Fairs & Festivals
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Festivals Celebrated in Andhra Pradesh
History: Deepavali means row of lights. This festival is celebrated on the new moon day (Amavasya). It is believed that the demon Narkasura was killed on this day, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya on this day after slaying Ravana, Emperor Bali donated his kingdom to Vamana (avtar of Vishnu) on this day, King Vikramarka descended to his throne on this day.
Deities worshipped: Goddess of wealth Lakshmi
Celebrations: The festival is celebrated with pomp and gaiety by lighting of firecrackers and lamps all around. It is believed that 14 varieties of vegetables and leaves should be used in curries on this day.
Holi is celebrated on Purnima day in the month of Phalguna. According to a legend, when Siva was meditating, Manmadha (cupid) shot his darts at him to induce love in him for the good of the world. But Siva was incensed at the disturbance and opened his third eye and burnt Manmadha to ashes. Rathi Devi wife of cupid asked for mercy, but Siva said that it was not possible, but I grant one thing. He will put on his original form on Sukla Thrayodasi in the month of chaitra every year. As promised and blessed by Siva, Cupid assumes his original physical form on that day.
A week or so before the punnami day, various sticks & logs of wood are collected and heaped at cross roads and a dummy of Manmadha with a short turban & moustaches is put up on the heap. Young men shout, scream, sing and dance around the fire. The next day is celebrated by throwing colored water or by applying gulal to friends. In Rayalseema, the districts bordering Karnataka observe this as "Kama Dhanam" by sprinkling colors at others.
It is celebrated on the 1st of Shawwal, tenth lunar month of the Islamic calendar after a period of fasting which lasts for one whole month. The fast commences at 4 a.m. in the morning and lasts till the sun set every day. During the fasting period nothing is eaten or drunk. The fast is generally broken with dates or melons. The night of the 27th of Ramzan is called Lailut-ul-Qadar, as the Holy Quran is believed to have descended from heaven on that night. Hence that night is spent in reading the Quran.
Celebrations: The Muslims prepare a special dish for Idd with milk & date palms called as Shir Khurma. For this occasion new clothes are made, bangles are purchased for girls; new caps, new shoes, new sherwanis and new turbans are made for male children.
Description: This festival is the celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna.
Celebrations: On this day a mandapam is made and a "Utti" is hung in the center decorated with special festoons. This "Utti" is tied to a pulley, which is operated by one man, and group of persons try to break it amidst water being splashed by the on lookers. Various fruits are collected & tied over the Mandapam. An idol of infant Krishna is placed in the mandapam. After the puja Krishna’s idol is put in a cradle and moved back and forth.
The special offering of the day is butter mixed with jaggery & dry ginger. The fast is broken the next day. In some villages, pots of curd & buttermilk are hung from the branch of a tree and people throw stones at the pots and get drenched trying to break the pot.
Description: Mahasivarathri means the great night of Siva. It is believed that Lord Siva was born in the form of a lingam on the night of Krishna Chaturdasi (14th day of the dark fortnight).
On this day after bath a lingam is placed in the mandapam. It is then worshipped with bel leaves (Aegle marmelos maaredu). In the evening the devotees take bath & go to the Siva temple & chant Siva’s name continuously, listen to Siva’s stories & remain awake the whole night & break their fast the next day.
Description: Muhammadeans fast on this day in memory of the death of Hazrat Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam. Religious assemblies are held both during day and night in mosques and in the houses of pious men, where an account of the birth of Prophet Muhammad and his miracles are recited. At the close of the function sweetmeats are distributed.
Month of Rajjab: It is celebrated to mark birthday of Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII. On his birthday the Nizam used to pray twice in the Public Garden mosque.
Description:It is celebrated to commemorate the martyrdom of Hasan and Hussain, the two sons of Hazrat Ali Bin Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed. The elder son Hasan was poisoned by his own wife and his younger brother Hussain and all his male companions except an ailing son were killed at Kerballa on the 10th of Muharram in a battle against the army of Yazid.
In Hyderabad, the festival begins when the new moon makes its appearance in the month of Muharram by the beating of drums. This festival generally lasts for ten days, but in Hyderabad it continues till the fourteenth day after the 10th Muharram. On this day groups of persons beg alms from door-to-door reciting the story of the martyrdom.
During the festival, sunnis wear green clothes and the shias are in black as a sign of mourning. The shia women abstain from wearing ornaments, do not comb their hair, and even remove the bangles from their hands to exhibit sign of grief. This is widely observed in Rayalseema even by Hindus who regard "peers" as sacred.
Vijaya Dasami (Dasara)
Date : 2004-10-22
Vijaya means victory and Dasami means tenth day. Sri Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu killed the demon king, Ravana of Lanka on this day. It is also believed that Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura on Vijaya Dasami day.
All Hindus worship the Goddess of education Saraswathi on this day. Kshatriyas worship their arms on this day. Students place their books at the feet of the deity. Artistes, wrestlers, peddlers, hawkers, nomads and all sections of people have their own way of worshipping Durga Devi on this day. The Vijayanagara rulers used to observe the festival with gaiety, honouring men of letters.
Date : 2004-12-25
Christmas is a festival, which is celebrated all over the world. The cold winter brings with it a feeling of joy and excitement in the city and towns all over the world. As every where in the world, in India also the celebration of Christmas has always been, and continues to be, a season time to spend golden moments with family and friends, make new resolutions and receive the much coveted gifts of their choice.
Christians in Andhra Pradesh celebrate their festivals broadly on the pattern adopted worldwide. However some influence of local Indian tradition is evident among Syrian Christians who use elephants, umbrellas and traditional music as accessories to their festivities and celebrations. Christmas is a major event in all-Indian Christian households.
