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Showing posts with label Days Celebrated. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Days Celebrated. Show all posts

Friday, 22 September 2017

Colorful Navratri Festival in Trivandrum


Annual Navratri festival got off to a colorful start with the arrival of the deity of Devi Saraswati near the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple on September 21, 2017. The subsequent day, Thursday,
September 22, 2017, marked the beginning of the said festival in Thiruvananthapuram. During the 9-day festival, the worshippers can offer their prayers to Goddess Saraswati installed at the specially set up Navratri Mandapam in the mornings and evenings. In this period, there will be musical offerings to the presiding deity by reputed artists from across the country. The deity traveled all the way from Padmanabhapuram Palace in neighboring Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. In this blog post, we will be talking about this annual ritual for the benefit of people from other parts of the world, including those from outside Kerala.

navratri festival


The main deity Goddess Saraswati was brought to Thiruvananthapuram city from Padmanabhapuram Palace in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu in the form of a procession. The other deities that accompanied the main deity were Kundani Manka and Kumara Swamy. The procession carrying the deities traveled to the city in two days with two halts. One halt was at famous Neyyattinkara temple for one night. That was on Tuesday, September 20, 2017. On September 21, 2017, the procession reached the Navratri Mandapam near Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple receiving huge public reception.

navratri procession

En route, the procession was received at Nemom by Thiruvananthapuram Mayor V.K. Prasanth and Deputy Mayor Rakhi Kumar. There was a guard of honor function organized for the incoming deity at Kacheri junction, near Nemom junction. The procession had halted for a while at Nemom village office following the age-old tradition. Furthermore, the procession was given welcome by Suresh Gopi MP and O. Rajagopal MLA at famous Karamana Satyavageeswara temple at Karamana and V.S. Sivakumar MLA and Travancore Devaswom Board Commissioner Ramaraja Prema Prasad at Chalai in different functions.

navratri reception

Poojas and Rituals

During the 9-day festival, the people can offer their prayers to Goddess Saraswati in the morning and evenings. As part of the festival, there will be “Pooja Vaipu” ritual on September 29, 2017, and “Pooja Edipu” ritual on September 30, 2017.On the ultimate day, the children are initiated into the world of letters and music by well-known and accomplished persons from various fields of life. This ritual is called “Ezhuthinu Iruthu”. The parents who wish to initiate their children into the world of letters before the presiding deity can books their slots in advance for a fee of Rs. 50. The booking has started from September 21, 2017.

navraatri mandapam

Darshan Timings

The worshippers need to follow the dress code to visit the Navratri Mandapam. Women devotees should come for darshan with saree and blouse. On the other hand, men need to come wearing white dothi and towel or mundu. The timings are as given below.

navratri darshan time


5:15 AM to 7:30 AM and 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM


3:00 PM to 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Musical Offerings

During the 9-day festival, reputed and performing artists from across the country, especially from Southern India, come to the city to give their musical offerings to the presiding deity at Navratri Mandapam. As before, there is a long list of reputed artists who have come forward to perform before the Goddess Saraswati, seeking her blessings.  The list is given below.

navratri music

  1.           Vocal by Amrutha Venkatesh on September 22, 2017

  2.           Vocal by Aswathi Thirunal Rama Varma and Party on September 23, 2017

  3.           Vocal by Sanjay Subrahmanyan on September 24, 2017

  4.           Violin Solo by S. Varadarajan and Mridangam by T.V. Gopalakrishnan on September 25, 2017

  5.           Vocal by Professor Venkataramanan on September 26, 2017

  6.            Vocal by Professor B. Parassala Ponnammal and party on September 27, 2017

  7.            Vocal by Professor Thamarakkad T. N. Govindan Namboothiri on September 28, 2017

  8.             Vocal by Vishnudev Namboothiri on September 29, 2017

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Origin of April Fool’s Day


April Fool’s day has come this year also just like the years that have gone past. This is the time when people make comedy pranks on each other to mark the occasion.  Most commonly, these pranks are directed against the strangers. This is also the time when you can settle score against those guys who have caused you some problem in the past. Nobody can point fingers of allegations at you as this is the day for rampant distribution of japes and witticism among the people. Probably because of the voluntary sharing of practical pranks and wits against people by the people, it has become globally known as the day of laughter and stupidity.

