Thursday October 19, 2017

Is October a month of celebrating Weird and Exquisite Festivals? Here is a List!

Festivals help us get rid of our monotonous life once in a while and create cultural harmony

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Fireworks near the clock tower, Canada. (Wikimedia Commons)

October 8, 2016: Festivals play an integral role in relieving ourselves from the monotony of life. They create an environment of cultural harmony. All these festivals are exquisite as well as weird. Few of them celebrated in the month of October are-
i. Nagasaki Kunchi
It is one of the most popular festivals of Japan. Dragon Dance is the most popular tradition of this festival. Each district participates once a year. The festival ends when the empty mikoshi returns to the shrine after the god has departed.

ii. Naga Fireball festival
This festival is all about the mysterious appearance of fireballs above Mekong River in Thailand. Tradition says that fireballs come from the breath of Naga, a mythical serpent that haunts the river. Though, some people believe that fireballs are actually bubbles of methane from the river.

iii. Oktoberfest
It is the largest Volksfest across the world celebrated annually at Munich, Bavaria, Germany. The festival was first celebrated as a royal event. Now, every year approximately 6,000,000 litres of beer is consumed along with some pork sausages, roast chicken and roast ox. Apart from all the eating and drinking, there are parades, traditional music and German amusements, folk costumes,etc.

iv. Tübingen Duck Race
Every year, people of Tübingen, Germany participate in the annual duck race. Anyone with a rubber duck can participate. All you have to do is stick your name and number on the duck, attach a metal to the underside and release the duck. Winner gets a €1,000 holiday voucher. So if you want to see thousands of rubber ducks floating downstream, Tübingen is the place for you.

v. Vijayadashmi
Vijayadashmi or Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day of the Hindu autumn lunar month of Ashvin. The first nine days are celebrated as Maha Navratri. Dussehra signifies the slaying of Ravana by Lord Rama.

vi. Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Also known as Nine Emperor Gods festival, it is a nine-day Taoist celebration, observed in the South-east Asian countries. It is believed that once, a Chinese opera group got sick while performing on the island. They started praying to the Nine Emperor Gods to cleanse their body and spirit and restricted to the vegetarian diet. Soon the group made a complete recovery. This festival is not for the faint heart. The celebration consists of self-mortification acts including puncturing of cheeks.

vii. Diwali
Diwali is one of the most auspicious festivals of the Hindus. People light small lamps with oil to celebrate the victory of good over evil. It celebrates the homecoming of Lord Rama after he defeated Ravana, King of Lanka, and rescued his wife, Devi Sita.

viii. Halloween
Halloween is celebrated an evening before All Hallow’s day, on 31st October. The festival is thought to be originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would wear costumes to wander off roaming ghosts. Today this festival has transformed into a child-friendly celebration with trick or treat.

by Diksha Arya of Newsgram. Twitter: @dikshaarya_53

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Diwali Puja 2017: Everything You Need To Know About Timings, Muhurat

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Ganesh-Lakshmi are worshipped
Ganesh-Lakshmi are worshipped by devotees on the day of Diwali. Pixabay

New Delhi, October 17, 2017: Diwali is around the corner and everyone is busy with the preparations. On the eve of Diwali, the most important ritual is to perform Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja during the right muhurat (time) and with the right rituals(vidhi).

Here are some of the things you must take care of:

Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja Rituals

It is important that on the day of Diwali, you wake up early in the morning and pay homage to your ancestors and worship gods of your family. It is advised to observe a day-long-fast until the Ganesh-Lakshmi puja is performed in the evening.

Kalash pujan
Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja kalash. Wikimedia

Preparations For Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja

Families can embellish their home and office with Asoka and Marigold flowers, banana and mango leave on the day of the puja. Mangal Kalash covered with unpeeled coconut should be placed at both side of the main entrance of your house.

For puja preparation, place at the right hand side a red cloth on a hoisted platform and put in idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh on it after gracing them with jewellery and clothes. Once this is done, Navgraha gods must be placed on the left hand side on a hoisted platform under white cloth. Prepare carefully nine slots of Akshata (unbroken rice) for placing Navgraha on white cloth and sixteen slots of wheat must prepared for the red cloth. You should perform puja with all the important rituals.

