Saturday, 28 March 2015

Festivals of India

Ram Navami

The birthday of Lord Rama, the celebrated hero of the famous epic, 'Ramayana', is enthusiastically celebrated on the ninth day of the waxing moon in the month of Chaitra, all over India. Lord Vishnu is worshiped in his human incarnation as Rama, the divine ruler of Ayodhya.

Sri-Ramnavami is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama. It occurs on the ninth day (navami) of Vasanta (spring) Navratri. The festival commemorates the birth of Rama who is remembered for his righteous reign. Ramrajya (the reign of Rama) has become synonymous with a period of peace and prosperity. Mahatma Gandhi also used this term to describe how according to him, India should be after independence.

A view of a the religious procession being taken out on the occasion of Ram Navami, at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.

Ramnavami is one of the most important festivals of the Hindus, particularly the Vaishnava sect of the Hindus. On this auspicious day, devotees repeat the name of Rama with every breath and vow to lead a righteous life. People pray to attain the final beatitude of life through intense devotion towards Rama and invoke him for his blessings and protection. Many observe a strict fast on this day. Otherwise, it is an extremely colorful ceremony, highly inspiring and instructive too. Temples are decorated and the image of Lord Rama is richly adorned. The holy 'Ramayana' is read in the temples. On this day, devotees clean their houses and decorate it with colors. They also adorn the entrance doors with mango leaves, which signify prosperity.

Devotees dance at Kanak Bhavan as they celebrate Ram Navami festival in Ayodhya.

In Ayodhya, the birthplace of Sri Rama, a big fair is held on this day. In the south of India the "Sri Ramnavami Utsavam" is celebrated for nine days with great fervor and devotion. In temples and at pious gatherings the learned narrate the thrilling episodes of the 'Ramayana'. The Kirtanists chant the holy name of Rama and celebrate the wedding of Rama with Sita on this day. Bhajans, songs and dances are performed in honor of the Lord. People wear new clothes and prepare special dishes. 

In South India, since the auspicious day is also considered as the marriage day of Rama and Sita, temple priests perform a wedding ceremony called "Kalyanotsavam". 

This year, Ramnavami or the birthday of Lord Rama falls on the 28th of March.

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