Category: Candid

Sankranti Festival or Lohri Festival

Sankranti: Festivals that are similar

Festivals around the world that are similar to Sankranti in some ways

Harvest Festivals:

  • Thanksgiving (North America): Celebrated in the United States and Canada on the fourth Thursday of November, Thanksgiving is a harvest festival that gives thanks for the blessings of the past year. It features a large feast with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and other traditional dishes.
  • Loi Krathong (Thailand): Celebrated on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month (usually November), Loi Krathong is a Thai festival that involves releasing decorated baskets (krathongs) with candles and offerings onto rivers and canals. It symbolizes letting go of negativity and bad luck.
  • Obon (Japan): Celebrated in mid-August, Obon is a Japanese festival that honors the spirits of deceased ancestors. Families return to their hometowns, visit graves, and offer food and prayers. Bon Odori, a traditional dance, is also performed during this time.
  • Chuseok (South Korea): Celebrated on the autumn equinox (usually in September or October), Chuseok is a Korean festival that gives thanks for the harvest. Families gather together, share meals, and play traditional games.

Sun-related Festivals:

  • Makar Sankranti (India): Celebrated on January 14th, Makar Sankranti marks the winter solstice and the beginning of the sun’s northward journey. It is a harvest festival in many parts of India, with bonfires, kite-flying, and special foods being enjoyed.
  • Pongal (Tamil Nadu, India): Celebrated in mid-January, Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival that gives thanks for the sun and the land. It features a special dish made of rice and lentils, called Pongal, and other traditional foods.
  • Inti Raymi (Ecuador): Celebrated on the summer solstice (usually in June), Inti Raymi is an ancient Inca festival that honors the sun god Inti. It features ceremonies, dances, and offerings to the sun.

These are just a few examples, and there are many other festivals around the world that share similar themes of harvest, thanksgiving, and the changing of the seasons.

Pran Pratishtha of Ayodhya Ram Mandir

Pran Pratishtha of Ram Mandir on 22nd Jan 2024

Pran Pratishtha of Ayodhya Ram Mandir is on Jan 22nd, 2024

This is a historic event in India’s history as the country started reclaiming its ancient historic roots.

Pran Pratishtha, also known as Murti Sthapana, is a sacred Hindu ritual that involves the consecration of a murti (image or idol) in a Hindu temple. This elaborate ceremony is believed to infuse the murti with life or prana, transforming it into a divine vessel capable of hosting the presence of the deity it represents.

The Pran Pratishtha ritual is a complex and meticulous process that can span several days, often coinciding with the inauguration of a newly built temple. It is typically performed by a qualified priest or purohit who possesses the necessary knowledge and expertise to invoke the divine presence and establish the murti as a sacred object.

The ritual encompasses a series of intricate steps, including:

  1. Purification of the Murti: The murti undergoes a thorough purification process to remove any impurities or imperfections. This may involve bathing the murti in holy water, anointing it with sacred oils, and chanting purifying mantras.
  2. Invocation of the Deity: Through the recitation of powerful mantras and hymns, the priest invites the deity to descend into the murti. This process involves visualizing the deity’s form and attributes, attracting their divine energy into the image.
  3. Eye-Opening Ceremony: The murti’s eyes are symbolically opened for the first time, signifying the deity’s acceptance of their new abode. This act is considered a momentous occasion, marking the murti’s transformation into a sacred vessel.
  4. Offering of Puja: Once the deity is established within the murti, elaborate offerings of puja are presented. These offerings may include flowers, fruits, incense, and various sacred substances, all intended to appease and honor the deity.
  5. Establishment of Daily Rituals: The priest outlines the daily rituals and procedures for worshipping the murti, ensuring that the deity receives proper care and devotion.

The Pran Pratishtha ceremony is deeply significant in Hinduism, as it marks the transition of a mere inanimate object into a divine embodiment. The murti, imbued with the deity’s presence, becomes the focal point of worship, a tangible medium for devotees to connect with the divine.

The first recorded instance of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir being vandalized occurred in 1528, during the reign of Mughal Babur.

Babur’s forces demolished the original Ram Mandir, which was believed to have been built by the Hindu king Vikramaditya.

Babur’s forces constructed a mosque on its site. This event sparked centuries of religious conflict and controversy.

Here’s a brief timeline of the events leading up to Pran Pratishtha and following the vandalism of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir:

1528: Babur’s forces demolish the Ram Mandir and construct a mosque on its site.

16th-18th Centuries: The site becomes a contested religious ground, with both Hindus and Muslims claiming ownership.

1853: A major clash erupts between Hindus and Muslims over access to the site.

1859: The British colonial authorities constructed a fence dividing the site into two courtyards, one for Hindus and one for Muslims.

1949: Hindu idols are placed inside the mosque, leading to a heated legal dispute over the site’s ownership.

1992: A large mob demolishes the Babri Masjid, triggering widespread riots and violence across India.

1994: The Supreme Court of India orders the acquisition of the disputed land for the construction of a Hindu temple.

2002: A court in Lucknow orders the construction of a mosque at a separate location in Ayodhya.

2019: The Supreme Court of India rules in favor of Hindu ownership of the disputed site, paving the way for the construction of a Ram Mandir.

2020: The foundation stone for the Ram Mandir is laid in a grand ceremony.

The construction of the Ram Mandir is ongoing, and it is expected to be completed in 2024. Pran Pratishtha of Ayodhya Ram Mandir announced, that Pran Pratishtha will be on Jan 22nd, 2024, The Ram Mandir is expected to become a major pilgrimage site for Hindus worldwide.

Image credit

Prime Minister's Office (GODL-India), GODL-India, via Wikimedia Commons