2nd October, 2014: Shri Durga Ashtami
Durgashtami, is the eighth day of Durga Navratris. Goddess Bhadrakali, the powerful form of the mother goddess, incarnated on Ashvin Krishna Ashtami along with the yogini ganas to annihilate demon Mahishasur. Durga means indefatigable in Sanskrit.
On the 8th day of this colourful festival, yagna or religious sacrifice and homa or fire rituals are performed. Pure ghee, kheer and sesame seeds are offered to Goddess Durga. Many people in north India celebrate the 8th day as ashtami when nine young girls representing the Navdurge are fed with halwa, puri and kale chane.
3rd October, 2014: Shri Durga Navami
On Mahanavami, the Mother Goddess became Mahishasura Mardhini by slaying demon Mahishasura.
The ninth day is also celebrated as Ayudha Puja. After the slaying of Mahishasura by Goddess Durga there was no need of Her weapons and they were thus kept aside and worshipped.
On Navami, Goddess Saraswati is honoured by worshipping the books and records of accounts at home.
3rd October, 2014: Vijaya Dashami/ Dussehra
Lord Rama Killing Ravana
On this day in the Treta Yuga, Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, killed the demon king,Ravana who had abducted Sita. Ramayana, a great epic, records how Rama, his brother Lakshman, Hanuman and their troops of monkeys battled to rescue Sita from Ravana's Lanka.
Lord Rama Invokes the Blessings of Durga
Rama had performed Chandi Homa and invoked the blessings of goddess Durga. She blessed Rama with knowledge of the secret means of killing Ravana.
Effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnath being Burnt
On Dussehra, effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakaran and son Meghnath are erected and burnt with joyous abandon at sunset, marking the victory of good over evil.This event gets rid of a household's ten vices represented by ten heads of Ravana namely,lust, anger, delusion, greed, arrogance, jealousy, mind, intellect, will and ego.
On Vijayadashami, Arjuna took back his weapons which he had hidden in a Vani tree so that he could live in disguise during the promised exile.It is said that one who begins his learning to work on Vijayadashami will be a grand success as Arjuna was in the war of Kurukshetra.
As Dusshera is considered to be a festive occasion, special cuisine is made on the day. Since in most of the Hindu communities, people keep a fast and eat only one meal a day at sunset. Also the diet is strictly vegetarian. Even onion and garlic are not allowed as they are not considered a part of the ‘Satvik food’.
4th October, 2014: Papankusha Ekadashi (Sma)
5th October, 2014: Papankusha Ekadashi (Vai)
Fasting on Ekadashi (comes twice a month). One should not consume any grains or meat on this day.
Lord Krishna says that if a person fasts on Ekadashi, “I will burn up all his sins. Indeed this day is the most meritorious for destroying all kinds of sins.” In the katha of Papankusha Ekadashi from the Brahma Vaivarta Purana,Yudhishthira Maharaj says, “ Oh Madhusudana, what is the name of the Ekadashi that comes during the light fortnight of the month of Ashvina? Please be merciful and disclose this truth to me."
Lord Krishna goes on to reveal the glories of the Papankusha Ekadashi which expiates all sins.
6th October, 2014: Som Pradosh Vrata
Lord Shiva Pradosha
Pradosh means dusk and this fast is kept for propitiating Lord Shiva. With His blessings all desires are fulfilled and one attains spiritual enlightenment. Generally people observe Pradosha Vrata on every trayodashi tithi (13th lunar day falling in Krishna and Shukla Pakshas) in the evening.
7th October, 2014: Sharad Purnima
The Raas Lila
On Sharad-Poornima, Vrindavan devotees celebrate the divine union of the ascending soul with the descending God. The miracle of the Raas Lila: that supreme moment of Krishna’s manifestation as human lover and divine incarnate dancing with the gopis in the forest of Madhuvana.
Lord Krishna Bathing with Gopis in the Yamuna
Bathing with the gopis in the flowing waters of the Yamuna on the radiant night of Sharad Poornima, the autumnal full moon, Krishna enchants us.
Shri Banke Biharji
In celestial Vrindavan the most popular deity Shri Bihari ji is majestically decked with mormukut, katikachini and vanshi on Raas Poornima. Millions of devotees from all over Punjab, Delhi, UP and the entire world throng to have His radiant darshan which is possible only once a year!
