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Golden Milestone project celebration – 50 years of golden memories

Category : Activities

GHS Milestone project celebration

The project is to record the history and memories of Gujarat Hindu Society over a period of 50 years closely linked with cultural, traditions and their settlement in Preston and a huge success as a social enterprise recognized throughout the region.

GHS main hall was decorated with vibrant flowers and there were more than 20 huge panels with photographs given by various people from the year 1965 to 2015. Various workshops were held to capture life from the 1960s and 70s until present date. All the collected photo and information were captured in the panels displayed during the celebration.

Display of Indian culture, Hinduism, their gods, traditional cloths and musical instruments were eye catching.

 

After tasty Indian refreshments, President Ishwar Tailor invited VIPs including representatives from LCC, Lancashire constabulary, Media and other dignitaries who supported GHS to light up special lamp to start the celebration.

Celebration included special displays of Indian classical, Bollywood, fusion dancing and a very cute Balkung group dance where children from year 3-12 showcase traditional dance in local language.


Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and assistance from the Harris Museum the society has now traced and recorded its history.

Video captured for the Golden Milestone were also displayed during the celebration followed by demonstration of GHS Website, where all the information related to Golden Milestone is captured including Gallery, timeline etc.

Celebration ended by inspirational speeches from dignitaries, President, Secretary and cake cutting.

Project Sponsors:

Heritage lottery fund

Supported by –

  • Harries museum art gallery & library
  • Lancashire county council records office

Project initiator & Co-ordinator:

Mr Ishwer Tailor MBE JPDL

Project Manager:

Abhinandana Kodanda

Graphics designer and admin support:

Shreya Ghodke (Arteecraft)

Video support:

Nick Butterworth (Butterworth creative production)

Webdesign and development support:

Rakesh Ghodke (WebnMore Solutions)

Volunteers:

Joshi, Purnima, Hema, Shivam, Dev, Khushalbhai, Prahladbhai, Chandubhai

Many thanks to people who have shared their experiences, stories, and photographs

 


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Do you know enough about Chaitra Navratri & Ramnavmi?

It certainly feels like winter has outstayed its visit. Take for instance our first ever crisp Holi or #Snoli…which, the GHS Preston celebrated grandly despite the icy floor. Thank you, to GHS Preston management committee for organising #Snoli2018! A Big thank you to the Hari-Bhakto/devotees, for embracing the chilly winds of the east and attending #PrestonSnoli.

 

But rest assured, the colorful fanfares and ringing bells have now commenced…..NavaDurga (Durga in nine forms) is here!

 

For Hinduism, the crisp spring welcomes celebration of Godess Durga for Chaitra Navratri (March-April).

 

As you know, the word “Navratri” is a conjunction of two words “nava” (meaning “nine”) and “ratri” (meaning “night”)..….but hang on a second…isn’t it abit early to get our Bangles, dangles and shimmery dresses out?

No! It certainly is not! Amongst the copious amounts of Easter eggs and the Easter bunnies we are also celebrating one of the most sacred festivals in Hinduism. Chaitra Navrati worships Goddess Durga or Shakti, which represents the feminine energy of the universe, in her 9 beautiful forms with great reverence.

 

That’s right, the main festival of Navratri occurs not once but twice every year!

 

The well-liked Ashwina Navratri falls in the month of Ashwina, (September – October). This one, is the most common and most popularly celebrated by the Hindus.

The other is named as Chaitra Navratri, observed in the month of Chaitra (March – April) not known to many.

 

Both Navratris occur during the interval of seasonal changes and the astronomical equinox. Throughout this period, our Durga Maa, (beautiful Mother-Nature), assumes a major change, shifting from one set of colours to another.

 

During both these Navratris, the length of the daytime is roughly equal to the length of the night-time, making it the perfect setting to embrace the festivities.

 

Chaitra Navratri is a lot quieter. Here, we crawl out of our winter cocoons and rejoice in the beauty of Spring, its fruits and colours.

 

In the UK, whilst the usual Navrati ‘dhoom-dham’ is not present at this time of year, being the quieter festival of the two, it gives us time to refresh, dust our minds and focus inward. A sort of spring-cleaning of the mind, ready for the festive season which will continue to roll forwards consecutively until the end of the year.

 

At the temple, there have been daily readings of the Ram-Charit Manas from 7pm – 9pm for the duration of the 9 days, which will conclude on Sunday with the epic birth of Shree Ram, Vishnus 7th Avatar, on Ramnavmi.

