64 years ago India adopted a new constitution making it a republic, a country of the people, for the people, by the people. Republic Day is more than just a holiday. It is a celebration of the freedoms and opportunities afforded to all Indians. The Constitution, among other things, includes the following Fundamental Rights for ALL citizens:
- Right to equality
- Right to freedom (speech, expression, life and liberty)
- Right against exploitation, prohibiting child labor and human trafficking
- Right to freedom of religion
- Right to conserve one’s culture, language or script.
- Right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
- Right to education.
A lot of progress has been made despite many challenges. But India is, at best, a work in progress and a lot more still needs to be done. We believe in India’s immense potential created by the huge human capital – a population of more than one billion citizens – who together will make India truly incredible. We applaud Aamir Khan for creating and promoting ‘Satyamev Jayate’, which exposes the state of India’s rights and freedoms. This hard hitting series from 2012-13 is a must watch. It is available at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=ELHRj2Wug-qa0.
Watch. Feel. Act. For those who are unfortunate and helpless…
India has so many traditions, religions and cultures, that it can sometimes be hard to track whether a certain festival is a holiday or not.
Below is a list of official holidays for 2014 (as published by the Government of India), observed nationally.
|Date||National Holidays in India||Week Day|
|Jan 26||Republic Day||Sunday|
|Apr 08||Ram Navmi||Tuesday|
|Apr 13||Mahavir Jayanthi||Sunday|
|Apr 18||Good Friday||Friday|
|May 14||Buddha Purnima||Wednesday|
|Aug 15||Independence Day||Friday|
|Aug 18||Krishna Janmastami||Monday|
|Oct 02||Mahatma Gandhi Jayanthi||Thursday|
|Oct 03||Dussera/ Vijaya Dashami (Maha Navmi)||Friday|
|Oct 06||Bakri Id (Id-ul-zuha)||Monday|
|Nov 06||Guru Nanak Jayanthi||Thursday|
In addition, individual states/ regions may have additional holidays for festivals and local celebrations. Key regional holidays and festivals are listed below.
|Date||Other regional holidays/ major festivals in India||Week Day|
|Jan 01||New Year’s Day||Wednesday|
|Jan 07||Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti||Tuesday|
|Jan 14||Makar Sankranti||Tuesday|
|Feb 04||Vasant/ Shree Panchami||Tuesday|
|Feb 14||Guru Ravidas Jayanti||Friday|
|Feb 19||Shivaji Jayanti||Wednesday|
|Feb 24||Swami Dayananda Saraswati Jayanti||Monday|
|Feb 27||Maha Shivratri||Thursday|
|Mar 16||Holika Dahan||Sunday|
|Mar 31||Chaitra Sukladi/ GudiPadava/ Ugadi/ Cheti Chand||Monday|
|Apr 14||Vaisakhi/ Vishu/ Mesadi/ Mashadi Uczadi||Monday|
|Apr 15||Vaisakhadi(Bengal)/ Bahag Bihu (Assam)||Tuesday|
|May 09||Guru Rabindranath’s Birthday||Friday|
|May 13||Hazarat Ali’s Birthday||Tuesday|
|Jun 29||Rath Yatra||Sunday|
|Aug 10||Raksha Bandhan||Sunday|
|Aug 18||Parsi New Year’s day||Monday|
|Aug 29||Vinayaka Chaturthi/Ganesh Chaturthi||Friday|
|Oct 01||Dussehra (Maha Saptami) (Additional)||Wednesday|
|Oct 02||Dussehra (Maha Ashtami) (Additional)||Thursday|
|Oct 08||Maharishi Valmiki’s Birthday||Wednesday|
|Oct 11||Karva Chauth (Karaka Chaturthi)||Saturday|
|Oct 22||Narak Chaturdashi/ Deepavali – South India||Wednesday|
|Oct 24||Govardhan Puja||Friday|
|Oct 25||Bhai Duj||Saturday|
|Oct 29||Pratihar Sashthi or Surya Sashthi (Chhat Puja)||Wednesday|
|Nov 24||Guru Teg Bahadur’s Martyrdom Day||Monday|
|Dec 24||Christmas Eve||Wednesday|
|Dec 28||Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti||Sunday|
PS: Local names/ spellings of these holidays/festivals may differ.
Diwali is the Indian Festival of Lights. Also known as Deepavali (which literally means ‘row of lamps’), Diwali is usually celebrated in October-November on the darkest moonless night. The festival starts on the thirteenth day of waning moon and there are 5 days of Diwali. Each day is of special significance.
The first day is called Dhanteras : Dhan means wealth and Teras is the thirteenth day of the Hindu month. This is the birthday of Lord Dhanwantari and is considered a very auspicious day for businesses! On this day, people pray to Lord Dhanwantari for money and success. Dhanteras is also called the day of Yamadeepan.
The second day of Diwali is called Naraka Chaturdashi or ‘Choti Diwali’. According to legend, this is the day Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Nakasura. The fireworks that we light during Diwali are supposed to represent the weapons that Lord Krishna used to defeat Nakasura.
The third day of Diwali is the real Diwali. This is the only day in the year when Goddess Laxmi comes down to earth and bestows prosperity and good fortune. We light diyas to invite Goddess Laksmi and drive away darkness. People perform Lakshmi puja and ask for blessings of prosperity. This is also the day that Lord Ram (who is said to be the avatar of Lord Vishnu) returned home after killing the Lankan ruler Ravana. Fireworks also represent the victory of good over evil!
The fourth day of Diwali is Govardhan Puja. Lord Krishna saved Gokul from flooding by using the Govardhan mountain as an umbrella
The last day of Diwali is bhai dooj and is a symbol of love between brothers and sisters. Legend has it that Yamraj the lord of death visited his sister (the river Yamuna) and she put a tilak on his forehead. So on this day, sisters apply a tilak on their brothers forehead and get gifts and blessings in return.
This year Diwali (the third and main day) falls on Sunday November 3rd. For a full list of Indian festivals and holidays check out our blog post Indian festival list 2013
Question aides for parents:
Q1) When is Diwali?
Q2) Why do we light diyas during Diwali?
Q3) How many days of Diwali are there?
Q4) What do the fireworks represent?
Diwali is around the corner and your gifts are a click away! Check out some fun ideas to get you inspired
Funny ‘Indian’ Mugs
These ‘Indian’ mugs come in a series of 3. You know you’re Indian, Always Indian, Still Indian
You know you are Indian if’….’10 kg rice bag’….’you dont use measuring cups when cooking’…’you love bollywood’…’Maybe because everything you eat is savored in tomato, garlic and onion :)’
Amar Chitra Katha – The Complete Collection
Calling all Amar Chitra Katha fans! This gift set is one to be treasured. The entire collection in a beautifully packaged box set
A modern rendition of an Diwali iconic symbol
Sand Art Rangoli Kit
Back in stock – this popular kit is a lovely way of holding onto the Rangoli art form even after the Diwali season! Rangoli creations can be framed
Take $5 off your order of $50 or more by using coupon DWL5 at checkout (valid till Oct 31st 2013).