fifth as 'Prayaschit' or Atonement.
    Govatsa and Bahula: Fall on Shravan Krishna (dark) fourth day when cows and their calves are worshipped. Mainly women offer food to the cows and smear their foreheads with vermillion. Cow's footprints are drawn and worshipped by women.
    Sitala Saptami: Sitala (the cool one) is the goddess who is associated with disease particularly smallpox and there are many temples and shrines in her honour. One of the days she is specially worshipped is on Shravan krishna seventh, in <st1:place>Gujarat</st1:place>. One particular thing about her worship is that the accepts the prayers and offerings of widows, if mothers, on behalf of their children. During the day of her worship one is supposed to abstain from all hot, or cooked, food and drink. The reason may be to avoid hot thing and is more likely to be the longing for cold water on the part of smallpox patients
    Janmashtami: This well-known festival, the birthday of Lord Krishna falls on the eight day of Shravan Krishna i.e. the dark half. The day is celebrated in honour of Lord Krishna, the eighth Divine Incarnation of Hindus. A twenty-four hours fast is observed on this day which is broken only at <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="0">midnight</st1:time> because <st1:place>Krishna</st1:place> was born at <st1:time Minute="0" Hour="0">midnight</st1:time>. This is one of the greatest of all Hindu festivals. <st1:City><st1:place>Mathura</st1:place></st1:City>, the birthplace of Lord Krishna is an important town sacred to Vaishnavas. Spiritual gatherings are held and pilgrims from all over <st1:country-region><st1:place>India</st1:place></st1:country-region> flock to <st1:City><st1:place>Mathura</st1:place></st1:City> to participate in the festival. Due to his immeasurable roles played in this world, he is regarded as a complete manifestation of God. This divine stories and deeds are beautifully narrated in Bhagavat Purana.
    Ajaikadasi: Ajaikadasi (Illusion eleventh) commemorates the story of King Harishchandra who fell upon evil days. Sage Gautama advised him to fast to obtain merit and Harishchandra following his advice overcame his evil days and regained his kingdom and family.
    Pithori: Pithori is a propitiatory festival observed on the Shravan new moon i.e. Amavasya or the last day of Shravan (August-September). The seven chief goddesses and the sixty-four yoginis or divine attendants on Goddess Durga are worshipped by unwidowed married women for gaining progeny and happiness. The name is derived from Pitha (flour), from which the images are made to worship. It seems in Bhavishottar Puran, Parvati advises Indrani the wife of Lord Indra to observe this Vrata to be blessed with sons and good fortune. Such is the power of the Pithori vrata, told Parvati.
    Pola: On Shravan new moon (amavasya) day the bullocks are worshipped and given rest. The day of this custom vary from district to district. It is chiefly a farmers' festival, held after harvesting of the staple grain of the region, which explains the variation in the date of the festival. The custom consists in bathing the animals and anoint them with out, paint their horns, garland them, decorate them and worship them by smearing with vermillion.
    Almost all days of Shravan month are considered Auspicious, But, Mondays or Somvars of Shravan month are specially observed with austerity and women generally fast on this day. All Mondays are devoted to the worship of Shiva as this day is sacred to Lord Shiva. No other Mondays of other months are so greatly honoured. Tuesdays are devoted to the worship of Gauri and Fridays are for Lakshmi. Again Saturn is worshipped on all Shravan Saturdays, with the object of object of obtaining wealth. These days are known as Sampat Sanivara (wealth Saturdays). Besides Saturn, Wednesdays (Mercury or Buddh) and Thursdays (Jupiter or Guruvara) are also days for worshipping Buddh and Guru.
    Sun worship was general in the Vedic period and even now it is so. Especially in Shravan, every Sunday the Sun is worshipped without fail. Furthermore, the moon being in the star or nakshatara Shrava, is one of the five events which occur at one time (Ardhodaya), which only happens once in twenty to twenty-five years and is considered a time of great auspiciousness.
    Besides the above festivals, there is yet another religious ceremony observed by a Hindu community, viz., the Konkani speaking Saraswats and Gaud Saraswat Brahmins of the South. This ceremony is called the 'Chudi' Puja performed by Saubhagya married ladies. Every Friday and Sundays married ladies worship the Tulsi plant (Ocimum Sanctum) by offering the 'chudis' or tiny bouquets of flowers, vermillion and other puja items. It is picturesque to see the sacred Tulsi plant bedecked with pretty multicoloured tied tiny bouquets. Later the 'chudis' are offered to elderly married ladies and their blessings sough, Every women takes pride in the month of Shravan to perform the puja and fast.
    Despite the rejoicings and gaiety, thanks to the string of festivals spread over this month is rent with the air of solemnity. Be it a woman performing pujas and observing fasts, or a man changing his sacred thread on the Shravani or Povte Purnima day of Shravan, all pray alike that they may be enabled to happily participate in the Shravan ceremonies every year.

    (By Meera Shashital
    Source: Free Press Journal)
     
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  2. ramyanand

    ramyanand Silver IL'ite

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    Hi padmaja
    Thanx for sharing this useful info..
    Cheers
    Ramya
     
  3. MrignayniBansal

    MrignayniBansal Senior IL'ite

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    Hi all,

    Sharavan month held in the month of aug-sept.It is full of holy Purnimas.
    People use to take bath in holy river And do vrat.
    ----------------------------------------
    Avni purnima
    Nariya Purnima
    Rakhi Purnima
    Kajri purnima
     

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