8th October, 2014: Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti
He is celebrated as the poet harbinger in Sanskrit literature. Maharishi Valmiki is the author of the epic Ramayana, based on the attribution in the text of the epic itself and is revered as the Adi Kavi or First Poet because he discovered the first śloka or verse, which set the base and defined the form to Sanskrit poetry. The Yoga Vasistha is attributed to him. A religious movement called Valmikism is based on Valmiki's teachings as presented in the Ramayana and the Yoga Vasistha.
8th October, 2014: Kartik Snan Begins
Kartik Snan at Har Ki Pauri
Kartik Maas, the eighth lunar month of the traditional Hindu calendar, is considered highly auspicious in North India. Taking a holy dip in the river Ganges at Prayag and Badarikashrama located in the Himalayas in Kartik is considered as a means of attaining salvation and is known as Kartik Snan.
11th October, 2014: Karva Chauth
Karwa Chauth is a traditional Hindu festival wherein married women observe a fast and worship the karwa filled with water (or make an offering of a karva filled with sweets). As the name signifies, karwa means an earthen pot with a spout, used in prayers. Chauth corresponds to the fourth day leading to the name Karwa Chauth. The event falls on chaturthi tithi after the full moon in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar, about nine days before Diwali.
It is customary for married women to fast the entire day without food or water for the longevity of their husbands’ lives, well-being and prosperity. A woman who keeps this vrat or fast is acclaimed as Saubhagyavati (a joyous state of wifehood). In the evening they listen to the Karva Chauth katha and the fast is over after moonrise.
11th October, 2014:Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata
Ganesha, the foremost god of the Hindu pantheon is beheld as the most auspicious God of new beginnings and widely worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Devotees of Lord Ganesha, who intend to observe a fast on Ganesha Chaturthi, wake up early in the morning and take a bath.
After wearing laundered clothes, they head towards the nearest temple or perform a small puja at their home,to offer prayers to the deity.
When people fast on Ganesh Chaturthi, they either opt for the nirjal vrat (a stringent, waterless fast) or phalahar vrat (a diet). Devotees are allowed to have sweets including til ke ladoo , gajak and rewari along with tea and coffee. In order to concentrate, the devotees chant mantras invoking Lord Ganesha and sing bhajans in his praise. It is believed that if one observes a fast on Ganesha Chaturthi with sincerity, he is blessed with health, wealth and prosperity.
15th October, 2014: Ahoi Ashtami
Celebrated in autumn on Ashtami (eighth day of a lunar fortnight), Ahoi Ashtami is a festival before Diwali when women pray for their children. The ritual is usually celebrated in the Karthik month (October-November)of the Hindu calendar.
Very similar to Karva Chauth, although not overly popular, the Ahoi Ashtami is a fast specifically observed by mothers for the well-being of their sons.It is performed mostly by people living in Northern India when pure water is offered to stars in the evening by mothers praying for the long life of their sons.Families having children do worship goddess Hoi and seek her blessings for a fruitful Diwali which is just a week away.
19th October, 2014: Rama Ekadashi
It is observed on the eleventh day in Krishna Paksha of the Kartik month according to the North Indian calendar.
An account of the legend and the significance of Rama Ekadasi is given in the Brahmavaivarta Purana.
In a conversation held between dark-hued Krishna and Yudhistira, Lord Krishna details the story of prince Shobhana who attained salvation in his next life by keeping the fast of Ramaa Ekadasi.Shobhana ruled a kingdom on Mount Mandarachala and his wife Chandrabhaga finally enjoys marital bliss with him.
21st October, 2014: Dhanteras/Dhanwantari Jayanti
Dhanteras ushers in Diwali, India’s festival of lights. Marking the first day of the five day Diwali festivities; it is a harbinger of good fortune. Dhanteras falls on the auspicious thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik (October/November). Dhan in Dhanteras stands for wealth and teras means the thirteenth.
Goddess Lakshmi Riding Uluka, the Owl
On Dhanteras Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and good fortune relies on Uluka the owl to carry Her wherever she disperses her material and spiritual riches on this day in particular.
Dhanwantari, the Physician of the gods
Also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanwantari Triodashi It is celebrated in honour of Dhanavantri, the physician of the gods and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Dhanteras is celebrated with joyous abandon all over India and is particularly significant for the business community for whom it is customary to purchase precious metals on this day.
