Savithri Arts Academy
Indian Classical Dance Institute

 

Festivals of India is a multi-media dance production composed of Indian classical dance styles (Bharatha Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Mohini Attam) and traditional folk dances of India (Dhandiya, Gurbha, Bangda, etc.). Internationally acclaimed dancer Dr. Sinduri will be taking center stage along with other 25 dancers on this extravagance dance ballet. Music composed by Shaktidasan, Pramila Datar and Dr. Sinduri with lyrics in several different Indian languages.

Pongal

Certain Hindu festivals are associated with the annual cycle of seasons. Pongal in the South and Sankranti in the North are celebrated to mark the withdrawal of the southeast monsoons as well as the reaping of the harvest. Pongal festivities are spread over several days. Like Diwali in the north, the advent of Pongal is associated with spring-cleaning and burning of junk, symbolizing the destruction of evil. Decorative designs or rangolis are traced on floors and on the day of the Pongal, the newly harvested rice is cooked in homes to acclaim the bounty of the gods.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati is widely worshipped as the munificent god of wisdom. Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival in his honor and is celebrated in most of the major states of India. Images of Ganesha are installed within homes as well as in places of assembly. Elaborate arrangements are made for lighting and decoration and Ganesha is fervently worshipped for about 7-10 days. On the day of the Chaturthi, i.e. the last of the days dedicated to the elephant-headed god, thousands of processions converge on the beaches of Mumbai to immerse the holy idols in the sea. This immersion is accompanied by drum beats, devotional songs and dancing.

Diwali

If there is one occasion which is all joy and all jubilation for one and all, young and the old, men and women -- for the entire Hindu world, it is Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Even the humblest of huts will be lighted by a row of earthern lamps. Crackers resound and light up the earth and the sky. The faces of boys and girls flow with a rare charm in their dazzling hues and colors. Illumination in temples and all sacred places of worship and on the banks of rivers symbolize the scattering of spiritual radiance all round from these holy centers. The radiant sight of everybody adorned with new and bright clothes, especially ladies decorated with the best of ornaments, captures the social mood at its happiest. And all this illumination and fireworks, joy and festivity, is to signify the victory of divine forces over those of wickedness.

Navarathri

Navaratri and Dassera are also long festivals celebrated over a period of ten days. The first nine days constitute the Navaratri festival. Navaratri itself means nine nights (Nava = nine, ratri = night).The term "Dassera" or "Vijayadashmi" which is the last and tenth day are derived from the word for number ten i.e. Das (in Hindi) or Dasha (in Sanskrit).

This festival is devoted to the Mother Goddess known variously as Durga, Kali, Bhavani, Amba, Chandika, etc. This festival is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. In western India (Gujarat and Rajasthan) throughout the nine days, both men and women participate in a dance in which they go in circles around an object of worship. This dance style is a very popular one during this festival. The dances start after 10 p.m. and many a times they continue up to the small hours of the morning. In eastern India (especially in Bengal) this festival is the principal festival and is celebrated with gaiety and devotion through public ceremonies (Sarvajanik of Sarbojanin Durga Puja). For these ceremonies Pundals (temporary public booths) are erected. The ceremonies are conducted amidst grand prayers and mass feeding.

Mahasivarathri

The festival of 'Mahashivratri' is celebrated as a mark of respect towards Lord Shiva each year. The festival of Mahashivratri, which literally means the night of Lord Shiva, is universally celebrated by Hindus all over the world. Lord Shiva forms a part of the Hindu holy Trimurti (trinity of Gods), wherein Brahma is the creator, Vishnu the sustainer and Shiva is the destroyer. On this day, people from various parts of the country gather at temples of Lord Shiva and sing bhajans (holy songs), offer prayers and recite shlokas in the honor of Lord Shiva.

Mahaveer Jayanti

Mahaveera, also known as Vardhamana, is the last one in the galaxy of Twenty-four Teerthankaras (Jain Prophets). He was born in the year 599 B.C. and has been acclaimed as one of the greatest prophets of peace and social reformation that Bharat has ever produced. He was born to a pious couple, Siddhartha and Priyakarani or popularly Trishala Devi - who were deeply permeated with the philosophy of jainism preached by Parswanatha, the 23rd Teerthankara.

Krishna Jayanthi

Krishna Jayanthi is the birthday celebration of Lord Krishna. It is celebrated on the 8th Tithi of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadrapad (August-September). In the night, songs and stories related to Krishna's birth are sung and narrated. As the moment of Krishna's birth arrives, he is devotionally welcomed. His idol is then offered Pooja. Thereafter sweets are distributed as mark of joy since the birth of Krishna denotes the advent of the annihilator of evils. Feasts are also arranged to celebrate the occasion.

Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It is during this month that Muslims observe the Fast of Ramadan. Lasting for the entire month, Muslims fast during the daylight hours and in the evening eat small meals and visit with friends and family. It is a time of worship, contemplation and a time to strengthen family and community ties.

The third "pillar" or religious obligation of Islam, fasting has many special benefits. Among these, the most important is that it is a means of learning self-control. Due to the lack of preoccupation with the satisfaction of bodily appetites during the daylight hours of fasting, a measure of ascendancy is given to one's spiritual nature, which becomes a means of coming closer to God.

Christmas

Even the Christians in India seem mostly unaware that the Ramakrishna Mission centers celebrate Christmas in great style. Except for the actual Midnight Mass, many features of the Indian Christian celebration are in evidence - scripture reading, carols, sweets, cakes etc. This is because Swami Vivekananda and his companions, sorely grieved over the death of their Master, had decided in a burst of inspiration on Christmas Eve to give up the world and form the religious community that eventually developed into the worldwide Ramakrishna Mission.

Ugadi

The first day of the year according to the National Calendar of Bharat (corresponding to the era beginning 78 A.D. and 57 B.C. respectively) is significant both for its historical import and for the advent of bountiful nature. The day falls in the beginning of spring - Vasanta Ritu - when the Goddess of Nature gets bedecked as a divine bride. The day aptly carries the assurance to human life, "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" It fills the human spirit with optimism and hope about one's future and injects into him courage and confidence in facing the trials and tribulations of life - both individual and national.

Onam

Onam is a time for sports, festivities, and ritual celebrations in Kerala. The Keralites celebrate this festival in memory of the golden era of King Mahabali whose spirit is said to visit the state at the time of Onam. Colorful aquatic festivals are organized along the sacred river Pampa as part of the celebrations. After three months of heavy rains, the sky becomes a clear blue and the forests a deep green. The brooks and streams come alive, spouting a gentle white foam, the lakes and rivers overflow and lotuses and lilies are in full bloom as if to welcome the spirit of the King. It is time to reap the harvest, to celebrate and to rejoice.

Indian Independence Day

Independence Day, August 15, commemorates the day in 1947 when India achieved freedom from British rule. It is celebrated with flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programs in the state capitals. The Prime Minister's speech at the Red Fort in Delhi is the major highlight. All Government Organizations have a holiday. In the capital New Delhi, most of the Government Offices are lit up. In all the cities around the country the Flag Hoisting Ceremony is done by politicians belonging to that constituency. On Television, various Independence related programs are telecasted, reminding us of the hard times faced by the freedom fighters.

 

 

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