Ram + Charit (deeds or character) + Manas (Lake) =

  The Lake of Deeds of Ram

 

It is said by mentally visiting this auspicious ‘Manas’ ‘Lake’ rids one of sins and inspires good deeds to be taken by the reader. At the time of writing this blog, we are at the grand wedding of Princess Sita and Ram, Prince of Ayodhya.

 

Quietly, celebrating this epic wedding, whilst the stream of ancient words flow into the devotees ears, is a complete contrast to the celebrations that occur during Ashwina Navrati.

 

According to the Hindu Puranas and scriptures, Chaitra Navratri was the most important Navratri in which Goddess Shakti was worshipped, until Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga in the ‘Ashwin’ month during the Ramayana war.

 

Ashwin Navrati celebrates the homecoming of our Lord from exile…

 

But….

 

Chaitra Navarati celebrates the birth and appearance of our Dear Shree Ram.

 

On this holy occasion of Chaitra Navratri and Rama Navami, GHS Preston wishes the Blessings of Maa Durga and Shree Ram be with your and your family. May your heart and home be filled with happiness, peace and prosperity.

 

Jai Shree Ram

#Ramnavmi #ChaitraNavratri #GHSPreston #Preston

#BackpackAndChampals

 

Guest Author- Jagrutee Patel


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India’s Republic Day Celebration at Gujarat Hindu Society

On Friday 26th January about 50 people gathered in our main hall to salute the Indian Flag and sing some popular songs related to the flag and its colors. This is 43rd year we have raised the Indian Flag since we bought the center in 1975.

GHS has always been proud of its heritage and to celebrate, we had organized a Variety Cultural Show on Saturday 27th January 2018. We had invited the Mayor of Preston Cllr. Brian Rollo, MP Sir Mark Hendrick, and Chief Inspector Jonathan Clegg from Preston Police and Mrs. Linda Tompkins from UClan. The show was put together by our Manager Abhinandana and co-ordinated by our Activity Officer Shreya. The show was hosted by very able Jagruti & Dipesh Patel.

The evening started with prayers and lighting of lamps by the dignitaries. Ishwerbhai the President addressed the audience and asked the Mayor of Preston and other dignitaries to say a few words.

We started the evening with Shoka recitation by PurnaVidya group. Classical Dancing followed by a variety of different dances including a Ballet and Tap Dance by Sparkle Dance School.

Abhinandana Dance Academy presented a number of dances fusion between Classical and Bollywood, not forgetting Kuchipudi.

Our Balkunj team did us proud by getting youngsters to dance to My India song. They were so lively and so young and looked really cute. Karishma Parekh performed 2 super dances one classical Bharatnatyam and a Ghoomer Dance on popular Bollywood song.

Rakesh Ghodke And Jay Acharya gave tribute to soldiers by singing ‘Sandese aate hai’. Radhika Agarwal performed a Violin solo. Father and Son duo Mukund and Harshal Gosai did an instrumental item on Harmonium and synthesizer. GHS is very proud of all its members who put so much effort into bringing the show together.

The comments received from all the dignitaries were it was a mind-blowing show. On behalf of GHS management, I would like to express my sincere thank you to all the participants, trainers and our Manager Abhi & Shreya for once again putting on an excellent show. God bless you all and please continue to develop our young children. Well done everyone. Jai Hind. Bharat Mata ki Jai.


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Saheli Sangathan- A Women Empowerment Initiative

Category : Women Empowerment

A group has been formed where ladies get together and chat about a number of topics; this could be personal, job related or just interest and hobbies. The ladies feel free to be themselves and share their experiences.

I have been part of this group since it started back in January 2017, as a leader. I have attended these sessions and got involved, both my confidence and knowledge has increased.

As a group, we have already done many activities and have many more planned.

Events we have covered so far:

Jacob Joint – ladies bought in all types of food and we had a sing along and played musical chairs.

Games afternoon – where we played suduko and crosswords, we made it competitive which was fun.

Avenham Park Walk – one of the ladies organised a trip to walk around the park which was a great event and enjoyed by all.

 

Bolton Abbey trip – the ladies took themselves off to a trip where we had a long walk and picnic looked at historical buildings.

 

 

 

 

The most recent session was based around Dementia, our very own Joshi led the talk and explained in great detail of what happens and what to expect.

The above is just some of what we have covered. We are moving forward in the right direction with the help of you lovely ladies. Our group is going from strength to strength with new faces joining us each session. Our group has a wide range of experienced ladies whether this is a house wife a lecturer or a school teacher.

