FESTIVALS OF KARNATAKA

Makar Sankranti (January): Sankranti as a harvest festival is celebrated joyously. Men, women and children attired in colourful tunics visit friends and relatives and exchange price of sugarcane, a mixture of fried till, molasses, pieces of dry cocoanut, peanuts and fried gram. The significance of this exchange is that sweetness should prevail in all our dealings. As a part of the festival, cows and bulls are given a wash and the horns are painted with bright colours and decorated with garlands, and are taken in a processions in the villages to the accompaniment of pipes and drums. In the nights a bonfire is lit and the animals are made to jumps over the fire.

Ugadi (March/April): This is the New Year's Day and is celebrated with gay abandon.

Karaga (April): This spectacular festival, associated with Draupadi, consort of Pandavas, is held in Bangalore. There is a moonlight procession of the incarnation of primordial power, with sword- brandishing devotees known as veer Kumars.

The Feast of St. Philomena (August 11): A tastefully decorated image of St. Philomena is taken out in a procession through the city of Mysore. After the procession, a service is held in the beautiful Gothic Cathedral of St. Philomena. The Roman Catholic population of Mysore celebrates this day with a great fervor.

Dussehra (September/October): It is celebrated as a Nada Hobby (national festival). In Mysore city, Dussehra is the most important festival of the year, and it includes numerous cultural programmes, sports meet, film festival, dance, drama and music festival, etc.

Hazrat Khwaja Bande Nawaz Chisti Urs (October/November): This is an important religious-cum- cultural celebration of Muslim in the state. Urs is held at Gulbarga in the month of Zicad, according to lunar calendar, and attracts not only devotees belonging to different communities within the state but also from the entire south. Hazarat Khwaja Bande Nawaz Chisti (1321-1422), a great Sufi saint and scholar was a disciple of Khwaja Nasir-ud-din of Delhi.

Head Anointing Ceremony at Sravanbelagola: Once every 12 years, the colossal 17-meters (57 fits) high granite statue of Gomateswara (a Jain saints), carved a thousand years ago, is anointed by several thousand Jain monks standing on a scaffolding. Gold and silver ornaments and precious stones are among the costly items poured on the statue.

According to legend, prince Gomateswara, who had redeemed his kingdom from his brother in a bitter war, realized the futility of earth power. He therefore, presented his kingdom to his brother and become an ascetic. In admiration, the grateful brother erected a towering golden statue of Gomateswara. Gold become granite for mortal eyes.



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