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.
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.
the summer festival, was held on a full-moon
day during the month of Phagun (February / March)
an important Jain festival that lasted eight
days. Jain deities were worshiped after a holy bath.
of the Sun,
where the Sun god Surya was worshipped,
especially by the Hindus of Multan.
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.
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.