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TEACHERS’ DAY

Teachers have an influencing role in the life of every student. They are like beacons of light, guiding us in the formative years of our life. Teachers mould us and in the process and shape our future. What we learn from our teachers remains with us, throughout our life. However, very often, we fail to show our appreciation and gratitude for their altruistic devotion. Teachers do need encouragement and support from the community to feel that their efforts are being recognized. To serve the purpose, Teacher’s Day is celebrated throughout the world, year by year. By celebrating National Teacher’s Day, we thank our teachers for providing us their invaluable guidance.

The festival is celebrated on different dates in different countries. In India, Teacher’s Day (also called Teachers’ Appreciation Day or National Teacher’s Day) is celebrated on 5th of September, every year. The date was selected, because it is the birthday of a timeless teacher and the former President of India – Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. When some of his students and friends approached him and requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, he said, “instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege, if September 5th is observed as Teacher’s day”. From then onwards, the 5th of September has been observed as Teachers Day, in India.

Since Teacher’s Day is observed on different dates in different countries of the world, the celebrations also vary. In many countries, cultural programs are held, which may include singing competitions, dance and play performances. The students would offer flowers, greeting cards and gifts as the token of affection, to the teachers. The latest trend is to organize Teacher’s Day party. Students are keen about throwing a lavish party for their teachers, to show how much they care and respect them. The occasion can be celebrated in myriad other ways as well. Whatever the way you have chosen to amuse your teacher, it should convey your message to him/her, very convincingly.

Teacher’s Day 2010
India 5 September
China 10 September.

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Filed under: NATIONAL FESTIVALS

CHILDREN’S DAY

CHILDREN’S DAY CELEBRATIONS

 

Children’s Day is to celebrate “childhood”. On Children’s Day tribute is payed to all children in the world. Children are loved by one and all. They win over our hearts with their angelic eyes and innocent smiles. It makes one realise that maybe that’s the way God wanted us to be.

India’s first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was born on November 14. After his death in 1963, his birthday has been celebrated as children’s Day in India.Children’s Day is not just a day to let the future generation have its say. It is a day to remember a leader who, in his quiet but determined way, laid the foundation to convert a nascent nation into a world power.

But why Children’s Day? Apart from being known for his skills as a statesman, Nehru was also immensely fond of children. The more popular and famous of Nehru’s pictures show him with children.

In all the photographs Nehru’s joy at being with children is apparent. When he is not sharing pleasantries

 

with them, the expression of intense concentration as he listens to them reveals his commitment and attitude to children. Children to Nehru were little adults in the making.Nehru, to children, is never the Indian political leader and prime minister. He is always Chacha Nehru – Nehru Uncle.

Children’s Day is celebrated all over India, especially at the school level. There are also community activities with stress on children’s involvement.

The story also goes that he started to wear a rose on his jacket after a child pinned one on it.The national children’s centre, Jawahar Bal Bhavan, is also named after Jawaharlal Nehru. Children’s Day is literally that. It is the day when children all over the country are pampered with goodies. From the schoolchild’s point of view, the best thing perhaps is that it is a special day at school – they need not wear uniforms and are given sweets.

Celebrations:

Most schools have cultural programmes for the day, with the students managing it all. All over the country, various cultural, social, and even corporate, institutions conduct competitions for children. Children’s Day is a day for children to engage in fun and frolic. Schools celebrate this day by organising cultural programmes.Teachers of the school perform songs and dances for their students. Various competitions like quizzes, fancy dress competitions, elocutions are organised on this day. Children are also treated to a movie and lunch.Television networks have in the recent years started to air special programmes all day long for kids on November 14, making this day a special treat.

Children’s Day in Japan:

National Children’s Day in Japan is known as Kodomo no Hi. It is celebrtaed on May5. The family celebrates the festival with Kashiwamochi (rice cakes filled with red beans and wrapped with oak leaves) and Chimaki (rice cakes wrapped with bamboo leaves). According to the Kodansha encyclopedia, the origin of the festival was from China in 839. On May 5, Chinese people hang medical herbs from the eaves of the roof in order to repel disease. When the custom came to Japan, people used Shobu (irises) instead since irises were believed to repel evil spirits. During twelveth century, the custom was influenced by the warrior class. Since another meaning of Shobu is victory or defeat, the practice of giving little boys kites with pictures of warriors on them were spread in Japan. In the Edo period (1600-1868), streamers with pictures of carp were presented to boys. Recently, many families live in apartments not houses. They display samll carp streamers or Kabuto at their homes because of limited space.

