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A religious festival is a time of special importance marked by adherents to that religion. Religious festivals are commonly celebrated on recurring cycles in a calendar year. A large number of festivals being celebrated in India have a religious outlook. These festivals are being celebrated in commemoration of some saints, gurus and prophets, the gods and goddesses or events celebrating their victories. Religious ceremonies, enthusiasm paralleled with ample fun and celebration marks the Indian festivals. Festivals of India play a major role in spreading unity in diversity, with emphasis on communal harmony. Some famous religious festivals mark the advent of the seasons and some mark the celebration of cultural events. Famous festivals in India are joyously celebrated all over the country. During any festive season, the whole of India brightens up and there is lot of excitement in the air. If you drop in during any of the festival time, watching or taking part in the festivities, can be an interesting experience. There is a big list of the religious festivals that are celebrated in India. Social significance: The society has given an important place to religious festivals. They are of integrative value. They also have significance for socialization purposes (1) Adjustment between Man, Nature and Society: It is pointed out by O'Dea that in the annual social circle of life, there occurs 'the patterned alternation of sacred and profane periods, of periods of celebration and periods of work'. It is evident from the festivals of Basant Panchami, Shivaratri and Hooli as well as Sanjhi, Karwa Chauth, Deepawali and Govardhan Puja that our religious festivals mostly fall in the periods of transition alternating between well-set seasons-Rains, Winter and Summer. The months of Agahan and Paush do not have any festivals. (2) Emotional Social Security of the Individual: Certain festivals like Karwa Chauth intended to provide emotional social security to the individual. Karwa Chauth is intended to provide salvation against the evil of the social curse of widowhood. Festivals seeking to attain emotional-social security tend to acquire a Magical undertone. The festivals that fall in this category are related to fertility cult, agricultural and otherwise prosperity, longevity of husband, brother and son, and annual collective propitiation of Gods or Goddesses to ward off the evils of misfortunes and diseases like smallpox and cholera. (3) Identity, Solidarity, Differentiation and Conflict: Socially, religious festivals are also related to group identity and solidarity and to intra-and-inter- group differentiation and conflict. It tends to lend identity and solidarity to different types of groups as under: (i) A panth religious brotherhood, (ii) A caste, (iii) A spatial group village/region nation, and (iv) An ethnic group for example, the Paris. Moharram lands identity to the Muslim the gadi Panchami to the followers of Shivanaraini Panth. Karwa Chauth and Sanjhi are-regional festivals. In the same way, Dala Chhatha a festival of the Bhojpuri region is characterized by the following: (i) The Rituals ensuring fecundity of a woman, (ii) Fulfilment of longing for a male offspring and (iii) Longevity of the son's life. Celebration of Moharram is also linked to the panthie differentiation between the Shia and the Sunni. It often leads to a conflict between them. When celebration of Moharram and Holi or Dushahara coincide, a fear of Hindu- Muslim tension, leading to violent conflict. However, celebration of Ravidas jayanti has not united endogamous groups of its followers into a socially solid group. (4) Social Stratification: In our country, there exists a close linkage between the celebration of a religious festival and social stratification. Social stratification in India consists largely of hierarchically arranged castes. Due to the growing impact of urban-industrialism, the traditional synchronization between Caste and occupation is fast changing. Yet in the rural situation, it continues though in a fragile form. (5) Ritual Art: Ritual art relates to the expressive aspect of Religion in society. It is evident from the description of Sanjhi and Karwa Chauth that art finds a crucial place in the celebration of a religious festival. It may be found associated with various forms of art - drawing, painting, modeling, sculpturing and decoration, floral and otherwise. Karwa is characterized by the art of drawing and painting and Sanjhi by that of clay-modelling. In Brij Mandal, at Mathura, floral decoration enters into the arrangement of Sanjhi. Here, Sanjhi is the symbol of Radha and Krishna. In the month of Shravan (August), with fresh leaves and flowers, their figures are arranged on the ground inside the temple. Artists may be of two kinds-specialists as well as non-specialists. Where Rituals are directed by a specialist and celebration of the festival is set in the stratificational structure, creation of relevant art-objects may become a job of one or more specialists. Unity in Diversity: In our country there is pluralistic society. The emotional realization of unity in diversity is our socio-cultural ethos and philosophical worldview. Like cultural traits, religious festival, too, have the tendency to diffuse. Diffusion is both vertical and horizontal. For example Shakti cult, has diffused both vertically and horizontally. In the horizontal diffusion, the process of spread, assimilation, integration and consequent modification come into operation and regional forms of a religious festival are developed. For example, the concept of Goddess emanates from the philosophically conceived all-pervading supernatural female power. But, that manifest itself in various forms - Vaishno Devi, Shakumbari, Kamakhya, Durga, Kali, Shitla etc. Each of them is regionally located. But, all are viewed as manifestations of the same power. Unity in diversity of Shaki cult expresses itself at the level of region and habitat. In Malwa, in M.P., Sanjhi is celebrated during pitripaksha, in the Western Uttar Pradesh after pitripaksha and at Mathura in the month of Shravan.
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Essay on the Social Significance of Religious Festivals in India
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Essay On The Social Significance Of Religious Festivals In India

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              A religious festival is a time of special importance marked by adherents to that religion. Religious festivals are commonly celebrated on recurring cycles in a calendar year.
             
