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 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 October-November.
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.
Makar Sankranti is about nature, energy of the sun, harvest of new crop, and progress of mankind. It marks the end of Malmaas, an inauspicious month in the Hindu (Panchang) calendar, and the transition of the Sun to the zodiacal sign of Makar (Capricorn) to herald a change in season.
The Vedas comprise a vast corpus of Sanskrit poetry, philosophical dialogue, myth, and ritual incantations developed and composed by Aryans over 3,500 years ago. Regarded by Hindus as the primary source of knowledge and the sacred foundation of their dharma, the Vedas embody one of the worlds oldest surviving cultural traditions.
Annakoot — Mountain of food — is celebrated in observance of the episode in Sri Krishna’s childhood, in which He gave protection to the cowherd clan of Vrindavan from the wrath of Indra and humbled Indra in that process. The cowherd, their wives, children and cattle jubilantly surrounded Sri Krishna. They were awed by His superhuman accomplishment and celebrated Sri Krishna’s feat with a sumptuous feast. Thus began the tradition of Annakoot.
People of eastern Indian states of West Bengal, Assam and Orissa worship Goddess Laksmi on Kojagori Purnima night — the full moon night in the month of Ashwin of Bengali calendar, just four days after Vijaya Dashami or Dusshera — the last day of the Durga puja in the month of October. Kojagori Purnima coincides with Nabanna or the harvesting festival or season which commences from this day when the harvested grains are consumed in households.