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Festivals

Onam|Vishu | Navarathri | Christmas | Easter | Ramadan | Eid-Ul-Fitr | Eid-Ul-Zuha | Milad-Ul-Nabi | Muharram | Boat Races | Erumeli Pettathullal | Vaikathashtami | Ezharapponnana | Puthuppalli Chandanakkudam


Easter

Easter is the oldest Christian festival, as old as Christianity itself. The central tenet of Christianity is not the birth of Jesus, but his resurrection. Easter is derived from this paschal mystery and from the events of Good Friday.

The content of Easter was gradually analysed into historical events and each began to be celebrated on a different day. As a result, Easter grew into a Holy Week and came to have a preparatory season to precede and a festive season to follow. Thus we have four distinct periods in connection with the observance of Easter -Services are held in the afternoon. 

In most churches a bitter drink prepared from leaves, vinegar, etc. for everyone to taste after the service, Holy Saturday is a day of mourning and wailing. A total silence reigns in the church from morning to dusk. But by ten at night the church is full, to observe the Easter Vigil. In the gloom, which envelops the church, new fire is struck from flint and blessed. A big candle is then consecrated and from it many candles are lighted  indicating the resurrection. Bells peal, music fills the air and light floods the hall. Halleluiah is the joyous word of Easter wish. Easter Sunday is a quiet day and the celebration is rather spiritual and inward rather than social showy. There will be a grand dinner at homes and visits of relatives.

Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar year. Legend says that God conveyed the message of Quran to Hazrat Mohammad through Gabriel in the days of Ramzan. All through the month of Ramzan the devout Muslims strictly indergo fasting. Purification of the body and soul is the main aim of this observance. They take food only before sunrise and after sunset. The morning "Sehri", would generally be cooked in milk, and tea or water. Then the call for prayer is heard from the mosques, and the children and men go to their mosques to offer "Namaz". Women stay at their houses and recite the Koran. But the fasting during the days of Ramzan does not affect the daily routine of the Muslims and they go on with their daily chores.

As the sun sets, the call for the Maghrib prayers are heard from the mosques and the fast is broken. It is called "Iftar". The fast is broken sipping water, a few dates and some fruits. The food eaten as Iftar is called Iftari and special delicacies like fried cornflower, boiled grams and lentils, meat kebabs and sweet meats are taken. Thus the 29 or 30 days of the month of Ramzan pass and the sighting of the new moon brings glad tidings of Eid-ul-fitr and the end of the month of Ramzan.

Eid-Ul-Fitr

Eid-ul-fitr means the joy at the end of the days of fasting. This is the day next after the appearance of first crescent. Wrought on happioness, Muslims wear their best attires. The Eid prayers are said between the early morning and the noon prayers. After the prayer, they greet each other saying: Eid Mubarak!. This festival is particularly favorite of children. On this day, parents give special allowance called "Eidee" to their children for buying toys of their choice. Special delicacies are prepared. They include "Seviyan", vermicelli's sweet preparation, "Sheer Korma, and other savoury dishes.

Eid-Ul-Zuha

It is one of the grandest festivals of the Muslims and it is also called Bakrid. It falls on the 10th day of the Muslim month of Dul- Hajju. Allah in a dream, demanded Hazrat Ibrahim to sacrifice that which is the dearest to him. So, he decided to offer his son to God. With the permission of his family blindfolded his son and chopped his head with his sword. To his surprise, before the sword could strike, a ram was replaced his son. This is the legend behind the festival. So on this day a ram or a goat or a camel is sacrificed and distributed among the near and dear ones.

This festival is about two months and nine days after Eid-ul-Fitr. On this occasion Muslims who can afford go on a pilgrimage go to Mecca and the trip  is called "Hajj". On this day others go to the mosque and offer prayers. Charities are practiced on this day.

Milad-Ul-Nabi

This festival commemorates the birthday of Hazrat Mohammad and it falls on the 12th day of Rabi-ul-Awwal month. Prophet Mohammad was born in 571 A.D on April 12th, in Mecca in Arabia. On the day of Milad, the Prophet's teachings are repeated, the Quran is read and religious discourses are conducted in the mosques. The Muslims invite their friends and relatives for a grand feast on this day.

Muharram

This is the Muslim festival of mourning. Muharram is observed in the first month of the Hijri year. The Shia community in particular celebrates this festival with great enthusiasm. They fast, offer prayers, recite verses from Quran and sing elegies in homage to the martyrs during the celebrations. On the final day, Tajjas are taken out in grand processions, accompanied by brass brands and bagpipes playing sad tunes. The Tajjas represent the mausoleum of Hazrat Imam Hussain. The processions terminate at Karbala where the Tajjas are ceremoniously buried. Hazrat Hussain was the second son of Fatimah, the prophet Mohammad's daughter.

The celebration of grief called "Majlis-e-Shoora" is observed with great passion at Lucknow, the stronghold of the Shia community and also at Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. After the burial of the tajjas, they go to their places and offer money, etc. to the poor. They observe this Martyr's day in peace and silence. Muharram is in fact a sort of ceremony for showing gratitude to the departed souls who fought so bravely for preserving their faith.



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