Filed under: NATIONAL FESTIVALS

GANDHI JAYANTHI

The birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, popularly known as the ‘Father of the Nation’, is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti with reverence all over the country. He was the man who played a significant role for achieving independence for India from the British Empire, with his simplicity and strong willpower! Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as ‘Bapu’, or Gandhiji, was born on the October 2nd 1869, in Porbander, Gujarat. Gandhiji was a preacher of truth (Satyagraha) and ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence). He started the ‘Satyagraha’ movement for the Indian freedom struggle. He believed in living a simple life and in ‘Swadeshi’. He proved to the world that freedom can be achieved through the path of non-violence – a true symbol of peace and truth!

Until 1914, Gandhi led the Indians in South Africa against the apartheid of the British. His stint in India took a turn when national leader Gopal Krishna Gokhale initiated him into the Indian freedom movement. Gandhi, with his ideals of ahimsa, non-cooperation and satyagraha, soon established himself as the frontrunner in the struggle for freedom. From then onwards, till India gained independence, Gandhi gathered an entire nation behind him in his relentless quest. However, partition came as a big blow to his dreams and ideals. Five months after independence, Gandhiji was assassinated by Nathuram Godse while on his way to his daily prayer meeting. The 78-year-old ‘Father of the Nation’ had left a country that was just discovering its feet, orphaned.

On this day of Gandhi Jayanti, the President and Prime Minister, along with other eminent political leaders, pay homage at Raj Ghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi where he was cremated. Gandhi Jayanti is a national holiday and hence, all offices and schools, throughout the country, remain closed. Verses and prayers are read out from the holy books of all the religions. Gandhi’s favorite song, ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’, is invariably sung at all the meetings associated with him. Prayer meetings are held in various state capitals as well. Gandhi Jayanti is observed all over the country, both in government and non-government forums.

One of the most popular occasions in India and one of the three national holidays, Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated on 2nd October to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was also popularly known as the “Father of our Nation”, “Bapu” or simply “Mahatma”. The day is declared as a national holiday and all schools and offices are shut on this festival. Gandhi gave our nation and the world the principles of truth, non-violence and honesty which are still remembered and widely used till today. The President and Prime Minister of India, along with other eminent figures, pay their homage to the memorial of Gandhi at Raj Ghat in New Delhi. Browse through the following lines to know the significance of celebrating Gandhi Jayanti.

Gandhi Jayanti Significance

Mahatma Gandhi was born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2nd October, 1869 in Porbandar, a coastal town in Gujarat. His father, Karamchand Gandhi, belonged to the Hindu Modh community while his mother, Putlibai, came from the Hindu Pranami Vaishnava community. His mother was Karamchand’s fourth wife, the former three wives died at the time of childbirth. Gandhi attended middle school in Porbandar and high school in Rajkot. He studied law in United Kingdom and went ahead to South Africa to practice as a lawyer. However, he left his practice and returned to India due to his love for his country and to fight for the freedom of his people.

Gandhi became a keen political leader and fought for the nation. His characteristic of getting identified separately from the mass made him popular among the Indians and British as well. To express his protests against the tax on salt, he undertook the Salt March from Ahmedabad to Dandi covering a total distance of 388 kilometers. He even founded the philosophy of non-violence (ahimsa) and truth (Satyagraha). Gandhi had a heart of courage and spirit of the unafraid. He had been imprisoned on several accounts during the freedom struggle.

Despite the hurdles and difficulties, Gandhi went ahead and played a significant role in making India an independent country. He even announced a fast of 21 days for the cause of ‘Harijans’. His ‘Quit India’ slogan proved a final signal for the British dominion in India. Gandhi’s teachings and practice are invaluable for the country and are largely used in providing peaceful solutions to problems and in solving current conflicts. Gandhi’s birthday is celebrated in his remembrance by the whole nation. His high thinking, simple living and strong willpower made him a revered leader of India.

