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6 peculiar festivalas and rituals celebrated in india

India is a country of incredible cultural diversity. There are so many different colourful festivals and rituals which we find  unusual from our perspective. In this post below there is a description of six interesting, controversial and peculiar festivals and rituals in India, most of which are celebrated only in certain states or parts of the Indian subcontinent.

One of India's strange and interesting festivals is the third-sex festival called

1.The Koothandavar Festival, which is held annually at the turn of April and May  in Ulundurpettai taluk, Tamil Nadu. The festival lasts 18 days and is visited by  crowds of transgender and transvestite people from India and other countries around the world. This year, the festival was canceled due to a corona-virus pandemic.

The first 16 days are spent celebrating, dancing, organizing beauty contests, games and seminars on HIV led by NGOs.
The Koovagam festival is particularly important for members of the transgender community who worship Koovagama - the central deity in the temple that day. According to the legend of Aravan - the son of the god Arjuna agrees to be sacrificed to the Goddess Kali to win the war between the Pandavas and Kauravas, provided he is married before his death; because no one wanted to marry the man who was to be killed, Krishna took the form of a Mohini woman and married Aravana. The next day, Aravan is sacrificed to the goddess Kali.
On the penultimate day of the festival, temple priests attach thalis (wedding threads) to transgender necks, thus marking their marriage to Aravan, they become Aravan's fiancées. On the last day, when Aravan is beheaded by Kali, the participants play the role of widows, mourning the death of her husband and taking off thalis and other marriage decorations.

Film from the festival on U tube:

2. Kill or die - Bani Festival, Andhra Pradesh
Bani festival celebrated at the Devaragattu Temple in the Andhra Pradesh district. Devotees from Andhra and Karnataka gather in this temple to hit one another's heads at midnight wielding long sticks (lathi)!  People continue their festivities until dawn to commemorate the killing of the demon by Mal-Malleshwar (Shiva). According to the priest, this festival has been celebrated for over 100 years, and instead of sticks, axes and spears had been used before! Every year a certain number of participants get hurt. The festival is attended by doctors and policemen, who for the most part remain the spectators of this mad performance perceived by the participants as a "victory parade"

3.Snake Festival - Nag Panchami

India has an ancient bond with snakes, due to the fact that snakes played a significant role in Indian mythology and folklore. Snake in mythology served the gods and demons as it whipped the ocean in search of a drink of immortality. Besides, Shiva is depicted with snake around his neck. Being a Yogi, Lord Shiva stayed in Jungles and Himalayas, and hence snakes are an integral part of Lord Shiva’s Aura. Other Deities in Hindu Mythology are also associated with Snakes like Lord Brahma created Sheshnag (King of Serpents) and rests on his coil.The serpent also saved the Buddha and Parsha - a Jinn teacher. India is still known as the Land of Snake Charmers. At the turn of the month July / August, the Nag Panchami festival is celebrated all over India and especially in Bengali and Maharastra. Live cobras are worshiped, without venomous fangs! Priests sprinkle them with turmeric and flower petals. Devotees feed them with milk and even rats. It is generally believed that snakes do not bite during Nag Panchami. Hindus believe that the snake is to protect people from misfortune, and drinking milk by them is considered auspicious fortune-telling.

4. Walking on fire - Theemithi, Tamil Nadu

Theemithi practice of Tamil Nadu has also spread to Sri Lanka, Singapore and South Africa. Theemithi is part of a larger ceremony which lasts two and a half months, during which scenes from the book of Hinduism - Mahabharata are enacted by the devotees and drama troupes, a total of 18 distinctive rites. Theemithi is a festival of the goddess Draupadi. After the Battle of Kuruksetra, Draupadi crossed the fire pit and emerged like a flower. Theemithi is a repetition of the same ritual that is to bring good luck and the blessing of the goddess.

5. The ritual of trampling by cows

As you probably know cows are sacred animals for Hindus. The ritual is celebrated in the village of Bhivdawad in Maharashtra. The Govardhan festival is celebrated on the occasion of Enadakshi, the day after Diwali (a very important festival of lights). The villagers decorate their cattle with flowers, paints and henna and lie on the ground, letting the cows trample on them! This ritual takes place after a five-day fast. Fathers from all over the village are witnessing this spectacle, which they believe will encourage gods to answer their prayers.

6. Fire Combats - Agni Keli, Mangalore

Every year in April, the Kateel Durga Parameswari Temple Festival is celebrated for 8 days.There are many thematic performances at that time. Durga is the goddess of war, and is often pictured riding a lion or tiger, bearing weapons in her many arms as she fights demons. Followers believe that Durga is appeased by wild and adventurous rituals such as the festival of Agni Keli. Agni Keli's centuries-old tradition is the most intriguing. Hundreds of nude participants fling flaming branches straight at one another.

Agni Keli festival in the U tube film:


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