Idols of Ganesh-lakshmi are being worshipped on the eve of Diwali. Wikimedia

Timings (Muhurat) for Lakshmi Puja

Pradosh Kaal muhurat is the time during which puja needs to be performed. For those who do not know what Pradosh Kaal is, it is the time that starts after sunset and lasts for about 2 hours and 24 minutes. Goddess Lakshmi will stay in your home if you perform Lakshmi puja in the Pradosh Kaal when it is Sthir Lagna time. Sthir refers to ‘immovable.’  Before you do the puja, make sure you find out Pradosh Kaal (time) for your city or area. It is important that you know the right time to perform the puja.

– prepared by Siddheshwar Sharma. Twitter: @MancSiddheshwar

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Loan Waiver Provided to Maharashtra Farmers as ‘Diwali Gift’

Maharashtra farmers will get a "Diwali gift" in the form of loan waivers from October 18, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Tuesday.

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Loan Waiver
Loan Waivers announced by Maharashtra Government. IANS

Mumbai, Oct 18: After an anxious wait of over five months, Maharashtra farmers will get a “Diwali gift” in the form of loan waiver from October 18, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Tuesday.

“From tomorrow (Wednesday), we shall start disbursal to farmers under the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana across all the districts in the state. The money would be deposited directly into their bank accounts,” Fadnavis told media persons while hosting the customary Diwali-eve lunch at his official residence, Varsha.

Admitting that it would entail a huge burden on the state exchequer, he made it clear that “providing relief to the farmers is the top priority” of the state government.

“Within the next 25-30 days, we shall clear around 80 per cent of the loan waiver disbursals. We have a software in place which has been tested and has a data base of around six million applicant-farmers,” Fadnavis added.

On reports of many “farmers” from Mumbai applying for the debt waiver scheme, he said a probe was underway and only those found genuine and eligible would be entitled for the disbursal.

Earlier, welcoming the announcement, the ruling party ally Shiv Sena claimed credit for the farm loans waiver and hoped that the entire exercise would be completed by October-end.

“It is because of the crusade we had launched that the state government had announced the loans waiver scheme for farmers,” said Shiv Sena Spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut late on Monday.

On June 24, the state government had announced a massive Rs 34,022-crore relief package for the farmers, days after an unprecedented 11-day strike by the farming community in the state.

Under the scheme, the total number of beneficiaries were estimated to be around 8.90 million, but it is expected that over four million, mostly small and medium farmers, shall become completely debt-free, enabling them to avail fresh bank loans.

As per the available figures, around 3.61 million farmers shall be eligible for financial assistance of up to Rs 1.50 lakh each to clear their pending loans.

Interestingly, last August, a belligerent Shiv Sena had demanded that the Bharatiya Janata Party “prove its claims” that the farm loans waiver would actually benefit 8.90 million farmers, and sought a detailed list of all the beneficiaries to be tabled before the state assembly.

Similarly, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar recently questioned the government figures that it would dole out Rs 34,022 crore for the farm loans waiver and claimed that the actual relief would be in the range of Rs 10,000 crore-Rs 12,000 crore only. (IANS)

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Shraddha Kapoor Approaches for Animal Safety this Diwali

Shraddha Kapoor takes a stand on animal safety this Diwali. She posted on her Twitter handle to be kind to street animals and make this Diwali a noise free and eco-friendly one.

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Shraddha
Shraddha Kapoor takes a stand for animals this Diwali. IANS

Mumbai, Oct 18: Actress Shraddha Kapoor has taken a stand favoring the animals in the festive season of Diwali.

Shraddha has a pet dog Shylo, and the actress has always expressed her concern for animals on various occasions.

With Diwali inching closer, Shraddha took to Twitter to appeal to her fans to not burst firecrackers, for the sake of animals.

She shared a video saying: “Diwali is coming – the festival of lights… not of noise and air pollution. Help keep the air clean and be sensitive to the animals on the streets.”

The actress added: “This is that time of the year when Diwali is just around the corner and I just wanted to say that please don’t buy firecrackers and don’t burst firecrackers.

ALSO READHow To Ensure Your Pet Safe in Diwali?

“Not only does it cause a lot of pollution but it also troubles all the animals on the streets.”

Shraddha further urged her fans to have a safe Diwali by spending time with family as she wished her fans.

“Instead, spend Diwali with your family, with your loved ones eat amazing food, eat sweets and don’t burst crackers. Happy Diwali.”

On the work front, the actress is currently working on the trilingual “Saaho” with Prabhas. Shraddha has recently returned to Mumbai after wrapping the first schedule of the film in Hyderabad. (IANS)