Hindu festivals

Before you look at dates of Hindu festivals, please read a little summary of the complex and difficult-to-understand calendar systems used in India. These systems follow the position of the Moon (like the one used for calculation of Christian Easter). If you want to see the important dates of Hindu festivals immediately without reading this introduction, click here.

This is a very good website - you will find here also festivals for years in the past (years such as 1920, etc.) and in the future.

Festivals in India occur every year and often on different dates. Of the most common calendar systems in India we may mention the Vikrama system, which is used in western and northern India, in Nepal, too; and the Saka calendar (also called Shalivahana), which is used in southern India and in some parts of south Asia. The year 2002 in the Gregorian calendar corresponds to the year 2060 in the Vikrama system and to the year 1925 in the Saka system. However, there are many variants (Bengali calendar, for example) of calendars. These discrepancies gave birth to ONE united Hindu calendar - a variant of the Saka calendar was modified and established as the Indian National Calendar in 1957.

The Bengali Calendar (introduced in 1584) is widely used in eastern India. The Bengali year corresponding to the year 2010 is 1417. The Bengali year is always 593 years behind the Gregorian Calendar. Telugu Calendar, for example, consists of a sixty year cycle and starts the new year on ugadi - i.e., on Chaitra Sudhdha Paadyami. After the completion of sixty years, the calendar starts anew with the first year. (Ugadi, also known as Yugadi, is the Telugu and Kannada New Year. Ugadi 2010 date is March 16. Ugadi or Yugadi means the beginning of an era.).

The term "Panchangam" (astrological calendar) means five attributes, which are: Tithi, Vaar, Nakshatra, Yoga, and Karana. Panchangam is a Hindu astrological calendar. The above attributes have their nature: tithi (lunar day, for example, Pratipat, Dvitiya, etc.); nakshatra (lunar mansion - the ecliptic is divided into 27 nakshatras); karana (half of tithi); yoga (a special calculation when the longitude of the sun and of the moon is normalized to a value ranging from 0° to 360° and divided into 27 parts); vaasara, often abbreviated as vaara - a day of the week (1. Ravi vasara - Sunday [Ravi = SUN]; 2. Soma vasara - Monday [Soma = MOON]; 3. Mangala vasara - Tuesday [Mangala = MARS]; 4. Budha vasara - Wednesday [Budh = MERCURY]; 5. Guru vasara - Thursday [vrihaspati/guru = JUPITER]; 6. Shukra vasara - Friday [Shukra = VENUS]; 7. Shani vasara - Saturday [Shani = SATURN].

The lunar days or "tithis" are calculated according to the angle between the sun and the moon and are divided into two halves:

1 Pratipat
2 Dvitiya
3 Tritiya
4 Chaturthi
5 Panchami
6 Shashti
7 Saptami
8 Ashtami
9 Navami
10 Dasami
11 Ekadasi
12 Dvadasi
13 Trayodasi
14 Chaturdasi
15 Amavasya or Purnima (it depends on the calendar system whether Dark Moon or Full Moon is accepted as the end of the month)

The Hindu zodiac is similar to our (Western) one - Matsya (fish), for example, corresponds to Pisces.

Various differences in lunisolar calendars ensue from different opinions/customs used to specify the time when a month ends - it is either Full Moon (purnimanta) or Dark Moon (amanta). Thus, the month can start/end at different times in two calendar systems.

The following dates of months are based on the Indian National Calendar (Saka), which is the united (and standardized) calendar system introduced from the year 1957 with purpose to suppress various confusing regional discrepancies:

Month        Length                 Starting date (the Gregorian Calendar)
1 Chaitra          30/31                         March 22
2 Vaishakh       31                              April 21
3 Jyaistha         31                              May 22
4 Asadha          31                              June 22
5 Sravana         31                              July 23
6 Bhadra          31                               August 23
7 Asvina           30                               September 23
8 Kartika          30                               October 23
9 Margashirsh  30                              November 22
10 Pausa          30                              December 22
11 Magha         30                              January 21
12 Phalgun       30                              February 20

Hindu Festivals in 2013

The dates of the festival are also available here.

The following dates do not follow the American writing style for dates, but the DD:MM:YY format (Day:Month:Year). The dates in red color imply that they never change.


Lohri is the Indian festival of harvest (thanksgiving).

Thaipusam, celebrated mostly by Tamils (Full Moon) in the Tamil month of Thai, is the festival for celebration of Lord Murugan's birthday.


Vasant Panchami is a celebration of Wisdom Goddess Saraswati (Her Birthday). Yellow color is given a special importance on Vasant Panchami.


Maha Shivaratri or Shivaratri is a Hindu festival for celebration of Lord Shiva; devotees spend this night in vigilance (ratri = night) and offer Bilva leaves to Lord Shiva.

Holi is a festival of colors.


Ram Navami is a festival for celebration of Lord Rama's birthday.

Bengali New Year.

Hanuman Jayanti is the day when Lord Hanuman's birthday is celebrated.


Buddha Purnima / Vaisakhi Purnima. Buddha Purnima during Vaishakha month is celebrated as birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha.


Ganga Dashami/Dussehra is the festival for Goddess Ganga.


Guru Purnima is the day when the birth of Vyasa (author of the Mahabharata) is celebrated.

Rath Yatra is a celebration of Lord Jagannath - in the Vaishnava community Lord Jagannath is a very merciful form of Lord Krishna.


Indian Independence Day (this date never changes) that has been celebrated from the year 1947.

Raksha-Bandhan is a festival during which relationships between brothers and sisters are celebrated.

Krishna Janmashtami is a festival when devotees have the birth of Lord Krishna in memory.


Ganesh/Vinayak Chaturthi festival is especially dedicated to Lord Ganesh; it takes 10 or 11 days and at the end of it people immerse hand-made statues of Lord Ganesh into the sea (or water). They do this because water is the symbol of Woman (Mother). The other reason for doing this is to indicate that all forms change, but the Supreme Truth will always remain the same.

Onam is a festival taking only place in the Indian state of Kerala; it is celebrated in memory of the great King Mahabali to whom Lord Vishnu (in His Vamana incarnation) appeared and later sent him to nether worlds. King Mahabali received Vishnu's approval to visit his land (Kerala) every year and during this festival it is believed that King Mahabali is with his people. The King is one of the Chiranjeevins (the immortals in Hinduism). When the festival ends, King goes back to his underworld home (Patala).


Gandhi Jayanti is the national holiday in memory of Mahatma Gandhi.

Navaratri starts. Navaratri is a Hindu festival of worship and dance focused especially on nine nights (nav = nine; ratri = night) in worship of Goddess Durga. On this day Navaratri begins.

09-10-2013 (9th - 13th October 2013)
Durga puja begins.


Diwali or Deepawali is an Indian and Nepalese festival of lights; it signifies victory of the Celestial Energy over the evil one. In some customs this is also the Kali's day (Kali Puja).

Chhat Puja is a festival for Sun God.

Guru Nanak Jayanti, the founder of the Sikh faith, was born in the month of Kartik (October/November), and his birthday is known as Guru Nanak Jayanti, which is an important festival for the Sikh community in India.


Gita Jayanti is the symbolic date in commemoration of the day when Bhagavadgita was born.


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