Please come along to the next session held at our very own Gujarat Hindu society. Keep your eyes and ear peeled for the next session and events.

 

Author- Bhavnita Parekh


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The Story of Tulsi Vivah

Category : Religious

The Tulsi plant is a variety of the spice we know as basil. The story of Tulsi and the holiday known as Tusli Vivaha is wonderfully symbolic story that resonates even today. Tulsi Vivaha, is the mythical marriage of the tulsi plant and Krishna, is celebrated on the11th day of the bright half of the lunar month of Kartika. The festival is popular in all parts of India and particularly in the south.

In the Vedic tradition there is a rishi by the name of Narada who is the son of Brahma, the creator. He takes the role of cosmic instigator. He is always sneaking in and out of these stories, usually starting things off by making devious suggestions which his unsuspecting target eagerly agrees to. Of course there are all sorts of interesting consequences and they are what make up the core of these stories. During the time that Krishna was here on earth, the gods in heaven decided that he had been away long enough and that they missed him. They wanted him to come back to heaven. So with Narada, they hatched a plan to get Krishna to return.

 

While here on earth, Krishna had 2 wives; Satyabhama and Rukmini. Queen Satyabhaamaenquired of the Rishi Narada how she could ensure that she would have Krishna as her husband in her next life. Narada told the Queen, and truthfully so, that you receive in the next life that which you giveaway in this life as charity (Daan in Sanskrit). So Satyabhaama immediately gave Krishna away to Narada and they left immediately so that Krishna could go back to heaven.

 

But Krishna’s wives Rukmini and Satyabhama sorely missed their husband, and both requested Narada to bring Krishna back. Narada said that they would have to give the gods something equal to the weight of Krishna if he was to return from heaven. Proud of all the jewels and valuables that Krishna had given her, Satyabhama set up a large weighing balance scale. Krishna came and sat on one side. Satyabhama, who as befits a Queen, was rather arrogant and brought out all her jewels and gold and silver pots to weigh against Krishna. But the more she piled onto the balance scale, the lighter her side became. Krishna just became heavier and heavier. Reduced to angry tears, she finally gave up. Satyabhama asked Rukmini to do what she could. Rukmini removed all the gold and gems from the scale and plucked a few leaves of the wild tulsi plant growing nearby. She put them on the scale with all her love. The leaves proved to be far heavier than Krishna. With a smile, Krishna returned to earth to be with his wives.

 

Since that time, a tulsi leaf is added to any auspicious gift. A father also places a tulsi leaf in his daughter’s hand during the Kanaan – giving away of the daughter during a Hindu marriage ceremony. On Tulsi Vivaha the yoga tradition is for the tulsi plant to be dressed up as if it were a murti. The ceremony of Vishnu’s marriage is re-enacted in a uja called Kalyana Utsavam. A dainty wedding pavilion(mandap) is made of sugarcane stalks and the tulsi plant is decorated with a yellow bridal sari, miniature jewellery and red kumkum powder. Krishna wears a golden crown and the traditional bridegroom’s attire. The wedding is conducted with complete wedding puja and homa rites. The Tulsi plant is offered a feast of seasonal berries, new tamarind, turmeric, amla fruit and rice. Krishna is offered sweets made of milk.

 

You might ask why it was that Rukmini, who was really Lakshmi, offered the tulsi plant to Krishna in this story. As is frequently the case in Vedic stories, it begins with a demon that has gained too much power and is troubling the gods. Since the strength of the gods cannot always equal that of the demons, the gods have to win by some form of trickery. Of course ultimately it backfires and the gods have make amends.

 

In this case, there was a demon who was a famous warrior by the name of Jalandhar. By constantly annoying, fighting and defeating the gods he madehis fellow demons happy and more and more of the universe came under their control. Jalandhar had a wonderful wife by the name of Vrinda who was apure and spiritually dedicated soul and a powerful yogi in her own right. Because of her purity and spiritual strength, Jalandhar became invincible in all three worlds.

 

Desperately, the gods tried to find some way to defeat Jalandhar. Vishnu developed a plan and sent messengers to tell Vrinda that her husband had been killed in battle. The severed head and body of two monkeys were put in front of her, and after reciting some mantras, Vishnu, through his magical powers made her believe it was her husband’s dead body and she was plunged into grief.

