"Skylaterns" as used to celebrate the festival of Diwali


Significant Festivals

Vasant Panchmi a.k.a. Saraswati Puja - The fitfth of the Indian month Magh, in early Spring

Saraswati Puja, also called Vasant Panchmi, celebrates the beginning of spring and prayers are made to the Goddess Saraswati who is the patron of arts, music and learning. Saraswati is the consort of Lord Brahma, the creator. On this day many people wear bright yellow clothes and play music.

Mahashivratri - On the 14th day of the dark half of Magh

This festival is dedicated to Shiva, who tradition says, symbolised by the new moon came to save the world from darkness and ignorance. Devotees of Shiva observe a fast, staying up all night at a place of worship. Shiva is offered special food during ritual worship and those who observe the fast only break it the next morning, and eat the food offered to Shiva.

Holi - Celebrated in March or April

Holi, originally a spring festival of fertility and harvest, which is referred to in the 7th century Sanskrit drama, Ratnaval. It celebrates the new life and energy of the season. Holi is an energetic festival, filled with fun and good humour, where even the strict rules of separation between castes are abandoned.

Rama Navami & Swaminarayan Jayanti - On the ninth day of the first fortnight of Chaitra the birth of Rama is commemorated.

Rama Navami celebrates the birth of Lord Rama. During the festival houses are thoroughly cleaned and decorated. The Ramayana, the book of Rama the hero is continually read for a week up to the festival. Many fast and aim to give charitably during the festival. The teacher, Swaminarayan, was born on this day in 1781 near Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Rama. During his 49 years on earth he wrote the Shikashpatri - a code of conduct for his devotees. His followes also celebrate his birth on this day.

Shree Hanuman Jayanti - In the Hindu month, Chaitra.

Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman, the Vanara god, widely venerated throughout India.

Rath Yatra - During June or July.

On this day, a huge image of the 'Jagganath' (lord of the universe, a representation of Vishnu or Krishna), is placed on a chariot and paraded through the streets. The huge image reminds humankind of our littleness before the Lord of the universe.

Raksha Bandhana (Rakhi) - Raksha Bandhan is celebrated every year on 'Shravan Purnima' (Full Moon Day of the Hindu month of Shravan), which generally falls in the month of August.

Raksha Bandhana celebrates the bonds of personhood and love. Bracelets called rakhi are tied around the wrists as a sign of protection and hope for the year to come.

Janamashtami / Krishna Jayanti (Birthday of Lord Krishna) - The actual day of celebration can be on two different days as the star 'Rohini' and Ashtami may not be on the same day. This occurs between August and September

Janamashtami is celebrated with great importance and consideration. The first day (a fast day) is called Krishan ashtami or Gokul ashtami and the second day (for festivity) is popularly known as Janam ashtami. During Janamashtami songs, plays and special foods are offered. Holy mantras are also chanted to venerate Krishna.

Shree Ganesh Chaturthi - Usually in September.

This is a celebration of Lord Ganesha, the Elephant-god.

Navaratri - Usually in October.

Navaratri, the nine nights, symbolises good defeating evil. The festival focuses on Durga, the powerful mother goddess and the harvest gathering. Images of the Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, are shown in her 9 manifestations throughout time. During Navaratri, some devotees fast and pray as they start new ventures and for safety. The tenth day following the nine is known as the Day of Victory, and is a festive celebration. It usually coincides with the Dusera festival, a distinct festivity celebrating Lord Rama rescuing his wife Sita from kidnap.

Karva Chauth - Usually October or November.

This is an all-day observance when wives fast for their husbands’ longevity until moonrise. The wives , dressed in red and yellow saris, go to the temple that evening where the priest offers prayers.

Diwali (Deepavali) - The main festival day falls on the no-moon day of the dark half of Kartik, according to the Hindu lunar calendar. This is usually in October or November.

The festival of Diwali extends over five days. The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance, although the actual legends that go with the festival are different in different parts of India. The 3rd day of Diwali is the principal day of festivity, in honour of the Goddes Laxmi. The 4th day is observed as a traditional New Year by some Hindus. The fifth (final) day, Bhai-Bij, is a traditional day for family gatherings when sisters pray for the well-being of their brothers.


The Chaplaincy to the University of Glamorgan provides the following information from its own researchers. Each page has been checked by the chaplaincy advisor from the relevant faith group. Within every major religion, there are differences of opinion between leaders, and between leaders and followers. We only aim to provide an overview.