All the dates given below are as per the Banke Bihari Panchang of Vrindavan
Lord Shiva's Tandava Nritya
2/3rd March, 2011:Maha Shivratri, the night of the worship of Shiva is celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha or waning phase of the moon in Phalgun (Hindu Calendar). Along with keeping a fast, cold water and bel patra (leaves of the wood apple tree) are offered to the lingam during the day. The festival is celebrated by traditional offerings such as bathing Shiva in milk, panchamruta (milk,curd,ghee,sugar and honey[the symbols of sustenance]),one after the other in succession; or anointing the lingam with vermilion (kumkum), white consecrated rice and askshata, (symbols of fertility or creation), when Shiva is worshipped as the god of dissolution.
The three principal reasons for Shivratri are:
Sadashiv, the Cosmic Form of Shiva
1] Sadashiv, the cosmic form of Lord Shiva, appeared as 'Lingodbhav Moorti' precisely at midnight on Maha Shivratri. That is why all Shiva devotees keep vigil during the night of Shivratri and do abhishek of the Shivalingam (the form in which Shiva is worshipped). It is the night when Shiva performed the tandava nritya or the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.
Lord Vishnu is Born as Krishna
It is believed that Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna, was born in Gokul in the middle of the night on Janamashtami, 180 days after Shivratri. Amazingly the circle of one year is divided into two by the festivities of Shivratri and Janamashtami.
Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati
2] Lord Shiva was married to Goddess Parvati on Shivratri. Shiva without Parvati is an absolute 'Nirgun Brahman' (formless static God), whereas with Parvati, or purna-shakti, the most complete form of the divine feminine energy, He becomes the 'Sagun Brahman' for his dedicated devotees.
Shiva as Neelkantham
3] On Shivratri, Lord Shiva became 'Neelkantham' or the blue-throated one by swallowing the deadly poison, halahala, that came up when the devas and asuras churned the sea to obtain the nectar of immortality. Even a drop of the poison would have annihilated the entire world but Shiva held it in His neck, which turned blue with its impact.Ever since Shivratri is celebrated as a day of thanksgiving to the Lord for protecting us from destruction.
2nd March, 2011: We have the monthly Sri Hari Kirtan from to 7 pm at Hari Vrinda Dham preceded by the Ramayan Path and chanting of Om Namah Shivay.
Sri Banke Bihari, Vrindavan
4th March, 2011: The Phalgun Amavasya or the new moon day falls on a Friday. Devotees throng to the Sri Banke Bihari Temple on every Amavasya and since this is the holy month of Phalgun, the rush will be much greater. It is the last day of Krishna Paksha or waning phase of the moon in Phalgun as per the Hindi calendar.The Amavasya is also popular as Maha Shivaratri Amavasya as the day prior to Amavasya is celebrated as the festival of Maha Shivaratri.
Shri Radha-Krishna Playing Holi in Vraja
20th March, 2011: Holi. In fact Holi, the festival of colours is a great celebration for the devotees of Shri Radha-Krishna in Vraja. From Basant Panchami the sprinkling of gulal or red coloured powder starts in Vrindavan and continues up to Holi on 20th March; the celebration continues for a span of 41 days. Romantic dalliances of Shri Radha-Krishna, constantly prevail in the nikunjas of Vrindavan, banks of the Yamuna and at the wells of Braj Bhoomi.This ethereal land rejoices with tinkling anklets of gopis and resounds with the dark God, Krishna, fluting in its blossoming pastures.
Highly revered Susheela Bahenji, a great saint of Vrindavan, has requested all of us to reach on:
Shri Radha Rani or Kishoriji
The Lath Maar Holi in Barsana
14th March, 2011: The Holi of Sri Radha at Barsana. As we celebrate the love of Radha and Krishna, madhurya or sweet love translates into ananda and comes the realization that everyone is ultimately a nayika searching for Krishna. Sri Radha above all of the other cowherdesses of Vrindavan and above all the other souls of the world ultimately emerges as the supreme object of Krishna's passionate love.
Lord Balram & Dark-Hued Krishna
15th March, 2011: Lord Krishna-Balram Holi in Nandgaon, is on a Tuesday. Nandgram is the village of dark-hued Krishna's foster father, Shri Nandrai ji. Highly revered by Vaishnavas, the place invokes their devotional service. At the time of gaucharan or grazing cows, in the garb of Natwar, Lord Krishna ventures from Nandgaon to the forest where green pastures, pristine water and dense foliage abound with the passionate singing of birds.
Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji says, “ In joyous abandon, Sri Krishna-Balram along with their sakhas daily go to graze cows, the wealth of their tiny village. Their mother splendidly decks the two brothers, packing chhak for their meal.”
16th March, 2011: Sri Banke Bihari ji Holi at Vrindavan, is on a Wednesday. In the first shloka of 'Pratah Stava' written by Nimbarkacharya ji:
smarami yug keli-rasabhishiktan
Acharya Shri exults that Shri Vrindavan is the land where the divine enjoys himself without the restraints of divinity , where Shri Radha-Krishna dally romantically. Herein poetry becomes practised religion as we live out stories from the cosmic world of Krishna.
He enthuses, ' I meditate upon Vrindavan which is steeped in the play between Radha and Krishna as they move into the mazes and mysteries of love. Vrindavan reigns supreme in the entire mandala or mystical circular region. Each kunja-nikunja (bower), every part of the greatly fortunate Vrinda landscape, banks of the Yamuna, pastures of Krishna's flute-play, market places, lanes and mountain passes are all adorned with Shri Radha-Krishna's winsome dalliances.
Lord Vishnu Manifests as Krishna in Pastoral Vraja
We ought to visit Vrindavan on any day till 20th March, 2011, which is Holi.The in-dwelling Vishnu, manifests in the most beautiful setting:pastoral Vraja and the wilds of Vrindavana. Its forests, groves, bowers, Shri Yamunaji and Shri Giriraj captivate us, making us long to relish Krishna's divine play which is both real and illusionary, human and divine at the same time.
Bobo ji's Yugal Sarkar or Sri Radha-Krishna
Usha Bahenji's yugal sarkar or Sri Radha-Krishna are coloured with gulal on their pedestal, from Basant Panchami to Holi.
14th March, 2011: Meen Sankranti as per the solar calendar. Sankranti means the entry of the sun from one zodiac to another. In Meen sankranti the sun enters the Meen Rashi (Pisces.)
30th March, 2011: Papamochini Ekadasi is on a Wednesday Ekadashi is the Goddes that arose from Lord Vishnu to fight and defeat the demon Mura. When she defeated the demon, Lord Vishnu was pleased and said that anyone who would keep the Ekadashi fast would be expiated from their sins and attain moksha (salvation).
Papamochani Ekadasi is observed on Chaitra Krishna Paksha Ekadashi day in North Indian Calendar.This is the last of the Ekadashi vrats of the Hindu Year.The fast of Papamochani Ekadashi expiates the sins of devotees. Literally paap means sin and mochani stand for the remover. The katha or legend of Paapmochni Ekadasi is mentioned in the Bhavishya Uttara Purana as a conversation between Lord Krishna and Yudhishtira. Charity and fasting are important aspects of the vrata.
31st March, 2011: Lord Shiva's Pradosha Fast. Pradosh means dusk and this fast is kept for propitiating Lord Shiva. With his blessings one's desires are fulfilled and one attains spiritual enlightenment. Generally people observe the Pradosha Vrata on every trayodashi tithi (13th lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas) in the evening. Please offer plain water and bel patra to Lord Shiva. The bel patra or leaf of the wood-apple tree represents the three eyes of lord Shiva and the three gunas.