22nd October, 2014: Naraka Chaturdashi/ Chhoti Diwali
The day before Diwali, is celebrated as Chhoti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdasi with fewer lights being lit and less bursting of crackers.
Naraka Chaturdasi: Satyabhama was infuriated by Narakasura's malice towards women and Krishna granted her a boon to fight the demon, He rescued the imprisoned women plus recover Goddess Aditi's earrings. After the demon was slain, Lord Krishna married all the sixteen thousand women to spare them disgrace.
22nd October, 2014: Roop Chaturdashi
The Ineffably Beautiful Krishna
A person’s visual appearance is enhanced by worshipping Lord Krishna on this day.A saint used to live in a place called Hiranyagarbha. Once he tried to invoke the Lord by praying to Him. He performed austerities but faced a lot of problems.
Hence the saint was distressed. The saint asked Narad Muni why he had to face so many problems despite worshipping the Lord. Narad Muni told him that he had prayed in an inappropriate manner.
Narad Muni suggested that the saint keep a fast on Chaturdashi in the Kartik Krishna Paksha and worship Lord Krishna on this day. Narada assured the saint that he would become beautiful and healthy if he did so. The saint followed all principles of the fast and became healthy. Thus Narak Chaturdashi came to be known as Roop Chaturdashi.
On this day, a person should wake up early and take a bath. He should put some apamarg leaves in water before taking a bath. A four-faced lamp should be kept in a platter for worshipping the Lord. Roli, jaggery, gulal and flowers should also be kept in this platter.
After worshipping Lord Krishna, lamps should be lit in different corners of the house. Ganesha and goddess Laxmi must be worshipped with dhoop and lamps. Lamps are also donated on this day. Fourteen lamps dedicated to Lord Yama are lit in the southern direction. A devout worshipper is freed from all sins and problems.
22nd October, 2014: Hanuman Jayanti
Shri Hanuman Mandir, Sarangpur
Hanuman Jayanthi is celebrated in honour of the birth of Hanuman, the monkey god widely propitiated throughout India. He was born to Kesari (the Wind God) and Anjani. Hanuman, the mighty ape that aided Lord Rama in his expedition against evil forces, is one of the most popular idols in the Hindu pantheon. Believed to be an avatara of Lord Shiva, Hanuman is worshipped as a symbol of physical strength, perseverance and devotion.
23rd October, 2014: Diwali / Shri Lakshmi Pujan
Significant Events related to Diwali:
Diwali, the Festival of Lights
Return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya: Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama, with His wife Sita and brother Lakshmana to Ayodhya after a 14 year exile, and a war in which he killed Ravana, the demon king. It is said that the denizens of Ayodhya lit ghee lamps to light their path in the darkness. Lord Rama journeyed from South India to His kingdom in the North. He passed through the south earlier; because of which the festival is celebrated a day before in South India.
Austerities of Shakti: According to the Skanda Purana, goddess Shakti observed 21 days of austerity from ashtami of shukla paksha (eighth day of the waxing period of moon) to attain half the body of Lord Shiva. This fast is known as kedhara vrata which is completed on Deepavali when Lord Shiva accepted Shakti as the left half of His form and appeared as Ardhanarishvara.
Lakshmi Puja: Lakshmi Puja marks the most important day of Diwali celebrations in North India. Hindus worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Ganesha, the God of auspicious beginnings.Hindus leave the windows and doors of their houses open so that Lakshmi can step in. Rangoli patterns are drawn on the floors and most popular is the lotus flower because images of Lakshmi show Her either holding a lotus or sitting on one.There is much feasting and Diwali lamps make it easy for Lakshmi to find Her way to favoured houses.
Goddess Lakshmi is Worshipped as Kali in Bengal
The goddess is worshipped in her dark form as Kali in the Bengali and Oriya areas of India. Diwali marks the last battle in the Chaturmas when the demons become all powerful and must be wiped out.
24th October,2014: Annakoot or Sri Goverdhan Puja
Lord Krishna Lifting Mount Goverdhan
Lord Krishna’s lifting of Goverdhan Mount for seven days at a stretch before Diwali inaugurates the ethos of shringara bhakti. Dark-hued Krishna admonishes the people of Vraja and tells them not to become a prey to ritualistic Vedic worship of Indra Pujan but instead engage in a more humanistic dharma of love by worshipping Goverdhan.
