1st June, 2014: Vinayak Chaturthi Vrata
Each lunar month in Hindu calendar has two Chaturthi Tithis which belong to Lord Ganesha according to Hindu scriptures. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon and during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and the one after Purnimasi or full moon and during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi.
The most significant Vinayaka Chaturthi falls in the month of Bhadrapada and is known as Ganesha Chaturthi. Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus all over the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.
4th June, 2014: Skanda Shashti Vrata
Kartikeya is a Hindu god who is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Accordingly, he is the brother of their son, Ganesha. A Hindu god, he is also known as Skanda or Murugan.The Shasti falling during the waxing phase of the moon is celebrated as the Skanda Sashti. Skanda Shashti is dedicated to Lord Skanda, the younger son of Lord Shiva. Devotees perform fast and chant Skanda Sashti Kavacham on this day.
8th June, 2014: Ganga Dussehra
The Birth of goddess Ganga
During this festival ten days of the month are devoted to the worship of Holy River Ganga venerated by the Hindus as a mother and a goddess.
Places such as Rishikesh, Haridwar, Garh-Mukteswar, Prayag, Varanasi and others where the Ganga flows, hold a special significance on this day. Devotees flock to these places & Varanasi with its many ghats situated on the west bank of the Ganga, to touch the river water, bathe in it and take the river clay home to venerate.
In Haridwar, 'aartis' are performed at twilight and a large number of devotees meditate on the riverbanks.The river Ganga rises at Gangotri, high in the snow-clad Himalayas. Cascading down mighty boulders, it flows into the hot plains of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and finally merges with the sea in the Bay of Bengal.
Bhagirath Prays for the Ganga to Descend on Earth
Regarded as a celestial river originating in the heavens, Ganga was gifted to mankind in answer to the great sadhana undertaken by Bhagirath, after whom she is also called Bhagirathi. Bhagirath, a descendant of the Sagara dynasty, prayed for the Ganga to descend onto the parched earth and bring life. But the torrential waters of the Ganga were a mighty and destructive force. Brahma and Vishnu asked Shiva to accept the Ganga into His matted locks. Confined in Shiva's hair, Ganga lost the wild force of her flow and became a placid, life-giving river.
Despite its pollution, the Ganga is a symbol of purity. Its water bestows salvation to the dying and new life to the living. Unusual images of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balaram and sister Subhadra are ceremonially pulled in the grand chariots at Puri.
This Ekadashi falls in the month of Jyestha, during the Shukla paksha (June). Amongst the 24 Ekadashi's , the vrata on Jyeshtha Shukla Ekadashi is considered most beneficial and said to give the fruits of 24 Ekadashis observed throughout the year. A complete fast is kept on this day with not a drop of water to drink. People worship Lord Vishnu to ensure happiness and prosperity, and forgiveness of transgressions and sins. On the preceding day that is on the 10th lunar day, Sandhya (evening prayer) is performed and only one meal is taken.
10th June, 2014: Bhaum Pradosh
When Pradosham falls on a Tuesday it is known as Bhauma Pradosha.The puja is observed in the evening on Trayodashi or the 13th day in Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha of the Hindu month to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. It is auspicious to perform Shukra Graha Dosha Nivarana Puja on this day.
12th June, 2014: Shri Satyanarayan Vrata
The Satyanarayan svami vratam is a fast dedicated to Lord Satyanarayan Swami (Lord Vishnu.)Shri Satyanarayan Puja is performed to seek blessings of God Narayan which is one of the forms of Lord Vishnu. The Lord in this form is considered an embodiment of truth. Although there is no fixed day to perform Satyanarayan Puja but doing it on Purnima is considered highly auspicious.
Devotees should observe the fast on Puja day. The Puja can be done in the morning as well as in the evening but performing Satyanarayan Puja in the evening is considered more appropriate as devotees can break the fast with Prasadam in the evening.
13th June, 2014: Saint Kabir Jayanti
Saint Poet Kabir
Saint Kabir Jayanti is celebrated in honour of Sant Kabir Das, a mystical saint and poet predominant in North India. Kabir was born to Muslim parents in Benaras (erstwhile Varanasi) who turned to spirituality and religion at a very young age. Saint Kabir Jayanti is observed as an auspicious day dedicated to Kabir.
His life took a major turn after he started following the teachings of Guru Ramananda, a 15th century Hindu mystical guru who coined the name Kabir Das.
Professionally, Saint Kabir Das was a weaver who used to spend most of his time at the loom, but the way he had woven magic in traditional realms of Hindus and Muslims equally is something that can never be ignored.
For instance, he expressed his feelings beautifully in words such as “The Purana and The Koran are mere words” and God is “neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash”. All over his life, Kabir actively denounced both temples and mosques maintaining that God is in everyone and exists everywhere.
16th June, 2014: Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata
Chaturthi is celebrated on the 4th day from full moon day. Devotees fast on this day.The Chaturthi after Purnimasi or full moon and during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi.
23rd July, 2014: Yogini Ekadashi Vrata
Yogini Ekadashi occurs during the waning phase of the moon in the Hindu month of Ashadha (June – July) as per the traditional Hindu calendar followed in North India. The importance of this Ekadasi was explained to Yudhisthira by Lord Krishna. Fasting on this Ekadashi helps us overcome the remorse caused by committing sins and get ‘moksha.’
The significance of Yogini Ekadasi is mentioned in Brahma Vaivarta Purana. The Purana narrates the tale of a gardener named Hemamali who overcame a curse, which made him a leper, by observing a fast on Yogini Ekadasi. The gardener was instructed by sage Markandeya about the Ekadashi.
All the usual rules associated with Ekadasi fasting are observed on the day. The fast begins with the sunrise on Ekadasi day and ends with sunrise on the next day.
24th June,2014: Bhaum Pradosh Vrata
27th June,2014: Amavasya
Amavasya, the New Moon Day
The last day of the waning phase of the moon is called as Amavasya. Amavasya is the end of the Krishna paksha of the Hindu month. A few festivals like Diwali celebrated on this day. Amavasya is considered sacred for ancestor rituals.
According to Amavasyant calenders it is called Jyaishta Amavasya. As per purnimant calenders it is called Ashadha Amavasya.
29th June,2014: Rath Yatra
Lord Jagannath, Subhadra & Balbhadra
Jagannath is a Hindu God worshipped primarily by the people of Orissa and Bengal. Jagannath is generally considered an aspect of Lord Vishnu or his avatara Krishna. He is worshipped as part of a triad along with Krishna's brother Balabhadra and his sister Subhadra.
The Chariots of Lord Jagannath, Subhadra & Balbhadra
The most famous festival related to Jagannath is the Ratha Yatra, where the three deities are transported in three massive wooden chariots pulled by devotees from Puri to Gundicha Temple, about 3 kms away. Similar Ratha yatra processions are organized all around the world.