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Find out information on major Hindu festivals and holidays. Also, explore a free, printable calendar on Hindu holidays and festivals 2016.

Hindu Holidays 2016

Hindu Festivals
It's been said often enough that Hindus celebrate everything. So they do. The birth of gods, death of asuras, victory of the gods, marriage of the gods, the new year, new months, full moons, new moons, harvests, birthdays, initiations, marriages, deaths, anniversaries - you name the event, and it is reason for music, dance, processions, and what have you.

And there is the religious bit lurking behind it all. The reasons for this lie deep, in the origin of Hinduism as an organic religion. Its followers have over time considered anything, animate or inanimate, to be sacred and aspects of divinity.

That is also why even secular events like harvests take on religious overtones, with the patron deity presiding over the festivities. As soon as something happens, there is a kind of thanksgiving to the divine that follows it.

Apart from the universally celebrated festivals like Dussehra, Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi, there are others that are observed in specific communities or geographical areas. Hindu holidays are also confined to particular regions by the importance a certain god enjoys.

Worship of Kartikeya (as during the festival of Skanda Shashti) is predominant in Tamil Nadu, where the god is considered a patron of the region. Onam is a good example of a festival that is celebrated solely by Keralites. Another interesting aspect of Onam is that it is perhaps the only major Hindu festival that celebrates the reign of an asura king, although a benevolent one.

The profusion of legends and the contradictions inherent in them is reflected in festivals too. Travel around the country, and you will hear people tell you a variety of legends involving different gods behind a single festival. Besides, you will also find versions of the same festival being celebrated under different names in different regions.

All this adds that facet of unending novelty and constant change to the strikingly colorful kaleidoscope that is India. You might end up thinking the thought: "The more things change, the more they remain the same", which is something often said about India and its magical agelessness.

With so many holy days and more than 20 major Hindu festivals, the calendar should be liberally sprinkled with them. But it isn't so. There is a distinct festival season, which runs from late August through December. This is when there is a fever of celebrations, with a string of important festivals following one another in a rush.

But the major festivals are not the only ones that the people celebrate. Browse through the Hindu almanac, and you will find a mention of holiness or sacredness against almost every day of the year. Most of the lesser festivals are lesser because they have a private rather than public face. There are rituals for phases of the moon, solar and lunar eclipses, days of the week, a person's auspicious star or zodiac sign.

Hindu Festivals Calendar 2016
January 13, WednesdayLohri
15, FridayMakar Sankranti
15, Friday ~ Sunday, Jan 17Pongal
16, SaturdayBhogali Bihu
16, SaturdayBihu
February 08, MondayMauni Amavasya
12, FridayVasant Panchami
March 07, MondayMaha Shivaratri
08, TuesdayVikrami Samvat (Hindu New Year)
24, ThursdayHoli
25, Friday ~ Sunday, Mar 27Holla Mohalla
April 08, Friday ~ Friday, Apr 15Chaitra Navratri
08, FridayUgadi
13, WednesdayBaisakhi
14, Thursday ~ Saturday, Apr 16Rongali Bihu
15, FridayRama Navami
20, WednesdayMahavir Jayanti
22, FridayHanuman Jayanti
May 09, MondayAkshay Tritiya
14, SaturdayGanga Dussehra
21, SaturdayBuddha Purnima
July 06, WednesdayRath Yatra
19, TuesdayGuru Purnima
August 07, SundayNaag Panchami
18, ThursdayRaksha Bandhan
25, ThursdayShri Krishna Janmashtami
September 05, MondayGanesh Chaturthi
17, SaturdayVishwakarma Puja
October 02, SundayNavaratra Begins
02, Sunday ~ Monday, Oct 10Sharad Navratri
07, Friday ~ Tuesday, Oct 11Durga Puja
11, TuesdayDussehra
19, WednesdayKarva Chauth
28, FridayDhan Teras
30, SundayDiwali
30, SundayKali Puja
31, MondayGovardhan Puja
November 01, TuesdayBhai Duj
04, FridayChhath Puja Begins (Nahai Khai)
07, MondayChhath Puja Ends (Sandhya Argh)