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What are the key religious festivals in Hinduism?

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The key religious festivals in Hinduism are

  • Sankranthi - (the harvest festival, when the sun enters the second half of the lunar year)
  • Maha Shivarathri - (the great festival of Lord Shiva, a time of prayer and miracles)
  • Ugadi - (A new year festival)
  • Rama Navami - (the birthday of Lord Rama, a divine incarnation)
  • Vishu - (the Malayalam New Year in the south of India)
  • Ashadhi Ekadashi - (a festival of Lord Vittal Rakumai of Pandarpur in the North of India)
  • Guru Pournima - (the feast of the Guru, the day sage Vyasa completed dictating the Vedas)
  • Krishna Janamasthami - (birthday of Lord Krishna, a divine incarnation)
  • Onam - (a festival of Kerala where King Bali gave three steps to the divine incarnation called Vamana)
  • Ganesh Chaturti - (the festival of Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed one, who removes obstaccles, removes fears and grants salvation)
  • Vijadasami (Dassera) - the culmination of the nine nights; meaning victory to the Goddess. This is the most auspicious festival. The festivities culminate on the tenth day, called variously Vijayadashmi, Dassera (var, Dushera) when people in most parts of the country burn effigies of great evil persons in the stories of the Hindu Scripturese - Ravana, Meghanatha and Kumbhakarna.
  • Deepavali (Diwali) - the festival of light. Legends have it that Lord Krishna raised his hand and diverted a meteor or asteroid, which burst into millions of pieces and lit up the night skies. Hence, this festival recalls the lights in the night skies. People of all faiths celebrate Diwali.

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