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Archive for the ‘Holidays & Festivals’ Category

Thanksgiving with Kids & Other Tips

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Tips for the season*:
“If you have time and energy, get kids to help prepare a simple dish. This will acclimate them to cooking and bestow a sense of pride when “their” dish is served.”

“Modern technology has not yet replaced the handwritten thank-you note—rather it has made it more precious”

*Credit Bon Appetit magazine – A modern etiquette guide to Giving & Thanking Nov 2014

Get the kids to help with Chota Chef

With step-by-step pictorial illustrations to make it easy for young readers; Each recipe is printed double-sided (one side for the adult, and one side for the child) on a thick laminated board for easy clean-up. 
Each of the cards also contains a fun fact about the state or region where the recipe is from.


Send a handwritten note to the host

Show your appreciation by writing your thank you note on these one of a kind handmade scrolls featuring a an Indian Saloka design.  The paper is created using dispersed cotton fibres that gives it a unique texture and sheen


Written by Redpatang

November 12, 2014 at 10:30 am

India Republic Day – January 26th

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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: 

  1. Right to equality
  2. Right to freedom (speech, expression, life and liberty)
  3. Right against exploitation, prohibiting child labor and human trafficking
  4. Right to freedom of religion
  5. Right to conserve one’s culture, language or script.
  6. Right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
  7. 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

Watch. Feel. Act. For those who are unfortunate and helpless…

To freedom…

Written by Redpatang

January 21, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Indian Holidays 2014 (National)

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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 14 Id-E-Milad Tuesday
Jan 26 Republic Day Sunday
Mar 17 Holi Monday
Apr 08 Ram Navmi Tuesday
Apr 13 Mahavir Jayanthi Sunday
Apr 18 Good Friday Friday
May 14 Buddha Purnima Wednesday
Jul 29 Id-Ul-Fitr Tuesday
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
Oct 23 Diwali Thursday
Nov 04 Muharram Tuesday
Nov 06 Guru Nanak Jayanthi Thursday
Dec 25 Christmas 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
Jan 14 Pongal 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
Apr 20 Easter Sunday
May 09 Guru Rabindranath’s Birthday Friday
May 13 Hazarat Ali’s Birthday Tuesday
Jun 29 Rath Yatra Sunday
Jul 25 Jamat-Ul-Vida Friday
Aug 10 Raksha Bandhan Sunday
Aug 18 Parsi New Year’s day Monday
Aug 29 Vinayaka Chaturthi/Ganesh Chaturthi Friday
Sep 07 Onam Sunday
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.

What is Diwali?

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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?

Written by Redpatang

October 30, 2013 at 9:33 am

Diwali gift ideas

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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 3You 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 :)’

Always Indian coffee mug

Always Indian coffee mug

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

Amar Chitra Katha - The complete collection

Amar Chitra Katha – The complete collection

Ravan T-Shirt

A modern rendition of an Diwali iconic symbol

Ravana T Shirt


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

Sand Art Rangoli kit

Sand Art Rangoli kit

Take $5 off your order of $50 or more by using coupon DWL5 at checkout (valid till Oct 31st 2013).

108 Names of Ganesha: Categorized by Theme

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Lord Ganesha's mural at Fort Meherangarh Palace, Jodhpur India (Courtesy: Dalbera via Flickr)

Lord Ganesha’s mural at Fort Meherangarh Palace, Jodhpur India (Courtesy: Dalbera via Flickr)

Ganesha… Ganapati… Siddhivinayaka… Mangalamurti… Elephant God

Did you know that Lord Ganesha is worshiped using 108 names!  We got curious and wanted to sort them by their meaning.  Some names refer to him as the God of all, powerful and warrior-like yet forgiving, with strong family connections.  Of course, there are several names that describe his appearance and other qualities.  And there are 22 names for Him as bestower or knowledge and success as well as remover of all obstacles.

Lord Ganesha’s 108 names (by theme):

Lord of all
1 Avaneesh Lord of the whole World
2 Bhupati Lord of the Gods
3 Bhuvanpati God of the Heaven
4 Devadeva Lord of All Lords
5 Sureshwaram Lord of All Lords
6 Ganadhakshya Lord of All Ganas (Gods)
7 Ganapati Lord of All Ganas (Gods)
8 Ganadhyakshina Leader of All The Celestial Bodies
9 Maheshwaram Lord of The Universe
10 Pramoda Lord of All Abodes
11 Vinayaka Lord of All
12 Vishwamukha Master of The Universe
13 Vishwaraja King of The World
Read the rest of this entry »

Ganesh Chaturthi – a few gift ideas

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Ganesha Single comic - Amar Chitra Katha

Ganesha Single comic – Amar Chitra Katha

Ganesh Chaturthi is coming up on September 9th.  Looking for a way to celebrate?

Here are some gift ideas that you can find right in the redpatang store!

Ganesha fun magnet

Ganesha fun magnet

Traditional Ganesha Magnet

Traditional Ganesha Magnet

Written by Redpatang

September 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm

India’s Kite Festival (Makar Sankranti) – or the Biggest Kite Fight of the Year

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Hundreds, maybe, thousands of kites fill the cool January sky every year on Makar Sankranti (or Uttarayan), especially in western India, particularly in the state of Gujarat.

Children, young and old, wait for this day.  They buy the best quality kite they can get, not the most expensive, or the biggest, or even the most colorful – but one that can withstand the winds and stay up in the sky for the longest.  Made up of light weight paper and bamboo (or similar bendy woods), it is not your typical recreational ‘foofy’ kite with long swirly tails.  This is an “Indian Fighter Kite”, with a short triangular tail, like a jet fighter, made to FIGHT.