              A large number of festivals being celebrated in India have a religious outlook. These festivals are being celebrated in commemoration of some saints, gurus and prophets, the gods and goddesses or events celebrating their victories. Religious ceremonies, enthusiasm paralleled with ample fun and celebration marks the Indian festivals.
             
              Festivals of India play a major role in spreading unity in diversity, with emphasis on communal harmony. Some famous religious festivals mark the advent of the seasons and some mark the celebration of cultural events. Famous festivals in India are joyously celebrated all over the country.
             
              During any festive season, the whole of India brightens up and there is lot of excitement in the air. If you drop in during any of the festival time, watching or taking part in the festivities, can be an interesting experience. There is a big list of the religious festivals that are celebrated in India.
             
              Social significance:
             
              The society has given an important place to religious festivals. They are of integrative value. They also have significance for socialization purposes
             
              (1) Adjustment between Man, Nature and Society:
             
              It is pointed out by O'Dea that in the annual social circle of life, there occurs 'the patterned alternation of sacred and profane periods, of periods of celebration and periods of work'. It is evident from the festivals of Basant Panchami, Shivaratri and Hooli as well as Sanjhi, Karwa Chauth, Deepawali and Govardhan Puja that our religious festivals mostly fall in the periods of transition alternating between well-set seasons-Rains, Winter and Summer. The months of Agahan and Paush do not have any festivals.
             
              (2) Emotional Social Security of the Individual:
             
              Certain festivals like Karwa Chauth intended to provide emotional social security to the individual. Karwa Chauth is intended to provide salvation against the evil of the social curse of widowhood. Festivals seeking to attain emotional-social security tend to acquire a Magical undertone.
             
              The festivals that fall in this category are related to fertility cult, agricultural and otherwise prosperity, longevity of husband, brother and son, and annual collective propitiation of Gods or Goddesses to ward off the evils of misfortunes and diseases like smallpox and cholera.
             
              (3) Identity, Solidarity, Differentiation and Conflict:
             
              Socially, religious festivals are also related to group identity and solidarity and to intra-and-inter- group differentiation and conflict. It tends to lend identity and solidarity to different types of groups as under:
             
              (i) A panth religious brotherhood,
             
              (ii) A caste,
             
              (iii) A spatial group village/region nation, and
             
              (iv) An ethnic group for example, the Paris.
             
              Moharram lands identity to the Muslim the gadi Panchami to the followers of Shivanaraini Panth. Karwa Chauth and Sanjhi are-regional festivals. In the same way, Dala Chhatha a festival of the Bhojpuri region is characterized by the following:
             
              (i) The Rituals ensuring fecundity of a woman,
             
              (ii) Fulfilment of longing for a male offspring and
             
              (iii) Longevity of the son's life.
             
              Celebration of Moharram is also linked to the panthie differentiation between the Shia and the Sunni. It often leads to a conflict between them. When celebration of Moharram and Holi or Dushahara coincide, a fear of Hindu- Muslim tension, leading to violent conflict.
             
              However, celebration of Ravidas jayanti has not united endogamous groups of its followers into a socially solid group.
             
              (4) Social Stratification:
             
              In our country, there exists a close linkage between the celebration of a religious festival and social stratification. Social stratification in India consists largely of hierarchically arranged castes.
             
              Due to the growing impact of urban-industrialism, the traditional synchronization between Caste and occupation is fast changing. Yet in the rural situation, it continues though in a fragile form.
             
              (5) Ritual Art:
             
              Ritual art relates to the expressive aspect of Religion in society. It is evident from the description of Sanjhi and Karwa Chauth that art finds a crucial place in the celebration of a religious festival. It may be found associated with various forms of art - drawing, painting, modeling, sculpturing and decoration, floral and otherwise.
             
              Karwa is characterized by the art of drawing and painting and Sanjhi by that of clay-modelling. In Brij Mandal, at Mathura, floral decoration enters into the arrangement of Sanjhi. Here, Sanjhi is the symbol of Radha and Krishna. In the month of Shravan (August), with fresh leaves and flowers, their figures are arranged on the ground inside the temple.
             
              Artists may be of two kinds-specialists as well as non-specialists. Where Rituals are directed by a specialist and celebration of the festival is set in the stratificational structure, creation of relevant art-objects may become a job of one or more specialists.
             
              Unity in Diversity:
             
              In our country there is pluralistic society. The emotional realization of unity in diversity is our socio-cultural ethos and philosophical worldview.
             
              Like cultural traits, religious festival, too, have the tendency to diffuse. Diffusion is both vertical and horizontal. For example Shakti cult, has diffused both vertically and horizontally. In the horizontal diffusion, the process of spread, assimilation, integration and consequent modification come into operation and regional forms of a religious festival are developed.
             
              For example, the concept of Goddess emanates from the philosophically conceived all-pervading supernatural female power. But, that manifest itself in various forms - Vaishno Devi, Shakumbari, Kamakhya, Durga, Kali, Shitla etc. Each of them is regionally located. But, all are viewed as manifestations of the same power.
             
              Unity in diversity of Shaki cult expresses itself at the level of region and habitat. In Malwa, in M. P. , Sanjhi is celebrated during pitripaksha, in the Western Uttar Pradesh after pitripaksha and at Mathura in the month of Shravan.
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