Indian festivals

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FESTIVALS OF INDIA A PRESENTATION BY: SMRITI AMOL SINGH T.G.T. ENGLISH K.V. 3, 9BRD,PUNE.

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India is a land of festivals and fairs. Every day of the year, there is a festival celebrated in some part of the country. Some festivals welcome the seasons of the year, the harvest, the rains, or the full moon. Others celebrate religious occasions, the birthdays of divine beings, saints, and gurus (revered teachers), or the advent of the new year. A number of these festivals are common to most parts of India. However, they may be called by different names in various parts of the country or may be celebrated in a different fashion.

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Some of the common festivals celebrated in India are:

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HOLI The colourful festival of Holi is celebrated in most parts of India during February-March (in the month of Phalgun according to the Hindu calendar). The celebrations vary depending on region and local traditions but the common part is exchange of colours.

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Legends of Holi: Holika was an aunt of a boy named Prahlad, who died in the fire while trying to help her king brother Hiranyakashyap, burn PRAHLAD. In her honour, an effigy of Holika is burnt in a bonfire in some parts of India. Holi was also the name of a female demon Putana who tried to kill boy Krishna, by giving him her poisoned nipples to suckle.  The miracle boy Krishna is said to have sucked so intensely that he drained the demon of her life. Hence the biggest celebration of Holi takes place at Mathura.

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Celebrations: On the day of Holi, people (men and women) irrespective of caste and creed mingles together and exchange colours. The celebrations can get wild and rowdy -- it is one of the few occasions of the year that the sexes are allowed to mix freely. People use tools and tricks to spray, paint and drown friends and relatives in colour.

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DIWALI Diwali or Deepavali, the festival of "rows of lights", is one of the most important of all Hindu festivals. It is believed that it was on this day that Lord Rama entered Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile. Deepavali is also celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi, the day when the demon of darkness and dirt, Narakasura, was destroyed by Lord Krishna. The celebrations commence with a purifying oil bath and the lighting of lamps, symbolic of the spiritual light pervading the earth and the destruction of darkness and ignorance.

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RAKSHA BANDHAN Raksha Bandhan - the Indian festival of tying the knot of amity, brotherhood and long life, is a symbol of seeking divine bliss. Not for the 'self'. But for man on whose wrist the thread is tied. 'Raksha' is the word for protection. 'Bandhan' is the bond. So it signifies the bond of protection. The protection is from the dark hands of the evils and against all peril.It falls on the full moon of late August every year.

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The origin and the legends The festival nurtures a rich heritage of legendary traditions, Once, Indra, the king of heaven was confronted by the demon king - the Daitya-raaja - in a long-drawn battle. At one stage, the Daitya-raaja got better of Indra and drove him into wilderness. Indra, humbled and crest-fallen, sought the advice of Brihaspati, the Guru of Gods. The Guru told him to bide his time, prepare himself and then take on the mighty demon. He also indicated that the auspicious moment for sallying forth was the Shraavana Poornima. On that day, Shachee Devi, the wife of Indra, accompanied by Brihaspati tied Raakhi around Indra's right-wrist.

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Indra then advanced against the Daitya-raaja, vanquished him and reestablished his sovereignty.This is how Raksha Bandhan came into being in the ages of old Hindu mythology and has transcended into the modern ages acquiring more of new and modified customs with itself. A story is told of Alexander's wife approaching his mighty Hindu adversary Porus and tying Raakhi on his hand, seeking assurance from him for saving the life of her husband on the battlefield. And the great Hindu king, in the true traditional Kshatriya style, responded; and as the legend goes, when Porus raised his hand to deliver a mortal blow to Alexander, he saw the Raakhi on his own hand and restrained from striking.

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ID Id-ul-Fitr, Id-ul-Zuha and Id-i-Milad are the three festive occasions widely celebrated by Muslims in India. Eid-ul-Fitr, popularly known as the "Festival of the Breaking of the Fast", occurs as soon as the new moon is sighted at the end of the month of fasting, namely Ramzan. The festival is intended to be a festive and joyous occasion. . It was during this month that the holy Koran was revealed. The Id-ul-Zuha commemorates the ordeal of Hazrat Ibrahim, who had been put to a terrible test by God when he was asked to sacrifice whatever was dearest to him and he decided to sacrifice the life of his son. As he was on the point of applying the sword to his son's throat, it was revealed to him that this was meant only to test his faith, and it was enough, if instead he sacrifices only a ram in the name of Allah. From that day, this festival is celebrated by sacrificing goats or sheep all over the world.

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Id – i – Milad The Prophet was born on the twelfth day of Rabi-ul-Awwal, the third month of the Muslim year. His death anniversary also falls on the same day, the word 'barah' standing for the twelve days of the Prophet's sickness. During these days, sermons are delivered in mosques by learned men. Celebrations Islam follows a unique approach in celebrating Eid. After the namaz , Muslims are supposed to celebrate the day in a responsible manner, greeting one another at home and in the neighbourhood. People visit each other's homes and partake of festive meals with special dishes, beverages and desserts. Children receive gifts and sweets on this special occasion.

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BAISAKHI:    Baisakhi (also called Vaisakhi) is a harvest festival which is celebrated on the thirteenth day of April according to the solar calendar. It is celebrated in North India, particularly in Punjab and Haryana, when the rabi crop is ready for harvesting.Baisakhi has a special meaning for the Sikhs. On this day in 1699, their tenth Guru Gobind Singh organized the order of the Khalsa and administered amrit (nectar) to his first batch of five disciples making them Singhs, a martial community.

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The Sikhs celebrate this day by visiting gurudwaras and distributing kada prasad. Processions led by the Panj Piaras or the five religious men are taken out. Kirtans and recital of passages from the Granth Sahib are also organized in gurdwaras, where people line up to receive the delicious prasad and perform kar sewa-that is, offering help in the daily chores of the gurdwara.

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Christmas Christmas is a holiday in the Christian calendar, usually observed on December 25, which celebrates the birth of Jesus. According to the Christian gospels, Jesus was born to Mary in Bethlehem, where she and her husband Joseph had travelled to register in the Roman census. Christ's birth, or nativity, was to fulfill the prophecies of Judaism that a messiah would come, from the house of David, to redeem the world from sin.

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JESUS CHRIST Christians celebrate Jesus' birth on December 25th. It follows a month of preparation (Advent) and involved lots of festivities, school plays telling the story of the nativity, exchanging Christmas cards and presents, special meals, special decoration - very much like big festivals in other world religions. Christians celebrate Jesus' birth on December 25th. It follows a month of preparation (Advent) and involved lots of festivities, school plays telling the story of the nativity, exchanging Christmas cards and presents, special meals, special decoration - very much like big festivals in other world religions.

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Practice Exercise Fill in the blanks : 1) Holi is celebrated in the month of PHALGUN..according to Hindu calendar. 2)Deepavali is also celebrated as NARAKCHATURDASHI…,the day when the demon of darkness and dirt, Narakasura, was destroyed by Lord Krishna. 3).RAKSHA BANDHAN falls on the full moon of late August every year. 4)For saving her husband’s life,ALEXANDER’S wife sent Rakhi to PORUS. 5). Id-ul-Fitr, Id-ul-Zuha and Id-i-Milad are the three festive occasions widely celebrated by Muslims in India.

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HOME ASSIGNMENT 1) Find out about some other religious festivals celebrated in INDIA.Write short notes on them along with some pictures. 2) Write short notes on some of the National Festivals celebrated in INDIA.

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