Indian Fighter kites

Indian Fighter kites

Yup, fight.  If you have been in one, you know.  The minute you are up, there is someone, maybe several of them, waiting to cut your kite loose.  They have skill, stamina and a not-so-secret weapon, the manja (the string).   Coated with glass powder and other abrasives, the manja is deadly and known to hurt birds and humans (we are amazed it has not been banned yet).  Now multiply this scene, several dozen times and the sky is littered with mini-battles all over.  A skirmish is won when a kite starts falling and then on with the next one.  It can be quite the spectacle.

Cut kites are picked up by kite runners, little children, who carelessly chase them as they glide down, swerving side to side with changing directions of the winter wind.   The last one cut is a big prize and is another spectacle to watch by itself.  (For the uninitiated, you must read the book “Kite Runner”, which although based in Afghanistan describes a similar scene).

The last kite flying and its master get bragging rights for a full year and accolades from all elders, their neighbor, the bhel puri wallah, the nookad paan wallah and then some.

The battle for the skies ends with heading home and having til laddoo and other goodies made just for the day.

P.S  Take a closer look at our very own Red Patang Logo :  does it look familiar?

Indian Holidays 2013

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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 2013 (as published by the Government of India), observed nationally.  

Date National Holidays in India Day of Week
January 25 Id-E-Milad Friday
January 26 Republic Day Saturday
March 27 Holi Wednesday
March 29 Good Friday Friday
April 19 Ram Navmi Friday
April 24 Mahavir Jayanti Wednesday
May 25 Buddha Purnima Saturday
August 9 Id-Ul-Fitr Friday
August 15 Independence Day Thursday
August 28 Krishna Janmastami Wednesday
October 2 Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti Wednesday
October 13 Dussera/ Vijaya Dashami (Maha Navmi) Sunday
October 16 Bakri Id (Id-ul-zuha) Wednesday
November 3 Diwali Sunday
November 14 Muharram Thursday
November 17 Guru Nanak Jayanti Sunday
December 25 Christmas


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 Day of week
January 1 New Year’s Day Tuesday
January 13 Makar Sankaranti Sunday
January 14 Pongal Monday
January 18 Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti Friday
February 14 Shree Panchami Thursday
February 15 Vasant Panchami Friday
February 19 Shivaji Jayanti Tuesday
February 25 Guru Ravidas Jayanti Monday
March 7 Swami Dayananda Saraswati Jayanti Thursday
March 10 Maha Shivratri Sunday
March 26 Holika Dahan Tuesday
March 31 Easter Sunday
April 11 Chaitra Sukladi/ GudiPadava/ Ugadi/ Cheti Chand Thursday
April 13 Vaisakhi/ Vishu Saturday
April 14 Mesadi/ Mashadi Uczadi Sunday
April 15 Vaisakhadi(Bengal)/ Bahag Bihu (Assam) Monday
May 9 Guru Rabindranath’s birthday Thursday
May 24 Hazarat Ali’s Birthday Friday
July 10 Rath Yatra Wednesday
August 2 Jamat-Ul-Vida Friday
August 18 Parsi New Year’s day Sunday
August 20 Raksha Bandhan Tuesday
September 9 Vinayaka Chaturthi/ Ganesh Chaturthi Monday
September 16 Onam Monday
October 11 Dussehra (Maha Saptami) (Additional) Friday
October 12 Dussehra (Maha Ashtami) (Additional) Saturday
October 18 Maharishi Valmiki’s birthday Friday
October 22 Karva Chauth (Karaka Chaturthi) Tuesday
November 2 Narak Chaturdashi/ Deepavali – South India Saturday
November 5 Bhai Duj Tuesday
November 8 Pratihar Sashthi or Surya Sashthi (Chhat Puja) Friday
November 24 Guru Teg Bahadur’s Martyrdom Day Sunday


A great way to introduce festivals of India to young minds is “Tell me about: Festivals of India

PS: Local names/ spellings of these holidays/festivals may differ.  

Written by Redpatang

December 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Raksha Bandhan

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The festival of Raksha Bandhan is meant to symbolize the strong bond between brother and sister.  Raksha literally means protection and  Bandhan …bond.  The sister ties a Rakhi on the brother’s wrist with a prayer for his health and prosperity and in return he showers her with gifts or money.

The origins of this tradition are not very clear but some popular tales say that when Lord Indra was at war with some demons, his wife tied a thread of protection on his wrist to keep him from harm and Indra went on to defeat the demons.  Another legend indicates that when the Queen of Mewar was threatened by Bahadur Shah, she sent a sacred thread to Emperor Humayun and he came to her protection.

So when is Rakhi?  It usually falls on the full moon day in the month of Shravan (July-August) and in 2011 it will fall on August 13th.  And since nothing says love more than “Handmade”, here are two Rakhi’s that you can make or turn into an art and craft project with the kids.  I’ve tried to use everyday materials to make this easy

You will need:

Ribbon (half inch to one inch thick).  The Ribbon can be plain or decorative.  Length of the ribbon should be enough to wrap around the wrist of the wearer with enough allowance to tie it. Trim the two cut edges into a V to give it a finished look

Ribbon with V trim

 Design one – Beaded Rakhi:

You will need small beads. Simply glue or sew the beads onto the ribbon selected.

Beadwork Rakhi

Design two – Traditional Rakhi:

Click here for a free template. Print this template and cut out the Rakhi shape of your choice.  Paste this on cardstock and decorate in anyway you want before attaching it to the ribbon.  Here are some ideas: You can

  • cut and paste your childs abstract artwork on this shape
  • cover it with fabric before attaching it to the ribbon
  • draw the outline of “Om” or “Ganesha” or
  • even get creative with glitter glue.

Written by Redpatang

July 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm

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