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Dasavataram festival
Date: Thu Jan 04 1996 - 08:58:11 PST

I am glad to see that people are trying to find a Hindu
significance for the Christmas Holiday season, which
is the best time of the year in the USA. I have pondered
over this for the past 15 years and at one time I even made 
a seasons greetings card which said: Masanam Margashirshoham.
Being a Srivaishnava, it came in very handy as we celebrate
Dhanurmasam(Margalzhi) traditionally. I wrote few articles
linking Christmas and Easter with the two favorite times of
the year for lord Krishna (Masanam Margashishoham, Rutunam
Kusumakarah). I also requested other non-srivaishnava communities 
to share their special tradirions for this season. I have posted here
numerous fall-winter celebrations. The list by no meand is 
complete. As we notice these festivals did not all start
at the same time or the same tradition.

Thus the recent suggestion for Dasavataram celebration is fine. But 
please go through this list and see whether there is any need for 
introducing a new festival. If we still feel that way then 
probably we should popularize the new festival.

Fall-Winter Festivals  (October-March)

1. Deepavali : Festival of lights and fire works
(Both the July 4 and Christmas of India )(October-November)

2. Haloween (Oct 31)

3. Thanks Giving (November 24)

4. Skanda Shahti
Harohara-Kavadi-a colorfull parade in honor of Lord Subrumanya  (November)

5. Ayyappa Mandalam 
Piligrimage to Shabarimala in honor of Hari-Hara (November 15-January 14). 
for lord Ayyappa.

6. Karthigai Deepam (Vishnu Deepam)
Festival of Lights (November-Debcember)

7. Elephant Festival (November-December)
Elephant statues (metal, clay, home made etc.) decorated with colorfull 
and lights.
Here we keep Christmas tree and in India we keep elephant (Elephant is the 
animal which can uproot a tree on its own strength!)

8. Gita Jayanti (December)
The day message of Bhagavadgita was given to Arjuna by the lord Krishna, some
5100 years ago.

9. Dhanurmasam (Marghalzhi) celebration (December 16-Jan 15)
Dedicated by Srivaishnavas to study the poetic work-Tiruppavai of Andal (an
eighth century devotee of Krishna). Andal is the Meera of South India.
Parallel to this is the Shaivite tradition of studying the 20 verses of
Thiruvambavi of Maniccavachakar in 10 days.

10. Pavai Nombu, a festival in Kerala/Tamil Nadu undertaken by Kanyas for
begetting good husbands. Thiruppavai of Andal may have been influenced by the
Pavai Nombu as much a sthe Katyayini Vratam undertaken by the Gopis (described
in one of the Puranas, I believe).

11. Pancha Ganesh festival (December 21-25): Details of performing 
this can be found in the November or the December issue of Hinduism Today,
published by the Hawai swamy.

12. Sri Hanuman Jayanti (December 22 for 1995)

13.  Vaikunta Ekadasi (January 1 for 1995)

14. Nammalvars  ascent to Vaikuntam (January 1 for 1995)

15. Vishnusahsranama Jayanti: Bhishma taught Vishnu Sahasra Namam (1000 names 
Vishnu) to Yudhistira and rest of the Pandavas in Margashirsha.

16. December is also the month in which God of Abraham asked Abraham to
sacrifice his son Ismail (for the Muslims) and Isaac (for the Jews)

17. Hanukkha for Jews

18. Christmas (replaced an ancient Greek/ Roman festival for Sun God and Yule 

19. Kwaanza festival (for Africa)

20. Pongal, Makara Sankranti (Jan 14/15)-traditional beginning of Uttarayana 

21. Vasant Panchami (Jan last week, Saraswati Puja). Generally important to 
Bengali community.

22. Shivaratri (Feb)

In this list all traditions(all most all) of Hindus are covered.
Do we need another festival?

-K. Sreekrishna(Tatachar)