Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated as a mark of tribute to the Vanara (Monkey) God, Hanumana, who is respected by Hindus all over the Indian sub continent. Hanuman is venerated for his unfaltering devotion to Lord Ram, who is considered by the Hindus to be an avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu.
Hanuman is also considered to be an idol of strength and energy, and possess powers of moving with swiftness. He has been endowed with magical powers that can make him conquer the evil and establish goodwill.
Dates of Hanuman Jayanti in the next five years according to the modern day calendar:
- In 2014, the Hanuman Jayanti date is on Tuesday, April 15
- In 2015, the Hanuman Jayanti date is on Saturday, April 4
- In 2016, the Hanuman Jayanti date is on Friday, April 22
- In 2017, the Hanuman Jayanti date is on Tuesday, April 11
- In 2018, the Hanuman Jayanti date is on Saturday, March 31
Traditional “tithi” to mark the occasion:
Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated as per the Hindu calendar. Hindu calendar is a lunar based calendar. According to it, Hanuman Jayanti is observed on Chaitra Purnima — the full moon day (Purnima) in the Indian month of Chaitra. Since the day is commemorated as per the Indian calendar system, the dates keep on changing when plotted against the modern day calendar system. However, there are some regional variations in celebrating Hanuman Jayanti (as discussed later).
From the pages of Mythology:
The legend of Hanuman finds special mention in the Indian epic of Ramayana where Hanuman is portrayed as the ardent admirer of Lord Ram who also aided Lord Ram to win over Ravana, thereby establishing the victory of good over evil. Hanuman was born to Anjani and Vanara Raj (The King of Apes) Kesari. He was born due to a boon by Pavana, the God of Air, and is also believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva. His mother being a celestial lady gave boon to her child that he shall never die. Even as a child, Hanuman exhibited signs of extreme strength.
It is believed that as a child he mistook the glowing sun as a ripe mango and made his way to eat it. This was also the time when Rahu was going towards the sun to swallow it and cause the scheduled eclipse. Hanuman thrashed Rahu, who then ran to complain to Indra, the King of Gods. Angered by this, Indra struck Hanuman with his weapon Vajra (thunderbolt). This enraged Pavana, Hanuman’s godfather, who carried baby Hanuman to Patala (netherworld) taking away with him all the air thereby endangering life on earth. In order to appease Pavana and bring him back the Gods bestowed Hanuman with a lot of boons that made Hanuman invincible along with being immortal.
When it was time for his education, Hanuman selected the Sun God to be his mentor. The Sun God agreed to teach Hanuman the scriptures if he could constantly move along with his guru traversing the length and breadth of the sky. Hanuman agreed to do so, and with his immense intellect and concentration he learnt all the scriptures in sixty hours.
Hanuman came in contact with Ram while he was in exile with his brother Lakshman and in the phase when his wife, Sita, was abducted by the evil King of Lanka, Ravana. It was with the aid of Hanuman that Ram was able to rescue Sita and restore good over evil.
Hanuman also finds mention in the Indian epic of Mahabharata. Hanuman recognized the second Pandava Prince, Bhima, to be his brother for both of them were born by the boon of Pavana. Hanuman as such promised to aid the Pandavas in the Battle of Kurukshetra against the Kauravas. He as such positioned himself on the flag of Arjuna’s war vehicle (Ratha) so as to make it secure and stable. Hanuman is represented by a triangular saffron flag which can be seen on any Hanuman Temple – this stands for stability, control, equilibrium and victory.
Type of Holiday in India:
Hanuman Jayanti is not a gazetted or national holiday in India. However, people all across the various cities of the country who observe the occurrence have the option of taking a Restricted Holiday on this day to mark the occasion. Government and private offices remain open on this day though. Also, local businesses, banks and transportation systems in the cities operate in full swing. However, certain institutions may opt to remain closed on this day.
Observances to mark the occasion and Regional Variations:
On this day, devotees flock to the Hanuman temples to offer their prayers and respects. Red hibiscus flowers are offered to the God. Many people make an offering made of jaggery and rice flour. It is considered auspicious to chant the Hanuman Chalisa for one hundred and eight times on this day. It is also thought that reciting the names of Lord Ram would also help to appease Hanuman, for he has unflinching devotion towards Lord Ram. Spiritual programs start in the Hanuman temples before dawn on this day, for it is believed that Hanuman was born at sunrise. At sunrise, special prayers are held to mark the occasion, after which Prasad is distributed among the devotees.
Although Hanuman Jayanti is generally celebrated on Chaitra Purnima — the full moon day (Purnima) in the Indian month of Chaitra, in some regions it is also celebrated on the fourteenth day (Chaturdashi) of the Indian month of Ashwin in the dark fortnight phase of the month (Krishna Paksha). In certain parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, this day is commemorated on Margashirsha Amavasya, which is the new moon day (Amavasya) of the Indian month of Margashirsha. In those parts, Hanuman is believed to have been born on Moola Nakshatra on Margashirsha Amavasya. In the state of Odisha, the celebration for the occasion takes place on the first day of the Indian month of Baisakh as per the Oriya almanac. This day is also celebrated as the Oriya New Year Day. In the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on the Dashami (tenth day) of the Indian month of Baishakh/ Vaisakh in the Krishna Paksha (the dark fortnight phase of the moon).
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