Filed under: NATIONAL FESTIVALS

INDEPENDENCE DAY

OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY
The midnight of August 15, 1947 is memorable for every Indian on earth, as it is the time, when India gained independence from the stranglehold of the mighty British. The otherwise suppressed tri-colored flag of India was given its due respect, when it was hoisted in the midnight on the Independence Day. Since then, the red-letter day is celebrated with pomp and gaiety, across the length and breadth of India. Cultural programs and flag-hoisting ceremonies are the predominant affair of the day, while colorful kites fill the sky in the evening, to symbolize freedom. People indulge themselves in remembering the heroes of the freedom struggle and pay homage to them.

In all the schools and colleges across India, no academic work is done on Independence Day, but all the students and staff members would be present in their respective educational institutions, to celebrate the day. A sort of social gathering is arranged in the educations institutions, wherein cultural programs are organized. Flag hoisting ceremony takes place within their respective premises. As the flag is hoisted by the head of the institution (mostly the principal), students sing national anthem and pay respect to their flag and to uphold the sovereignty of the country.

Students and teachers celebrate the day at their respective educational institutions, while others back home spend the day either by going for an outing or watching special programs on television. Majority of the people tune in to Doordarshan in the morning, to watch the live telecast of Prime Minister’s speech at the Red Fort in Delhi, as it is the major highlight of the Independence Day of India. Prime Minister’s speech and patriotic songs and documentaries showing excerpts from the freedom struggle are aired on the national channels, while the private television channels make it a point that their viewers are amused all through the day. Hence, they telecast cultural programs, movies related to independence, apart from the patriotic songs that regenerate the hidden patriotism in people.

Shops across India are strictly directed to keep their shutters down on Independence Day, while you can still spot the groceries and small stores opening up late in the evening. All government offices remain closed on August 15. India Gate is the center of attraction and a nice place to hang out in the evening of Independence Day, as the structure is attractively illuminated. The sky in filled with kites of various shapes and colors. As a whole, it can be said that Independence Day is a holiday much awaited by people in India, every year.

August 15, 1947, a red-letter day for the Indians, is celebrated with great fanfare and show, across the length and breadth of India. The day, which is a national holiday, is dedicated to all those brave freedom fighters who fetched India her due respect and the much desired independence from the British rule. People in the country honor them, for sacrificing their lives for the freedom of their motherland. The day is celebrated by hoisting national flag, flying kites and organizing cultural activities in educational institutions. If you want to know all about the history of Independence Day, then go through the following lines.

History of Independence Day
Before the 18th century, India’s relationship with the West had been predominantly trade-related. All this changed, when the forces of the East India Company defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Calcutta. That signaled the arrival of the British as rulers. Until the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the East India Company, with the Governor General as its head, ruled the subcontinent. After that, the Crown took over the administration, with the Viceroy served as its representative.

In the 20th century, the country witnessed the rise of many leaders such as Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Banded under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and his doctrine of non-violence, the freedom struggle moved ahead with new vigor. Milestones like the Quit India Movement, Non-Cooperation Movement, Khilafat Movement and Gandhi’s Dandi March brought the inevitable freedom closer.

At the stroke of midnight, as India moved into August 15, 1947, India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, read out the decisive speech, proclaiming India’s independence from the British Empire. The moment ended three centuries of British rule over India. The land was no longer the summer retreat of British sahibs, who sneaked into the nation to fancy spices, shikar, elephants and snake-charmers, and ultimately ended up getting a stranglehold over the nation and torturing the natives in every possible way. Independence Day remained the sole national festival until India declared itself a republic in 1950.

Independence was also the end of nearly a century of struggle for freedom, battles, betrayals and sacrifices. It also created a situation, where we were responsible for ourselves. However, it wasn’t a period of unqualified joy. For many people, in spite of a new era promised by independence, partition between India and Pakistan was a painful reality and so was the bloodshed that accompanied it. That was six decades ago.

Much has changed over the years – today the freedom struggle finds its place in history books and memoirs, and on the tombstones of valiant martyrs. Politics has undergone a personality change from fiery idealism to a pragmatic cynicism. Karma drives the nation on its way forward, and population has crossed the billion mark. Nonetheless, come August 15 and you will find the people forgetting the drudgery of everyday life for a while, and coming together to pay homage to the brave heroes of the freedom struggle and standing up for the National Anthem.