april fool

Historical Perspective

Despite digging into the past, the origin of making the harmless prank and playing with the people for the fun sake is still shrouded in darkness. There are multiple sources from which the reference to the origin can be taken. According to one school of thought, the origin of this pranks day can be traced back to the days of Roman Empire. The celebrations of this day have close resemblance with the Roman festival of Hilaria. During those days, the festival Hilaria was referred to as the Feast of Fools. From the records, people have inferred that the Romans observe this day by making light-hearted giddiness and tame mockery of things that happened around them. The folklore from this period suggests that the practice of making mockery in a harmless way and making practical pranks had begun during the time of Constantine. At that point in time, a group of jesters and fools told the Roman Emperor about their ability to better the empire. Amused by this, the Roman ruler asked one of them by the name Kugel to remain as King for one day. In his one day, he had issued insane orders. This day is later carried forward as the Fool’s Day.
fools day

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Significance of National Youth Day


The importance of youth is getting more prominent by each passing day. The way they handle things when compared to that done by the old timers would tell how different and orderly the world would turn out to be in the coming years. The ability of the youth to bring change was recognized by the seers quite early. For instance, Swami Vivekananda understood quite well about the power of youth, just like other seers in the past.  Moreover, the revered seer who established Ramakrishna Mutt led the youth by setting examples.  His works became the source of inspiration for the youths across the world in the past and the years to come. His teachings gave new dimension to the way the Hinduism is viewed upon by the members of other religions. Soon his life became the epitome of what a youth is capable of doing. Hence, his birth date soon got associated with the Youth Day after the Ramakrishna Mutt began to observe it on that day.


National Youth Day

National Youth Day is celebrated in our country on the birthday of Swami Vivekananda, who is the greatest visionary India has ever produced, to celebrate the power of youth.  It was formally declared as National Youth Day in 1984 by the Government of India.  In the promulgation, the central government read out “it was felt that the philosophy of Swamiji and the values he stood for and worked with could be a source of great inspiration for the Indian Youth”. Since the next year, our country has been celebrating this year as National Youth Day. This day is also observed by Ramakrishna Mutt and Mission in a traditional Hindu way. Since the lectures, writings and hymns developed by him drew inspiration from the Indian spiritual traditions and the broader outlook of his Guru Ramakrishna Paramahamsar, they were the sources of inspiration for numerous youth organizations that took part in the freedom struggle and motivated them to do service projects for the welfare of the society.  Hence, National Youth Day is aptly summarized as the birthday of Swami Vivekananda.

vivekananda birthday

Activities on National Youth Day

There would be an array of activities at schools, colleges and offices where one can find the youth representations. The day is marked by the organization of processions, music festivals, youth conventions, seminars, presentations, and competitions in essay-writing and recitations. On this occasion, different people participate in several activities as mentioned above across the country and the world to promote youths in the fields of education, culture, art so that moral values can be imparted to them for the enlightenment of their inner soul. In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Mission Bharatiyam organizes a two-day grant event for the youths of the state. More than a dozen activities are organized every year by the organization for all age groups. Hence, it is aptly named as "Basti Yuvo Maholsav". A large number of government and non-government organizations and corporate groups also celebrate in their own way to mark this momentous occasion.

youth camp

Contributions of Swami Vivekananda

As a fine young man, Swami Vivekananda gave one of the finest lectures on the dais of the Congress of World Religions held in the year 1903. His lectures touched on various aspects of the society in a way that nobody has ever done before to showcase the co-existence of divinity and karma. He quoted the annals of the history in Hinduism to prove his point in the most logical way. His concept of Advaitha, the universality of religions and the showcasing of Buddhism as the fine fulfillment of Hinduism create ripples in the minds of intellectuals across the world. He soon became the Hero of Youths in America. He was invited to deliver lectures on religion and his perception on the various tenets of Hindu religious practices. Before him, Indians used to be looked down as idiotic people who could easily be dominated by Westerners. This explains why India came under the occupation of different foreign forces in the past. His clear thoughts gave the sufficient indications that the English educated youths of the country were able to put their thoughts and views coherently for the common good.

