August is a special month for Indians. Not only is it the month when the nation celebrates its Independence Day (15 August), it is also the month full of celebrations.
We bring to you some of the major festivals celebrated in the month of August.
Aadi Perukku – August 03, 2019 (Saturday)
Aadi Perukku, celebrated on the 18th day of Aadi (Tamil month) is a monsoon festival that celebrates the agrarian bounty that the overflowing waters of rivers bring us. A number of temples in Tamil Nadu host festivals where women worship the Goddess Pachai Amman. It is also the day families choose to pack lunches and picnic on the banks of a nearby lake or river. The evening ends with women and children floating lamps in these water bodies as a form of thanksgiving. Symbolically, the government often orders the release of dam waters on this day.
Hariyali Teej – August 03, 2019 (Saturday)
Hariyali Teej or Choti Teej is the monsoon festival celebrated by married women of North India. It is celebrated on the 3rd day of the waxing fortnight of Shravan month. The association between the rains and swings is an old one. Men prepare swings on sturdy trees for their women on Hariyali Teej. This is the day Indian women worship Goddess Parvati for marital bliss and don their best attires. Much singing and dancing accompanies the festivities. Married women observe a fast and receive gifts from their parents on this day.
Nag Panchami – August 05, 2019 (Monday)
Indian society is the perfect example of harmonious coexistence with nature and all creatures. Snakes form a central part of rural life in the country. Snakes are both feared and revered across the country and Nag Panchami is the day when snakes and serpents are propitiated by men and women lining up to feed them milk and worship them. It is celebrated on the fifth day of waxing fortnight of the Shravan month. Snake charmers bring (defanged) cobras to temples and women offer them milk. At the same time, in many places women make paintings of serpents and celebrate the safety of their families.
Varalakshmi Vrat – August 09, 2019 (Friday)
Varalakshmi Vrat, a fast and festival undertaken by married women of South India (Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh) and some parts of Maharashtra. It is similar to the Karva Chauth observed by women from the northern states as in it is undertaken for the safety and longevity of the husband and for marital bliss. Women fast through the day and paint an image of Goddess Lakshmi on a vase. The Goddess is decorated and worshipped by the women. Though a domestic festival, Varalakshmi Vrat is celebrated with much pomp and splendour in South India.
Jamshed Navroz (Pateti) – August 17, 2019 (Saturday)
Pateti is traditionally the Day of Repentance or New Year’s eve as observed by orthodox Parsis who follow the Shenshai calendar. The next day, is celebrated as Navroz (New Year’s Day). Many, however, call the first day of the new year Pateti as well and now this has become the new nomenclature of the New Year. Parsis who follow the Kadmi calendar celebrate Navroz in August and those who follow the Fasli calendar celebrate it in March.
Raksha Bandhan – August 15, 2019 (Thursday)
One of the most famous and widely celebrated festivals across India, Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan epitomises the bond between a brother and sister. It is celebrated on the full moon night or Poornima of the Shravan month. Girls and women across the country prepare the Rakhi or a decorative thread and tie it on the wrist of their brothers who in turn promise to protect their sisters. Rakhi is a great unifier and women tie Rakhi have been known on the wrist of men across caste, community, and religious barriers to solidify social bonds.
Also Read: Raksha Bandhan Gift Ideas
Krishna Janmashtami – August 24, 2019 (Saturday)
Krishna Janmashtami, the 8th day of the waning fortnight of Bhadon month is celebrated by Hindus as the birthday of Lord Krishna. It is one of the major festivals of India and is celebrated with much enthusiasm and devotion. Sweets are prepared and offered and song and dance programs organized across the length and breadth of the country. Temples hold night long celebrations and many households are also decorated to commemorate this day. Brindavan and Mathura are two places where the festival is celebrated on a grand scale with millions of devotees participating in the festivities.
Nand Mahotsav (Dahi Handi) – August 25, 2019 (Sunday)
Nand Mahotsav is celebrated on the day following Janmashtami. It is believed that Nanda (Krishna’s foster father) and Gokul village celebrated the birth of Lord Krishna the previous night by indulging in music, dance, and many games. One of the most important among these is the Dahi Handi. Across India, young boys form a human pyramid and attempt to break a curd filled earthen pot tied at a considerable height, mimicking Gokul’s original celebrations. Dahi Handi involves much skill and dexterity and can invoke much competition among the participating groups.
August is also the month of fairs in India. The heat of the summer is past its prime and autumn is in the air. The perfect time for Nehru Trophy Boat Race, a fiercely competitive boat race held in the Punnamada Lake of Alappuzha district in Kerala. The races are a tourist attraction and are attended by thousands from India and abroad. The Jhapan Mela is another fair that celebrates the role of snakes and serpents in Indian society. It is a major fair (in Bishnupur and other places of India) combined with a prayer to Manasa Devi.
Shravan Mela, the monsoon fair is held in different parts of the country. Pilgrims take waters from holy rivers to nearby Shiva temples and attend the fairs with their families. The Gogamedi Fair held in the held in the Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan is another major tourist attraction that showcases the rich handicrafts and cultural legacy of the state.