Along with the soaring cadences of the anthem, the hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow are renewed in political speeches and replays of the deeds of those, who earned us our freedom. Independence Day is an occasion to rejoice in our freedom and to pay collective homage to all those people, who sacrificed their lives to the cause. The day also marks the coming together of the states into one nation – India. This was probably our biggest diplomatic success.

August 15, the Independence Day of India, is celebrated with great gusto. It is also a national holiday, with educational institutions, private and government organizations remaining closed, but opened for official celebrations in the morning. It is a time to contemplate what we have achieved by freedom and how we achieved it. Though India had no dearth of religious and community festivals, there was, until Independence, no true national festival that the whole country could partake of. Independence Day, beginning as a day to commemorate the greatest moment in Indian history, has now come to signify a feeling of nationalism, solidarity and celebration. Read all about the celebrations of the Independence Day of India, in the following lines.

Independence Day Celebrations in India
Schools and colleges mark the celebrations of Independence Day with cultural activities, drills, flag hoisting and distribution of sweets. A number of Government as well as private organizations celebrate it in the similar manner, although most of them remain closed for the entire day. Families and friends get together for lunch or dinner, or go for an outing. Housing colonies, cultural centers, clubs and societies hold entertainment programs and competitions, usually based on the freedom theme.

The Prime Minister of India sets the mood for Independence Day, by hoisting the national flag and addressing the nation from the Red Fort, the historical monument in Delhi, in the morning of the day. This is followed by a march-past of the armed and police forces. The Prime Minister’s address and the march-past following it are relayed live on national television of India – Doordarshan. Similar ceremonies are held in all the state capitals as well. Many schools organize march-past and call upon prominent politicians of their respective constituencies, to witness the event.

In the Indian cities, one could see a sudden burst of saffron, green and white colors, which represent the Indian tri-color. The media, especially private radio channels, go to town with a variety of contests, promotions and programs related to Indian independence. Television channels show patriotic movies and relentlessly play patriotic songs from old and new movies. Billboards on roadsides for different brands pay their tribute to the nation. The sky wears a bright spectrum of colors, when beautiful kites of various shapes, sizes and color are flown in the evening of Independence Day.

Everyone seems to have something going for him or her. Shops sell a range of Independence Day merchandise such as flags, stickers, tee-shirts and greeting cards. People hawk paper and plastic flags and tri-colored balloons to motorists at traffic signals. Although the day is an amalgamation of the trifle of commercialization and jingoism, what lies beneath all the colorful celebrations is the national spirit of gaiety, pride and hope for a better future. A spirit and hope that is renewed every year by Indians, on August 15.

Filed under: NATIONAL FESTIVALS

REPUBLIC DAY

OUR REPUBLIC DAY
Republic Day is one of the three national holidays of India and the greatest festival celebrated in the country. It is celebrated every year on January 26, in New Delhi with great pomp, fanfare and pageant. While in the capitals of the States and other headquarters, it is marked with patriotic fervor. The most spectacular celebrations are marked by the Republic Day Parade that takes place in the capital of New Delhi at Rajpath. It includes march past of the three armed forces, massive parades, folk dances by tribal folk from different states in picturesque costumes marking the cultural unity of India. Further, the streak of jet planes of Indian Air Force, leaving a trial of colored smoke, marks the end of the festival.

It was the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress at midnight of December 31, 1929 – January 1, 1930, that the Tri-Color Flag was unfurled by the nationalists and a pledge was taken that on January 26 every year, “Republic Day” would be celebrated and that the people would unceasingly strive for the establishment of a Sovereign Democratic Republic India. The professed pledge was successfully redeemed on January 26, 1950, when the Constitution of India framed by the Constituent Assembly of India came into force, although the Independence from the British rule was already achieved on August 15, 1947. It is because of this fact that August 15 is celebrated as Independence Day, while January 26 as Republic Day.

The Republic Day celebrations of India have rightly become world famous as one of the greatest shows on earth drawing thousands of eager sight-seers from all over the country and many parts of the world as well. No other country can draw on such a wealth of tribal traditions and cultures, with so many regional forms of dances and dress. And, no other country in the world can parade so many ethnically different people in splendid uniforms, all united in their proven loyalty to the Government elected by the people and in their proud traditions and legendary gallantry.

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Filed under: NATIONAL FESTIVALS

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National Book Week, 14-20, Nov.2013

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