Christians recall the glorious day when Jesus Christ came into the world to be with them and save people from the sins. Christmas began to be celebrated on 25th December although nobody is sure about the birthday of Jesus Christ.
The churches are filled with people who sing songs and pray and celebrate making goodies and the mouth-watering Christmas cake that tickle the taste buds. The elders go into reverie recalling the sweet memories of the past and get busy with decorations.
Nagapanchami or Nagula Cahvithi
Description: Nagamuni means Cobra, the king of snakes. On this day King Cobra is worshipped. It is essentially a woman’s festival. Two special edible items are prepared for this festival.
Chimmili: A small ball made of sesame grains and jaggery
Chalimidi: A sweet rice cake with jaggery
A seven-headed cobra’s image is put on a mandapam in the house and worshipped with oleander flowers. Women, children & teenage girls wearing bright coloured clothes and ornaments put all the puja things in big brass plates and go to an ant hill to receive the blessings of Naga (Snake god) and pour milk. Ladies fast on this day.
Description: This is the festival of peasants. It is celebrated when the sun passes from Sagittarius to Capricorn & the transition is called Makara Sankranthi. A month before the festival the harvesting of crops begins.
Gangireddula Vadu: He comes with a colorfully dressed pet bull. The bull sways its head, dances, sits and stands and does things in accordance with the rhythm of the music and commands of its master.
The first day is called as Bhogi. On this day before sunrise youngsters collect dry twigs, grass, waste paper etc., make a heap & light a bonfire. Women and girls draw patterns on the ground using mortar powder. They make Gobbemmas i.e., lumps of cowdung and place it on the drawings in front of their houses. People pick up some ash from the bhogi fire & rub it on their foreheads.
The special dish of the day is Pongal, a mixture of husked greengram and rice with salt and pepper powder cooked in a pot.
The second day is the actual Sankranthi day. In the evening men & women go to their neighbors and relatives to offer sesame seeds, sugar & sugarcane pieces.
Kanumu the third day is celebrated as a cattle festival. On this day the peasants wake up early to bathe their cattle & paint their horns with bright colors and tie bells around their necks. Some farmers go out to their fields, sacrifice a goat or a sheep and sprinkle the blood in their fields. Still some others take cooked rice and milk to the cattle shed offer some of it to the cattle and take the remainder to their fields and scatter it there. They believe that this offering keeps the ghosts away from their crops. In the villages on this day cockfights are held.
Sri Rama Navami
Description: This day is celebrated as the birth of Lord Rama. People awake early in the morning, take oil and hot water bath, wear new clothes, raise a temporary mandapam & put some rice and a few betel leaves on it. In this mandapam are installed the idols of Sri Rama, Sita Devi, Lakshmana and Hanuman. Panakam, a beverage made with a mixture of new jaggery, cardamoms, black pepper powder and water is prepared.
Sri Rama Navami is also observed as the marriage day of Rama and Sita. At night the story of Rama is recited or sung by a traditional performer called Harikathakudu or Haridasa.
On this day a special scene takes place on the outskirts of Vishakhapatnam, the district capital on the East Coast where there is a famous harbour. Near the town cheap makeshift huts are built. After the completion of celebrations a man disguising himself as Hanuman sets fire to the makeshift village called as Lanka the capital of Ravana.
Description: Ugadi is the Telugu New Year day. It is specially associated with Pacchadi (chutney) in telugu. The chutney is prepared with tender flowers of neem, jaggery or sugar & new tamarind. The whole family has to eat the chutney. The chutney is offered to the deity first and then eaten by the members of the family.
Celebration:The whole family wears new clothes. Around 3.00 p.m. a brahmin sits on the pail outside the front yard door & recites the panchangam. All the nearby residents gather to listen to him about the new year, rain fall, agriculture, prices, education, eclipses, and auspicious days for marriages, health and astrological forecasts for the individuals and the community based upon the planetary position. In the evening many competitions are held like bullock-cart races, physical duels, lifting of heavy weights, running races, card games and so on.
Description: This is a religious vow observed in the name of Varalakshmi (Lakshmi, consort of Lord Vishnu). It is celebrated on Friday before the full moon in the month of Sravana.
Celebration: On this particular Friday housewives wake up early, finish their mangalasnanam, wear new clothes and decorate their front yard with rangoli patterns on it. Later a small pandal is erected with plantain trunks and festoons are tied on its upper parts. A small copper vessel filled with water, coconut and three betel leaves (Kalasam) is placed on a stool. The Kalasam is worshipped by sprinkling flowers and rice mixed in turmeric powder.
After worshipping, the idol or picture of Lakshmi is put behind the vessel or in the vessel itself. Flowers and turmeric mixed rice are sprinkled on the idol or picture & sandalwood mixed rice is offered. After burning of incense, nine threads twisted together are worn round the right wrist as a bracelet. Fruits and cooked flour dishes are offered to at least 5 housewives, elders and others.
History: One day Parvathi, wife of Lord Siva made a boy with turmeric & breathed life into it. She then asked the boy to guard the door till she took her bath. The boy was instructed not to allow any one to enter. When Siva came and tried to open the door, the boy objected to it. In a fit of anger Siva severed the boy’s head with his Trishul. When Parvathi came to know what had happened to the boy she began to weep.
Seeing this Siva’s heart melted and he promised to put back life into the boy. After a massive search Siva’s disciples could find the head of an elephant to fix on the boy’s body. From then on he was called Gajanan, the elephant-headed boy. From this day is celebrated as birth of Lord Ganesha. The idol of the Lord is worshipped for 10 days and on the eleventh day it is immersed in river or sea amidst a huge procession.