vivekananda contribution

Monday, 6 July 2015

Significance of International Kissing Day

The International Kissing Day is celebrated on July 6 every year. Initially, it used to be observed in the United Kingdom. Since its widespread celebration across the globe, it is also called as National Kissing Day or simply a Kissing Day in some countries as well. This day is constituted to appreciate a kiss on its own right. It is customary to give kisses on various social occasions since the dawn of civilizations on our planet. No conventions or social norms associated with this expression of love and affection between individuals. This is the reason why the coiners of this day have decided to highlight the social relevance of this act, which is mostly done in the privacy of the homes.

international kissing day

Act of Kissing

The concept of kissing is followed everywhere on this planet. It is present in the minds of people from the time immemorial. We can find the instances of expression of love through kiss between the individuals in various works from different parts of the world. In the western countries, it is expressed more publicly during the course of normal dealings with the people, irrespective of caste, religious affiliation and sex. In the eastern countries, this expression of love is limited due to the conservative nature of the society.  Irrespective of small differences and the prevalence, it can be seen in different forms in the society. Therefore, it has many meanings. Thus we have first, formal, goodbye and passionate kisses.

kissing act

Observance of Kissing Day

This day is observed to make people appreciate a kiss in its own right. Across the globe, we plant the kiss on the cheek of an individual after embracing him tightly. As part of this day, the competitions are held to record the longest kiss. It was started in the Year 2005.  The first edition of this competition recorded the longest kiss at 31 hours and 30 minutes. Later this record was broken by Nikola Matovic and Kristina Reinhart during a similar competition on the eve of Valentine’s Day in 2009.  The duo had set a new record of just over 32 hours. Are you excited about these competitions? If yes, you can get some kissing tips from a friend before jumping into the fray. Or else, you can delve into the art of kiss and love making by glancing through the kissing guides that proclaim the affectionate kiss of a world’s greatest kisser.

kissing day

Kissing Competitions

With the successful holding of kissing competitions on the sidelines of the International Kissing Day in the year 2005 and 2009, many couples came forward with the desire of breaking the existing record. On February 13, 2011, a Thai couple – Ekkachai and Laksana Tirannarat – locked their lips for a record period of time spanning as many as 46 hours and 24 minutes.  In a similar event in 2012, another Thai couple – Nonthawat Charoenkaesornsin and Thanakorn Sitthiamthong - kissed their way to the title in Pattaya, Thailand.  Not wanting to lag behind, the previous record holding couple Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranarat again locked their lips to walk back to the glory of longest kiss in February 2013. The couple locked their lips for a record period of 58 hours 35 minutes and 58 seconds!!

kissing competitions

Thursday, 18 June 2015

World Ethnic Day Celebrations in India


Come this Friday, the World is going to celebrate the roots from where people have come. The whole world is a great place where one gets to see a lot many cultures, vibrancy of colours and the ways of life. This is the reason why the United Nations (UN) has dedicated a day for reminding the mankind of its roots and culture. The world body has chosen June 19 for this day of remembrance to be celebrated every year. It is through this day the social workers and NGOs want to teach the world what each culture and ethnicity stands for. Let us come together to celebrate the diversity of culture and know what it represents in real life.

world ethnic day

How can We Lag Behind?

