Pongal Festival :
This is the most important of all festivals to the people of Tamil Nadu. It is often called as Tamilar Thirunal or the Prosperity Day of the Tamils. It comes in the middle of January. It celebrates the arrival of fresh harvest and everyone appears in new garments with a beaming smile greeting each other on this day. New earthen pot is put on a hearth in a central place in an open corridor and newly harvested rice and milk are cooked. As the milk boils over, people shout in chorus "Pongalo Pongal! Pongalo Pongal!!” Pongal literally means boiling. The preceding day of Pongal is called Bhogi. It means Bogam or enjoyment and was originally devoted to Indra who is the Bogi or supreme enjoyer. Nowadays, old unwanted things are heaped on the middle of the road and a bonfire is made. Children beat hand drums and go round the roads beating the drums and shouting 'Bhogi Bhogi!’.It is a three-day festival. The second day is called Mattu Pongal. Bullocks and cows are taken care of on this day and they are worshipped and given nourishing food called 'Sarkarai Pongal'. Poet Saint Thiruvalluvar Day is also celebrated on the 15th of January. The third day is called 'Kanru Pongal' or Calf Pongal. On that day the calves are fed. It is also called Kanum Pongal. 'Kanum' means seeing and people visit elders or relatives and friends and seek their blessings.
Easter is the day when Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter is another famous festival for Christians. On this day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascend into heaven. Easter eggs and Easter bunnies are a major attraction during Easter, the festival of rejuvenation of life and living. In early days Christian church celebrated Sunday as holy day. To most Christians, Good Friday is really a misnomer in that it was a "bad" Friday-the crucifixion day of Jesus. Some believe the term "Good" evolved from "God" or God's Friday. Others believe "good" represents the good gift of recovery brought forth by the martyrdom. Regardless, it is a holy day throughout the Christian world. Traditional worship of the holiday follows closely to the events described in the scriptures. Some congregations still hold a three-hour service on Friday .He hanged on the cross. A typical service includes seven distinct elements representative of Christ's seven utterance while on the cross.
Easter is celebrated with great joy and passion by Christians all over the world.There are many signs associated with Christian Easter Sunday such as eggs, rabbits, chicks, lilies, sunrise service and new outfits. It is said that Easter Eggs represent the beginning of life while rabbits and chicks represent the rebirth of the earth. Besides, the lily, especially the White Lily, which is also known as the Easter Lily, is a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Vinayakar Chathurthi :
The birthday of Lord Vinayaka or the elephant-headed god. It is celebrated in all homes as well as in all Saivite temples and temples of Lord Vinayaka. The one celebrated at Pillaiyarpatti shrine of Lord Vinayaka is very famous. A gigantic ‘Modhaga' or 'Kolukkattai' using about 80 kilos of rice, jiggery, coconut and dhal is prepared. It is baked for 3 days and offered to the deity. Lakhs of people from all over Tamil Nadu throng there on that day. Pillaivarpatti is near Karaikudi about 500 km. from Chennai. In all cities and district headquarters, giant Vinayaka statues ranging from 10 feet height to 32 feet are erected in public places. On the last day which varies from the 3rd day to the 10th day, big processions are held and the image is immersed in the sea, lake or nearby rivers. The procession will be colorful with various folk dances, nadhaswaram etc. performed enroute. In houses, clay image of Vinayaka is worshipped and immersed into wells, tanks or ponds the next day. The image is invariably adorned with a colorful umbrella called 'pillaiyar Kudai.
Kaarthikai Deepam :
The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated in the Tamil Month of Karthigai (November - December). It begins on Uttradam day with flag hoisting and goes on the nine days. In the early hours of the tenth day Bharani Deepam in five agantams will be lit in Arunachaleswarar's Sannithi. In the evening, the Pancha Murthis will be brought to the Katchi Mandapam. At dusk (Pradosha) the Karthigai day synchronizing with the full moon day, the deity, Ardhanareeswarar is taken out to this place with the five deepams, which are put in a big receptacle near the flug-stuff. At the same time the beacon light on the hill is lit. The huge concourse of devotees from all parts of our country in a million voice raise a cry simultaneously "Harohara to Annamalai" which will rend the air. It is a sight for the Gods to see! .Rows of agal vilakkus in front of every house... this is the image that at once comes to mind when we think of Karthigai Deepam - the festival of lights that is celebrated throughout Tamil Nadu during the month of Karthigai (November-December). Not many of us are aware that it is one of the oldest festivals celebrated in the State, perhaps even before people began celebrating Deepavali and Navarathri. Also, unlike many other Hindu festivals, Karthigai is basically a Tamil festival and is virtually unknown in most other parts of the country.
