1st October, 2015: Sankashti Ganesh Chaturthi Vrata
Lord Ganesha Being Blessed by Shiva & Parvati
Sankashti Chaturthi also known as Sankata Hara Chaturthi is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This day is celebrated in every Lunar month or Hindu calendar month on the fourth day of Krishna Paksha (dark lunar phase or the waning phase). On this day, the devotees observe strict fast. They break the fast at night after having darshan of the moon preceded by prayers to Lord Ganesha.
Sankashti means deliverance during troubled times, hence observing this fast is believed to reduce your problems as Lord Ganesha symbolizes the remover of all obstacles and supreme lord of intelligence.
Before moonlight the Ganapati Atharvashesha is recited to summon the blessings of Lord Ganesha.
8th October, 2015: Indira Ekadashi Vrata
The Ekadashi of Ashwin Krishna Paksha is called the Indira Ekadashi. On, this day, Shaligramji is worshipped and a fast is kept which expiates all sin. It is believed that this fast grants salvation to soul of ancestors who went to hell, after death. Just by hearing the story of this Vrata, a person gets the same fruits as performing a Yagya.
The Tale of Indira Ekadashi Fast:
In the golden age, there lived a glorious ruler Indrasen in the city of Mahishmati. He was blessed with a son, grandson, wealth and he used to easily destroy his enemies. When Maharishi Narada came there, the king stood up immediately and welcomed him with arghya.
Narada said “ Once I went to Yamlok and saw your father who was a wise, generous and religious person but he gave up the fast of Ekadashi in between.”
Your father has sent a message, “My son’s name is Indrasen and he rules over Mahishamti. If he observes the fast of Indra Ekadashi of Krishna Paksha, Ashvin Masa, then I shall get salvation. By the fruits of this Ekadashi, I will leave this place and reach heaven.”
Hearing this, Indrasen was upset and asked the method of Indira Ekadasi fast from Maharishi Narada.
10th October, 2015: Shani Pradosh Vrata
Is an auspicious fast dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is observed on the thirteenth day of every fortnight (Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha) in the Hindu calendar. Shivalinga puja at the time of pradosha time and fasting are the main rituals of Pradosham.
In all Pradosha vratas, Shani Pradosha which falls on a Saturday and Soma Pradosham on a Monday are important days
12th October, 2015: Sarvapitra Shradh / Pitra Visarjan
Sarva Pitra Shradh
Sarva Pitra Shradh is observed on the Amavasya (new moon day) of Ashwin Krishna. If Shardh has been missed or someone’s Shradh tithi (date) is unknown, Shradh can be done on the same day. In the evening,poori (fried bread) and special dishes (Kheer, Halwa etc.) are kept on the door so that our pitras or ancestors do not go back hungry, similarly lighting signifies brightening the way of ancestors.
Ashwini Amawasya is also called Pitra Visarjan. By a feast and donating to the brahmans, ancestors are being satisfied on this day. It is a belief that at the time of Visarjan ancestors blessed their sons.
13th October,2015: Shardiya Navratris Begin
In Hindu mythology Durga is Shakti, the divine feminine energy. The Goddess’s triump over Mahishasur, the buffalo demon symbolizes the victory of good over evil. These nine days are solely devoted to propitiation of the Mother Goddess or Shakti Incarnate.
17th October, 2015: Vinayak Chaturthi Vrata
According to Hindu scriptures Chaturthi Tithi(s) belongs to Lord Ganesha. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi.
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 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, 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.
21st October, 2015: 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.
22nd October, 2015: 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.
22nd October,2015: Vijaya Dashami
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’.
23rd October,2015: Papankusha Ekadashi
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.
25th October, 2015: 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.
26th October, 2015: Sharad Purnima
The Rasa 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!
27th October, 2015: 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.
27th October, 2015: 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.
30th October, 2015: 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.
30th October, 2015:Sankashti 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 Sankashti 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 Sankashti 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 Sankashti Chaturthi with sincerity, he is blessed with health, wealth and prosperity.