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What are Festivals.......

Festivals have existed in India since the Vedic age, a time when the Aryans ruled over the Sapta Sindhu region and the oldest Indian texts, the Vedas, were composed. They were born out of the ritualistic worship that was performed to appease the Gods, the masters of nature. However, they evolved into special occasions, days which broke the monotony of the daily struggle of life, days of enjoyment and entertainment.

Women looked forward to these days, as they were relieved of their duties from the house. Apart from religious ceremonies, festivals were also days for chariot races, religious dramas, dances, musical performances and gambling. Arenas were set up where young men participated in wrestling competitions. The atmosphere was one of freedom, joy and celebration.  

Some important ancient festivals included:

 Grishmaparva, the summer festival, was held on a full-moon day during the month of Phagun (February / March)


Ashtanika, an important Jain festival that lasted eight days. Jain deities were worshiped after a holy bath.

Festivals of the Sun, where the Sun god Surya was worshipped, especially by the Hindus of Multan.

The Bow Festival was celebrated by kings and noblemen for the worship of Shiva. Bows and arrows were decorated and worshipped. An especially famous occasion on which this festival was celebrated was during the Dhanur Yajna, where Ram won over Sita, as recorded in the Ramayana.

Dohada Purana took place in the spring, when women mated with trees, which once "married", were said to have blossomed. An unusual, romantic ritual. With time, the old religions diversified to form new sects and forms of belief. A number of these rituals and ceremonies faded away, to be replaced by varied methods of worship.