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Diwali
Pongal

Tamil New Year

Sri Krishna Jayanti

 


While the Hindu worldview proclaims that Reality - or God - is one and one alone, it gives ample place and space to the worshipping of personified manifestations of its manifold powers and attributes, qualities and other expressions. This recognition of 'the One in the Many' makes up for India's colourful Hindu pantheon with its arsenal of gods and goddesses, and Auroville, emerging in a rural, prominently Hindu-based bioregion, has become closely familiar with the various festivals and celebrations in the area.
Young Pooja Trivedi from Mumbai, relatively new to Auroville, tells you more about this dynamising and inspiring aspect of life in India, and will describe for you the festivals throughout the year to come.

Land of festivals

While India is often and justly described as a land of many religions and innumerable languages, it may be described as a land of festivals as well. In India, festivals are spread throughout the year and are a time to rejoice, merrymaking, rituals, family get- togethers and yes, not forgetting the various goodies and feasts that go along with the festive seasons. In more backward areas, such as the one in which Auroville finds itself, festival days are traditionally the only days that leave of work is given, the only holidays..

Apart from more local festivals, there are also festivals that are common to the whole of India and are celebrated by almost everyone. India is a secular country, and everyone, be they Hindus, the Muslims, Sikhs or Christians, looks forward to the many festivals celebrated by the other.

Children's joy

As a child I have a very distinct memory of the various festivals that we celebrated at home in Mumbay. Of Diwali, for instance, I remember how I waited for the sweets to be cooked and for dad to come home with the firecrackers. And now, living in Auroville in Tamil Nadu, thousands of miles away from home, I recognise the same anxious faces and smiles on the children of Kuilapalayam as they run around with flowers in their hair during festival days. My memories come flooding back as I watch them shout with joy as they light their firecrackers and wait to plunge into the sweets.

Various kinds of celebrations

As in any old civilisation, most of these festivals have religious significance. Quite a number of them are dedicated to the various gods and goddesses and their incarnations. If it seems as though every day in India is marked by some celebration, it must be remembered that this is the result of the inter-mingling of different communities and different religions, - respected by all. There are also festivals in celebration of the wind, the rain, the fire and other animal forms, animate and inanimate objects. As the monsoons take place in different months in different parts of India, the many festivals related to the harvest are celebrated at different times.

Aurovilians adapting

There are various festivals that are distinct to the southern part of India, and again every district may have its own distinct festivals. It would be difficult to portray each of these each in detail, and in these pages we'll describe the festivals taking place in Auroville's bioregion as they come along in time. Although these celebrations provide an excellent space for Aurovilians to come together with the local inhabitants of in the area, it is not necessary to directly take part in them. One can be a silent observer and absorb some of the light and dedication, the joy and inspiration they invariably give. It is a telling fact that, in one way or the other, in almost all Aurovilian households some homage is given to the celebrations honoured in its bioregion.

India is a land that has the capacity to accommodate anyone who decides to merge in the beauty and believe in the divine forces that bind India as a dimension of unity in diversity. What better space for Auroville to develop in?

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