The corporate world from our country is going to make it a big event this time. The companies such as, have already thought out a program for the day in the business capital of the country. For instance, has decided to distribute 10 lakh bindis to ladies of all age group. This is a nice gesture on the eve of this day. The bindis play an indispensable role in the minds of all ladies who are either married or younger in age. In our country, only widows don’t wear the bindi after the death of their spouses. Wearing bindis symbolizes the value of marriage in the society and how it is looked upon by people. The company is planning to deploy 50-100 people in metro cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and New Delhi to distribute the kits containing bindis to youngsters who are on the move on Friday. The co-founder of the company Monica Gupta wants to spread the awareness of Indian culture and heritage to people in these metropolitan cities. In order to further reach the masses with the right message, the company has roped in the services of noted and gorgeous actress Vidhya Balan who often seen sporting traditional ethnic sarees and bindis.

bindis and sarees

World Ethnic Day

This day envisages a world where different civilizations are held together by the threads of culture and heritage. This tall order can become a reality only when each civilization tries to complement the other. In this world, people would give respect to heritage, anthropology, art and culture, and civilization. Our government is trying to make use of this day to further popularize the handloom products of the cloth and garment industry. By focusing on this dying art, the government is trying to revive the lives of people who work in the Handloom clothes industry. The art of embroidery is another dying art that needs to be brought back to the days of reckoning. Associating these hand-based works with this beautiful day would ultimately restore the golden days to their artisans.

handloom cloths

Monday, 15 June 2015

International Yoga Day


It is a day of reckoning for the Indian-origin breath exercise Yoga. After a careful deliberation, the Indian government could convince the international body United Nation to celebrate the beautiful yogic exercise to establish a state of sound health in people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) definition, the state of sound health can be achieved only when there is a constructive balance between body and mind. The premises of yoga begin from there. Through a series of breathing and physical exercise, it brings a harmony between the mind and the body.  It does not matter whether a yogi is from a different faith or not. What matters is how these exercises are done by that person.

international yoga day

Growing Popularity

Ever since the beginning of 1980s, people from India have taken the principles of yoga to different countries and demonstrated to people living there. Over a period of 30+ years, there has been a steady growth in the number of people who practice yoga at home and workplace. Many masters of this primordial exercise have customized the principles of yoga to meet the requirements of people in different countries. While transforming the basic tenets of yoga exercise to meet the needs of the customers, these masters have kept the cultural sensitivities in mind. These masters have been hugely responsible for the growing popularity of this exercise that aims to restore the healthy balance between body and mind. Other countries of the world have slowly begun to acknowledge the positive effects of body-mind exercise.  Even the most conservative countries from the Gulf region have begun to embrace the body-mind exercise to reap its health benefits. This is especially true of countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia.

yoga exercise

Designation of International Yoga Day

Immediately after coming to power, the Indian government under the leadership of Narendra Modi took steps to elicit the views of other countries about Yoga. Over a period of 3 months, the government took the feedback about the popularity of this ancient exercise. Armed with the huge volume of data, Narendra Modi addressed the United Nations General Assembly and requested the world countries to support the Indian government’s initiative to spread the message of yoga as an exercise to more countries. He told that the 6000+ year old Indian body-mind exercise can be used as a holistic medicine in a stricter sense. He showed the member countries the statistics of the positive change this exercise brings in the lives of people after adopting it. The member countries hurdled over it and gave their nod for designating a day for Yoga internationally. Henceforth, the world body ratified an agreement to designate June 21 as the International Yoga Day in December 2014.

origin yoga day

First International Yoga Day

On June 21, 2015, India would join the growing number of world countries to take an oath to further the cause of yoga for establishing a world order where health issues get plummeted.  On that day, the Government of India would unravel a website dedicated to the cause of yoga. It would be maintained by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. On this day, various yoga instructors world over would conduct classes, seminars and practical sessions for the benefit of general public. This would be done free of cost so that people get a glimpse of what the yoga is.  In India, there would be a large yoga exercise planned to such a grand scale that people from all walks of life can drop in and participate in it. The followers of Ram Dev are planning a big even with the aim of making into the record books for conducting biggest yoga events. Other spiritual gurus are also planning to do the same in our country.

first yoga day

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Has Celebration of World Environment Day Changed Our Mindset?


