October Festivals and Observances in India
India is a land of festivals, and the people of India believe in celebrating life. In October, when the monsoon rain has eased in most places, the festivals come pouring in and every day here is a sight to behold. October can be termed as the Queen of months, as some of the major festivals in India normally fall in this month. Here is a list of the few important ones to be celebrated in October, 2016:
When: 1st October-10th October
Navaratri, literally meaning ‘nine nights’, is celebrated twice every year in veneration of Goddess Durga, a form of Shakti. The Navaratri celebrated during Autumn is known as Sharad Navaratri, and Goddess Durga in her nine manifestations is worshipped on these nine days and nights, beginning a day after Mahalaya Amavasya (New Moon) and concluding on Dussehra.
- The nine forms of Goddess Durga include Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Maha Gauri and Siddhidatri.
- In the northern and western parts of India, people fast for nine days and partake of only satvik, meaning ‘vegetarian’ diet while breaking the fast at sunset. Celebrations include people performing dandiya and raas garba (Dances of Gujarat) every evening till the wee hours of the morning.
- The idols of Goddess Durga riding astride a tiger, as depicted in mythology, is placed in different localities and worshipped for 10 days.
- In southern India, especially in the state of Tamil Nadu, Navaratri is celebrated in the form of Golu, where the idol of Goddess Durga is established in the house hold along with other clay idols in 9 steps. It is believed that these nine days are when Goddess Durga is meditating before she kills Mahishasura, the Demon King, on the 9th day.
When: 7th October-11th October
Durga Puja is one of the most awaited festivals in West Bengal and Assam when Goddess Shakti in the form of Durga is worshipped.
- Durga Puja in West Bengal, begins on the sixth day of Navaratri, on Maha Shashthi.
- It is believed that Goddess Durga, after killing Mahishasur, visits her parents’ house for four days, before heading back to the abode of her husband Lord Shiva in Kailash.
- The idol depicting Goddess Durga astride a lion, killing Mahishasur coming out of a buffalo, along with Goddess Durga’s children Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya is installed in beautifully constructed pandals in different localities.
- A banana sapling depicting the consort of Lord Ganesh is also installed along with the idols.
- Ma Durga is welcomed with great fervour every year and the sound of dhakis (drums) and conch shells resonate in the air.
- On the tenth day, Maha Dashami, the idol is immersed in rivers, symbolising the departure of Ma Durga for Kailash.
When: October 11th
The tenth day of Navaratri is celebrated as Dussehra all over India. According to mythology, on this day Lord Rama killed Ravana. It is basically symbolic of victory of the good over evil.
- Big effigies of Ravana filled with firecrackers are erected in an open area and then set on fire. This is symbolic of killing of Ravana, the Demon King of Lanka.
- Large crowds turn up for the event, and as the effigy burns and the firecrackers light up the night sky, there is great rejoicing and people wish each other a Happy Dussehra.
- In Kullu Dussehra is celebrated to worship Goddess Hadimba, who, according to mythology, was the wife of Bhim and mother of Ghatotkacha.
- Dussehra is a major festival in Karnataka and celebrated to rejoice the victory of Goddess Shakti, in the form of Chamundeshwari, over the demon Mashishasur. Mysore on Dussehra is resplendent with the Mysore Palace illuminated with nearly 1 lakh light bulbs.
Read: History of Dussehra
When: 12th October–31st October
Muharram is a very sombre affair for the Muslims, as this Islamic festival commemorates the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet. It is believed that on this day Imam Hussein ibn Ali was killed in the battle of Karbala.
Muharram is a mourning period for the Muslims and they indulge in self-inflicted wounds with the belief that the blood flowing out will rid them of all evil thoughts. On the tenth and last day of the festival, known as Ashura, Sunni Muslims take taziyas, replicas of Imam Hussain’s shrine, out in procession during the evening.
When: 19th October
Karva Chauth is a Hindu Festival, celebrated by the women of North India, where they fast from dawn till moonrise, for the longevity of their respective husbands.
- Karva Chauth is celebrated on the fourth day of the waning moon fortnight.
- Women in North India partake of Sargi (Fruits and sweets given by their mother-in-law) before the sunrises, and fast nirjal (without water) until moonrise.
- At moonrise, the women worship the Moon and then look at their husband through a sieve before taking the first sip of water from the hands of their husband.
- This day is celebrated with great fanfare and the women adorn themselves in Solah Shringar, meaning 16 kinds of adornments, that a bride normally wears; including henna on the palm, bridal make-up, jewellery, and many more.
When: 28th October
The festival of Dhanteras is celebrated to worship the Goddess of Wealth – Goddess Lakshmi, and the God of Prosperity – Lord Ganesha.
- Dhan literally means ‘wealth’ and teras ‘thirteenth’, and this festival is celebrated on the thirteenth day of Krishna Paksha, of the Hindu month of Ashwin, all over India.
- Dhanteras is also known as ‘Dhantrayodashi’ and ‘Dhanvantari Trayodashi’.
- As per mythology, on this day Dhanvantri (physician of the Gods and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) appeared from the churning of the celestial oceans with the jar of elixir.
- On this day, household and business establishments all over India are spruced up and decorated, and Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha are venerated with great fervour.
When: 29th October
Kali Puja, also known as Shyama Puja, is celebrated on the New Moon Day of the month of Ashwin as per Hindu Calender. This festival is celebrated in West Bengal, Orissa, and Assam and falls a day before Diwali.
- It is believed that on this day Goddess Shakti, in the fierce form of Ma Kali, killed the demon kings Shumbh and Nishumbh.
- Ma Kali is venerated as a mother and is symbolic of preservation as well as destruction.
- Pandals are erected in different localities and the idol of Ma Kali, depicted as stepping on Her consort Lord Shiva, and thus sticking out her tongue in shame, is installed and worshipped at midnight on the New Moon night.
When: 30th October
The much awaited festival of lights, Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is celebrated all over India with great fervour. This is a five-day festival beginning with Dhanteras and ending with Bhai Duj.
- Diwali is celebrated on the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha of the Hindu calendar month of Ashwin each year.
- In North India, it is believed that Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya on this day after vanquishing and killing the demon king Ravana in Lanka.
- In South India, Diwali is celebrated on Naraka Chathurdasi, a day prior to the new moon day, to commemorate the killing of Narakasura, the demon king, by Lord Krishna.
- Diwali spells joy and happiness with lights, electrical and earthen diyas, lit all over, and the sound of firecrackers resonating in the air.
Read: Diwali Gifts Ideas
Festivals are just an excuse to celebrate life. Each festival in India is symbolic of the victory of good over evil. Here’s to wishing all the Indians joy, health and prosperity and also wishing you all have a great time in this auspicious month of October.
Festivals in October 2016
Navratri Celebration in India
History of Navratri
Navratri 2016 Dates
Download Free Diwali Wallpapers
Celebration of Diwali
History of Diwali
Story of Ram in Diwali
Celebration of Dussehra