'Soon after the prayers and aarti were done as per customary norms, 56 sumptuous delicacies were ceremoniously raised as bhoga (offerings of food) before the deity (Mount Goverdhan). After the Lord relished the feast, it was the Vrajwasis turn to approach the mount of food and savour prasad. Now, the Lord asked them to take a round of the mount, which measures 21kms or 14 kos.'
Krishna granted a boon that from now onwards Goverdhan was no more a mount but His svarupa or living presence and any person who takes a parikrama or circumambulation of Sri Girirajji will be certainly blessed with the fulfilment of all his desires. Ever since, the parikrama of Sri Girirajji is undertaken by millions of devotees almost daily, not just the annual one on Annakoot or the monthly circumambulation on every Poornima (the night or day of full moon).
It is customary for craftsmen to worship their tools in Vishwakarma's name, the Hindu presiding deity of all craftsmen and architects.
24th October, 2014: Vishwakaram Puja
25th October, 2014: Bhai Dooj
It is a ceremony performed by Hindus on the second day after Diwali. Sisters celebrate the loving adulation for their brothers by putting an auspicious tilak of vermilion or sandalwood paste on their foreheads. They perform an aarti to their brothers, honouring them for protective care and pray for their well-being. Brothers load sisters with lavish gifts and bless their younger sisters, pledging protective support.
25th October, 2014: Yama Dwitheya Snan
Tradition has it that the older sister takes her brother by the hand and the two bathe together in the Yamuna. Yamuna is the twin sister of Yamaraj, the god of death, and it is said that she intervenes on behalf of brothers and sisters to protect them from the depredations of her brother.
Custom has it that after bathing the brother and sister go to the Yamuna-Yamaraj temple and offer prayers. Afterwards, the sister marks her brother’s forehead with tilak, symbolizing her wishes for his long life. Then they exchange sweets and gifts and the brother usually offers a sari or some other piece of clothing to his sister.
Bhai Dooj or Beej is called Yama Dwitheya as it's believed that on this day, Yama, the God of death and the custodian of Naraka, visits his sister Yami. She puts the auspicious mark on his forehead, praying for his well being. It is an implicit belief that anyone who receives a tilak from his sister on this day will never be flung into hell.
27th to 30th October, 2014: Chhath Puja
Offering reverence to the solar deity, Chhath is the only festival in the world where devotees offer salutations to the setting sun; when the setting sun as opposed to its rising is celebrated for its glory as the cycle of birth starts with death.
The word Chhath denotes number six in Hindi and begins on the sixth day of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik (October-November.) It is a festival celebrated by Biharis on the sixth day after Diwali; a 4 day long celebration accompanied by rituals or Suryashashthi. The festivities comprise of fasting, folklores, hymns on the celestial Ganges or any fresh water body. Chhat Maiya is celebrated on the banks of the Ganges in Patna and Yamuna in Delhi with thousands of hands offering ‘Arghya’ to the sun thus making it an ethereal sight.
31st October, 2014: Gopashtami
An important festival it is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is observed on the eighth day of the waxing phase of the moon in the month of Kartik (October – November). Gopashtami celebrates Krishna's becoming an independent cowherd. Gau Puja or worship of cows, is undertaken in many regions of India.
It is believed that Lord Krishna was allowed to herd cows, the wealth of his village, for the first time on this day by Nanda, as he had been only looking after calves up until then. Mother Yashoda and Nand Baba are delighted to see their pampered Krishna take on his responsibilities. Invariably it is a great boon to Dama & Sumangal, Krishna's sakhas, since they can play spirited antics with the dark god now.(Shrimad Bhagavat-Canto 10,chapter XI, verse 37) It's in the forest that Krishna kills Vatsasura, Bakasura, Aghasurr and other demons. Lord Brahama is fascinated by His childlike, playful activities here and decides to take away the cows.( chapters 13 to 15 of the 10th Canto, Shrimad Bhagavat)
The festivities are a major event in Vrindavan, Mathura, Nathdwara and other sites closely related to the cowherd god. In Nathdwara, cow herders bring hundreds of cows and their calves to the temples and the cows are beautifully decked for the occasion. Gopa Ashtami was a festival meant for boys but it is said that Radha dressing up like a boy, joyously took part in it.Those worshipping the balgopal or child form of Lord Krishna can offer the special makan-mishri bhog to Him.