This is the most important festival that brings joy to both the rich and the poor. This is also called ' Naraka Chathurdasi ‘, on which day the fearsome giant Narakasura was killed by Lord Krishna. According to his last wishes his death day is celebrated with festivity. People take oil bath in the early hours of the day, called "Ganga Snanam" or holy dip in the Ganges, wear new clothes, fire crackers and eat sweets. The following new moon day is observed as "Kethara Gowri Viratham" and ladies observe this for the longevity of their husbands. In North India, it is observed as Ramlila on which day great fireworks are a feast to the eyes; they mark the defeat of Ravan by Sri Rama. It is said that it is a day of triumph of the good over the evil. In the North, lamps are also lit in a row in the houses. ' Deepam ' means lamp and 'Avali' means row. On this day, sweets are prepared and distributed. People greet each other with a traditional question "Ganga Snanam Aachcha?” which means “Have you finished your holy Ganges bath". People visit temples in large numbers on this day.
Ayudha Pooja :
Festival of Tools – Every man who earns a livelihood
depends on one tool or the other. It may be a pen or knife,
a sickle or hammer or whatever it may be this festival is to
mark the gratitude of man towards his tools. The festivities
connected with this pervades every home, shop, factory,
workshop and what you have. Everything undergoes thorough
cleaning and Poojas are performed and ‘prasadams’
distributed. Time of this unique festival is during the
Tamil month of Purattasi i.e sometime in September-October.
Ramzan (Ramalan) :
Ramzan is the ninth month according to Islamic Lunar calendar. Ramzan (Ramadan) is derived from the Arabic root word 'ramida' or 'arramad' that means intense sizzling heat and dryness, especially of the ground. Ramadan is so called to indicate the heating sense in the stomach as a result of thirst. Some said it is so called because the hearts and souls are more readily receptive to the rebuke and remembrance of Allah during Ramadan, as the sand and stones are receptive to the sun's heat. It is month after Shaban after the new moon has been sighted. It is celebrated in the concept of moon appearance. The month of Ramadan lasts for 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon. If the moon is sighted on the night of 29th fast then the month of Shawwal begins from the next day and Ramadan is over. The 1st of Shawwal is the Eid also known as Eid-ul-fitr . Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was exposed.Fasting is to be done by all able bodied men and women and children who have reached puberty. It is compulsory to keep fasting whole month. If a person is sick or has some medical reason or if a women is pregnant then they are waived from fasting. During Ramadan the people who fast are not allowed to eat or drink anything (including water, saliva) from sunrise to sunset. Also one has to enclose other body parts, which may render the fast worthless despite the main factor of hunger and thirst; so the tongue must avoid backbiting, slander, and lies; the eyes should avoid looking into things careful by the Lawgiver as unlawful; the ears must stop from listening a conversation of words, songs, and lyrics that spoil the spirit of fasting; and finally restraining of the heart, and mind from indulge, themselves in other things moreover zikir or Allah (remembrance of Allah).Five times prayer daily is a must with fasting.
Bakrid, or Idul-Aza is a festival of sacrifice. Observed
by Muslims all over the world. It falls on the 10th month of
the Islam lunar year. It is celebrated in commemoration of
Ibrahim’s willingness to offer his only son as a sacrifice
at God’s command. This day dawns with the resounding of
Allahu Akbar’, the declaration that god is great. Every
Muslim house wakes up with the spirit of sacrifice and
festivity. Men, women and children, dress themselves in
their best attire and proceed to for public prayers. The
festivity at home commence after the ceremonial prayer with
hearty feasts followed by social visits.
The celebration of Christmas is a joyful mixture of customs that have developed in many different lands over thousands of years. Integrated into our customs are ancient Roman traditions, early Christian practices, medieval pagan rituals and Victorian nostalgia. Many customs - caroling, Santa, stockings, and gingerbread - originated in Europe. Germans introduced the Christmas tree to America. Christmas is a time of joy and celebration - a time to share traditional rituals with family and friends. Gift-giving, caroling, tree decorating, hanging stockings and baking cookies are all traditions that have been passed down through the years. before the celebration of Christmas began the Germans used evergreens to decorate their homes. They believed that these trees represented life and immortality and would protect their homes from evil during the coming year. Christmas Is celebrated all over the world.People use to stay in church on Christmas Eve to celebrate the arrival for Jesus the lord. X'mas or Christmas Day is celebrated on 25'Th of December and the festivities last for ten day up to 1'st January which is the New Year Day. Meaning of Christmas The English word Christmas has been derived from the words Cristes maesse (from Middle English), or Christ`s Mass (from old English) meaning Mass on Chirst's Day. The term Christmas is also reduced as X'mas, in which 'X' has been used for Christ in Roman. Christmas festival is known by different names like: Nativity, Incarnation, Yule Tide, Noel and Winter Pascha. Christmas is celebrated on a majestic-scale all over the world.