Indian Independence Day

Being observed as India's Independence Day, August 15 is celebrated across the nation with great patriotism and enthusiasm. The UK Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act in 1947 on July 4, 1947 and transferred legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly. This was the end of the British rule in India and on August 15, 1947,…

Solstice and Strawberry Moon tonight

Today, the summer solstice and full moon coincide — a rare event, indeed, that hasn’t happened in nearly 70 years, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac. It’s a once-in-a-generation pairing: the start of astronomical summer and emergence of the full “Strawberry Moon.” June’s full Strawberry Moon got its name because the native American Algonquin tribes knew it as…

Manda Festival | Pray for monsoon rain

With Sarhul festival over on Sunday, April 10, Manda festival was on Wednesday, April 13. While Sarhul is celebrated to mark beginning of New Year by worshiping trees, Manda is celebrated to pray for monsoon rain. The Manda festival takes place primarily in and around 100 km radius of Ranchi, especially in villages where the majority of…

Ram Navami in Jharkhand

Ram Navami Procession in Ranchi

Ram Navami or Rama Navami is celebrated every year by the Hindus to commemorate the birth of Lord Rama, who is believed to be one of the Dashavatara (ten incarnations) of Lord Vishnu. According to Hindu calendar, the festival is observed on Shukla Navami (the ninth day of waxing moon period) of Chaitra month (March-April). Unlike other…

Saraswati Puja

Saraswati (also Sarasvati) is the Hindu goddess of learning, wisdom, music, and aesthetics. She is also known as Bharati (eloquence), Shatarupa (existence), Vedamata ('mother of the Vedas'), Brahmi, Sarada, Vagisvari, and Putkari. Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and arts, represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness. Saraswati represents vak or the divine word, but the same inspiration she reflects extends…

Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja is one of the few all-women celebrations observed by the women folks of the family without the necessity of a male priest and the utterance of Sanskrit mantras. Source of the festival could be in the fertility cult prevalent during the hoary matriarchal/matrilineal days of the country and in the Harappan civilisation.

Sohrai | A festival and an art

Sohrai is a winter harvest festival and one of the most important festivals of santhals in Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is mainly celebrated at the beginning of winter harvest, when the paddy has ripened, on the new moon day of the Bengali month of Kartik, coinciding with Diwali or Kali puja, in the month of…

Bhoot Chaturdashi | The Indian Halloween

Ghosts are an important part of the folklore, and form an integral part of the socio-cultural beliefs of the people living in the geographical and ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. Popularly known as the Indian Halloween, Bhoot Chaturdashi is observed on the night before Kali Puja. Observed primarily in the eastern parts of India, it is said that on this night the dead walk among the living. The evil spiritual powers are seemingly heightened on this night. In order to keep the evil spirits at bay, people ritualistically observe Bhoot Chaturdashi every year.

Bijoya Sammilani and Reunion 2015

While returning to Baghdad, I was in New Delhi on October 31. My flight to Dubai was at 4.00 am. My schoolmates arranged a Bijoya sammilani for our 1980 batch on that day so that I could also join. It was arranged at Barbeque Nation in Vasant Kunj. As decided, we all assembled there at…