Since 1972, we have been celebrating World Environment Day. From local bodies to the highest decision-making level, our fellow citizens indulge in campaigning with a great voice that the resources are limited and we should not over use them. Have these persistent campaigns percolated to the ground?  Can we see the discernible change in the mindset of people? These are the vital questions we need to address if we have to preserve something for the future generations. The fact of the matter is that things have not changed much on the ground with environment disintegration happening everywhere.

world environment day

World Environment Day

As before, we had celebrated the World Environment Day with great pomp and gaiety on June 5, 2015. On that day, we had campaigned hard for maintaining order and utilizing the resources with great care. Many celebrities, including popular actors, came with their precious views on environment preservation. Every lakhs of rupees have been spent on the topic of looking after the environment. This year the theme is “Seven Million Dreams, One Planet, Consume with Care”. No doubt, the theme is well conceived and relevant in the present world where the over-exploitation is the order of the day in the name of cut-throat competition.

go green campaign

Response to World Environment Day

Some of the government departments such as Gurkha division of Indian Army went out of its barracks to clean the environment. In response to the Clean India campaign, the pet project of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, many people came out started cleaning the environment around them. When people saw the celebrities and functionaries on the street with a broom, they started coming out in large numbers. But the enthusiasm died down when the media glare was turned off. Many competitions were conducted for the benefit of children to let them know the importance of keeping the environment clean and intact.  Radio campaigns were aired with the slogans on environment preservation to target the distant villages that don’t have television sets.

people response

Reality Check

Despite the campaigns and sloganeering, nothing on the ground has changed. The forest cover is slowly diminishing due to the felling of trees. The only thing is that afforestation has picked up and people have become aware of the need of trees in cooling the environment. It has to pick up at the massive scale to offset the felling of trees, which is quite rampant in many parts of the country. The authorities have been turning a blind eye towards these destructive trends. As a result of this, the soil erosion and landslides have occurred in many parts of the country.  These environment indicators show that things are not in good shape. Unless things are done at a war-footing rate, the days are not that far off when desertification of land becomes quite fast. So, we need to pull up our sleeves and start doing whatever we can to save the environment from those people who want to exploit it in the name of commercialization.

reality check

Why Do We Celebrate World Blood Donor Day?

Blood is the lifeline for various organs in the body. Normally, it is enclosed in a network of vessels that supply water to different cells in the body. That is the reason the blood loss becomes detrimental to the life in our body. If the adequate quantity of blood is given to the person under distress, his life can be saved. This is the reason why the World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to celebrate the awareness on blood donation every year. To this end, it was decided in 2004 that June 14 would be celebrated as the World Blood Donor Day on global basis. Every year WHO comes with a new theme for the campaign.

world blood donor day

Medical Need for Safe Blood

In many countries, there is not an adequate supply of reliable blood and blood products to bring people come back into life.  Availability of genuine blood products for transfusion helps in reducing the mortality and disability while undergoing risky procedures. The blood from donors helps the patients in a number of situations. They are enumerated below.

safe blood

  •  Replacement: Some people unfortunately develop life-threatening conditions in some medical situations. For instance, people suffering from leukemia, sickle cell anaemia, etc. require regular blood transfusion to sustain life in their body. They need to be given safe blood until a permanent correction procedure is done on them.
  • Support: While doing the complex medical and surgical procedures, the blood needs to be given as the body needs some time to recoup its resources to make fresh blood.
  • Maternal and Perinatal Care: The women passing through pregnancy some time require the blood to replenish the blood loss. It is even needed when they pass through risky delivery.

