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Festivals of Jammu & Kashmir
 
Lohri (January)
Lohri, is celebrated every year on 13th of January. It is a festival to worship fire. Lohri Festival is celebrated with great pomp in North India. At this time Earth starts moving towards the sun marking the auspicious period of Uttarayan. First Lohri is very important for the newly wed and the new born babies as it marks fertility. At night, people gather around the bonfire and throw til, puffed rice & popcorns into the flames of the bonfire. Prayers are offered to the bonfire seeking abundance & prosperity. People make merry by dancing & singing traditional folk songs.
 
Holi (March)
The colorful festival of Holi is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which comes in February end or early March. Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of 'good' over 'bad'. The colorful festival bridges the social gap and renew sweet relationships. On this day, people hug and wish each other 'Happy Holi'.
 
Navratras (October)
Navaratri or Navaratra is a Hindu festival of worship and dance. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit: Nav = nine and Ratri = nights. It is celebrated during the period of Sarad Masi Aswin by Hindu lunar calendar, all eight days and nine nights have its importance and is divided into sets of three days to adore three different aspects of the supreme goddess or goddesses.
 
Baisakhi (April)
Baisakhi Festival falls on April 13th or April 14th and marks the beginning of the solar year. People of North India, particularly Punjab thank God for good harvest. Visit to Gurudwaras, Vaisakhi processions and traditional performances are the highlights of the day. Baisakhi has special significance for Sikhs as on this day in 1699, their tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji organized the order of the Khalsa.
 
Ram Navmi (March)
Ram Navami is a festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Rama, the son of King Dasharath. It was a joyous occasion in Ayodhya all those centuries ago when King Dasharath's heir was finally born. It was like a dream come true for the king as the lack of an heir had troubled him sorely for many years.
 
Mahashivratri (February)
Shivaratri is celebrated on the 6th night of the dark Phalgun (February or March) every year. On the auspicious day, devotees observe fast and keep vigil all night. Mahashivaratri marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava'. It is also believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati Ma. On this day Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves on Shiva Linga.
 
Diwali (November)
Deepavali or Diwali is the major Indian occasion which is celebrated whole heartedly in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism. It is also called 'Festival of Lights' as people illuminate candles, diyas on this day and celebrate the victory of good over wicked powers. The day is celebrated in throughout the world, where in nepal it is called Tihar and Swanti. It falls in the months of October or November. In North India, the day marks the home coming of Lord Ram to his kingdom Ayodhya after the 14 years of exile. People of his kingdom celebrated his home return by lightning thousands of diyas, therefore the day has been named as 'Deepavali', which is again shortened as 'Diwali'.
 
Guru Ravi Das's Birthday (February)
The birthday of Guru Ravidass on February 21st every year is celebrated by the name of Shri Guru Ravidass Jayanti. On the occasion of Ravidas Jayanti several processions are taken out and people dress up like Ravidas and his associates. The birthday is celebrated on a huge scale and various programmes remembering the achievements of the great ruler are organized.
 
Navroz (March)
Jamshed-E-Navroz is the first day of the first month of the Zoroastrian year. Parsis follow the Fasli calendar and their New Year commences with the Vernal Equinox. The festival is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm. The community dutifully follows all the rituals performed during Jamshed-e-Navroze. Parsis offer special prayers on the day savour the fixed menu of the festival and greet each other.
 
Eid-ul-Adha (November)
This festival is celebrated to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God. Eid-ul-Adha occurs at the end of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage of millions of Muslims from around the world to Mekkah in order to worship Allah. Muslims around the world attend morning prayers at their local mosques. Following, they visit with family and friends, and exchange greetings and gifts.
 
Mahavir Jayanti (April)
On Mahavir Jayanthi, Jain temples are decorated with flags. In the morning the idol of Mahavira is given a ceremonial bath called the 'abhishek'. It is then placed in a cradle and carried in a procession around the neighbourhood. The devotees will make offerings of milk, rice, fruit, incense, lamps and water to the people in procession. Some sections of the community even participate in a grand procession. Lectures are held to preach the path of virtue. People meditate and offer prayers. Donations are collected to save the cows from slaughter. Pilgrims from all parts of the country visit the ancient Jain Temples at Girnar and Palitana in Gujarat on this day.
 
Buddha Purnima (Buddha Jayanti) (April/May)
Buddha Purnima is one of the major festivals of India that is celebrated with great fan fare and excitement. Various events and celebrations are arranged so as to make the day a grand event. People pray and utter summons related to the life of Lord Buddha. Religious discourses are recited from the Holy Scriptures. Meditation is a major event that is observed on this day. Colorful processions are taken out to mark this auspicious day. People get drenched in festivity and unite near the statue of Lord Buddha. The sacred Maha Bodhi tree is wonderfully decorated and decked up with fresh flowers and colorful flags.
 
Christmas (December)
The word Christmas comes from the words Cristes maesse, or "Christ's Mass." Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus for members of the Christian religion. Most historians peg the first celebration of Christmas to Rome in 336 A.D.
 
Tihar (March/April)
Tihar is a popular and interesting festival celebrated in Bhadarwah and Kishtwar in the months of Chaitra (March-April). Springs and baulis receive a spring-cleaning followed by worship of nagas (serpents) on the following day. Rice and floral offerings are made during the worship. Sankrant or the beginning of a month (in Bikrami era) is considered to be a sacred day by the Hindus. On this day, women bathe in rivers and observe a day's fast.
 
Jhiri Mela (October/November)
A tribute to a legendary farmer is an annual fair held in Jammu every year in the months of October-November. The fair is celebrated to salute the courage of a farmer, his sacrifice for the liberation of the farming community. The Samadhi of Baba Jit Mal, popularly known as Baba Jitto at Shama Chak Jhiri, about 22 km from Jammu. He had laid down his life after he was cheated by the Kardar of the area.
 
 
 
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