Need for Raising Awareness

Though many people principally agree to donate the blood, they don’t finally end up doing that due to some misconceptions they have. They are under the impression that the blood they donate will not be replaced and they might end up in a soup. Unless there is a steady stream of genuine donors, there is no guarantee that safe blood and transfusion products can be obtained from reliable sources. Hence, the people have to be educated about the need for the blood donation to bring back life in people whose blood has been lost or contaminated due to one reason or the other. Moreover, people need to be told that they should voluntarily agree donate the blood without expecting any compensation. Only through this approach can we increase the number of blood donors to meet the huge demand.

blood donation awareness

Campaign through World Blood Donation Day

The need for the inculcation of a noble thought in the minds of people to go for voluntary donation of blood has been found globally. In order to teach the people the nobility of blood donation, the WHO has been running a global campaign with the help of local government and non-government organizations. The world body in healthcare has roped in reputed hospitals, doctors, paramedical staff, social workers and other stakeholders to conduct classes and roadside campaigns through flex boards and other marketing collaterals. It has to be done regularly every year. Hence, it has identified June 14 every year as the world campaign day to boost safe blood donation. WHO has set for itself an ambitious target of arranging enough blood donors for various medical needs in all its member countries by the year 2020. According to the world healthcare body study in 2014, about 60 member countries have been able to arrange 99-100% voluntary and unpaid blood donations. The same study has also pointed out that the population in 73 member countries still depends upon the blood donations from immediate family members and friends.

donation campaign

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Relevance of World Ocean Day

People have celebrated or just come to know about the World Oceans Day on June 8, 2015. This day is celebrated worldwide to remind the mankind of keeping the surroundings clean and healthy. This celebration is more significant than any time before. With the advent of industrialization, the water bodies around the industrialization have become polluted due to the release of the sludge and other industrial wastes into them. The contaminated water then proceeds to the sea and affects the marine ecosystem there.  This is the reason why the ocean systems are slowly changing for worse with the progress of time. The eatables from the sea are slowly getting confined to certain regions due to the rampant pollution of sea shores and deltas from industrial wastes.

world oceans day

Receding Marine Ecosystems in Sea

If we visit a nearby beach, we would come across the wastes that have been dumped there. People take the shelter of darkness and come to dump the domestic wastes in the sea. Some wastes go into the sea and some others are pushed back to the shores by the lashing waves. This is how the wastes lie littered on the sea shore. I have just shown a classical example for the reader. Even people coming for a visit to the beach leave behind the plastic wastes on the sea shore. Some may end up finally in the sea. All these wastes would be affecting the flora and fauna living in the marine ecosystem nearer to the shore. This is the reason why the ecosystem in the sea near the shore is thinly or scarcely populated. In earlier times, people do not have to go into the deep sea to catch fish and other marine animals. Now-a-days, the fishermen have to invariably travel deep into the sea to catch the significant varieties of fishes and other waterborne living beings dwelling there. If the living beings move away from the sea shore, it is a good indicator that the coastal waters are getting heavily polluted due to the dumping of wastes by people.

marine ecosystem

Studies on Marine Ecosystems

The receding ecosystems in the sea have already started ringing alarm bells in the minds of the conservationists. They have studied in detail the effects of wastes on marine ecosystems. After the studies, they have come to the conclusion that the coastal waters have become inhospitable for the living beings. They have even found that people swim in shallow waters develop allergic reactions on their skin due to water contamination. The dissolved pollutants in sea water might even travel inside the body through the nose and mouth causing other allergic reactions inside the body.

marine ecosystem

World Oceans Day

Against this dim scenario, the United Nations has decided to celebrate a day every year as World Oceans Day. After consulting with the member nations, it was decided to celebrate June 8 as World Ocean Day every year. On this day, people conduct classes and workshops to let the general public know about the need of keeping the coastal waters and sea shore clean for better tomorrow. The educational institutions world over on this day move out in the public domain and do the campaigning using flex boards, fliers to appraise the general public of the impending danger of starvation to death if things are not controlled and issues regarding the contamination of the sea are not resolved. Even the local governing bodies across the world join hands with people doing the campaign to raise the awareness of keeping the coastal waters clean and pristine for better tomorrow. With the help of UN body and the local NGOs, the classes are conducted for people living in coastal areas. These classes are taken by the research professionals drawn from reputed government institutions. They give out the results through the discussions and tell people to remain careful while dealing with the sea.