 

Then Vishnu snuck away and took the form of sadhu and seemingly innocent, walked by Vrinda. Faking compassion, Vishnu recited some mantras and joined the head and the body together again. Vishnu quickly took the form of Vrinda’s husband who thought that her husband Jalandhar stood there in front of her. She embraced him with passion and relief. But quickly she realized her mistake and discovered that it was in fact, Vishnu. In that conservative era, she immediately lost her spiritual virtue and power for having touched the body of man who was not her husband. She was distraught at having been tricked, but it was of no use. AfterVrinda had lost her holiness and purity, Jalandhar lost the source of his power, and was killed in battle. When Vrinda came to know the full truth of her husband’s death, she was wild with anger and cursed Vishnu saying, “Your wife will be taken away from you and you will have to ask help from monkeys to recover her.” A rishi’s curse is powerful thing and not even the gods can escape intuit was after all, the result of Vishnu’s own actions coming back to him.

 

As we well know, this curse was realized when Vishnu took the form as Rama and Sita was taken from him only to be saved again by Hanuman, the monkey god.

 

After issuing her curse, Vrinda prepared the funeral pyre for her husband and jumped into the fire. Vishnu, whose job it is to protect everyone in creation, was very sorry because as a result of his deceit the poor widow had committed suicide. He remained sitting at the side of the pyre for many days, deep in depression. Worried about him because he was neglecting his cosmic duties, the gods planted three medicinal trees in the cremation ground; Tulsi, Amala, and Jasmine. Of these three trees the Tulsi was most dear to Vishnu and to this day is used in his worship rituals

 

Because Vrinda had for a while truly believed Vishnu to be her husband, when Vishnu appeared as Krishna, Vrinda came in the form of Rukmini and on the day which we celebrate as Tulsi Vivaha, they were married.

Importance: From this day the auspicious days begin. It is said that, this marriage is the symbol of the perfect marriage in Indian culture.

 

Significance of Tulsi Vivah:

The belief is that those who perform Tulsi Vivah ceremony giving away Tulsi considering them to be one’s daughters get the credit of Kanyadan which is an auspicious act in Hindu religion. Tulsi plant can help to vanish all the Architectural defects in a house. For Hindus, Tulsi is the most sacred plant. Puja offerings are considered incomplete without the Tulsi leaf. It also symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. Women seek blessings for happy married life. The Tulsi leaf has great medicinal value as it cures various ailments, including the common cold. Performing one or four Parikramas of the plant removes the evil effects of the sins.

Guest Blog by BHARAT MARU.


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Ganesh – The God of wisdom

Category : Religious

Shri Ganesh Mahotsav is a ten-day Hindu festival celebrated to honour the elephant-headed God Ganesha’s birthday. He is the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

GHS_Ganesh-Murti_17

This year, August 25th marks the beginning of this festival which is also called as Vinayaka Chaturthi. Here are some details about the festival:

The festival begins on Shukla Chaturthi which is the fourth day of the waxing moon period, and ends on the 14th day of the waxing moon period known as Anant Chaturdashi. During the festival, colourful pandals (temporary shrines) are setup and the Lord is worshiped for ten days. Maharashtra is the state known for grand scale Ganesh Chaturthi festivities.

Ganesha is known by 108 different names and is the Lord of arts and sciences and the God of wisdom. He is honoured at the start of any ritual or ceremony as he’s considered the God of beginnings. He’s widely and dearly referred to as Ganapati Bappa.

There are two different versions about Ganesha’s birth. Out of all the stories that are linked with the history of this festival, the most relevant one is associated with his parents Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is believed that Goddess Parvati created little Ganesh using the dirt off her body while having a bath and sent him to guard the door while she was bathing. Lord Shiva, who had gone out, returned at that time. Innocently, little Ganesh stopped him from entering. Angry Lord Shiva cut off the head of the little child after a heated argument. Looking at an angered and displeased Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva promised her to give Ganesh a new life. The followers were sent to search for a head; however all they could bring was a head of an elephant. Lord Shiva fixed the elephant’s head on the child and brought him back to life. That’s how he was named Gajanan.

The other legend has it that Ganesha was created by Shiva and Parvati on request of the Devas, to be a vighnakartaa (obstacle-creator) in the path of rakshasas (demonic beings), and a vighnahartaa (obstacle-averter) to help the Devas.

GHS will celebrate this auspicious festival from Friday 25 August till Tuesday 05 September2017. Please check our events calendar for details. http://www.ghspreston.co.uk/calendar/ganesh-utsav/


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Nritya Sangam : an Ode to Indian Dances

India is a land of traditions and cultures. She has preserved established traditions while absorbing new customs. Indian classical dance forms are one such element of her culture.
Natraj

Indian dance has diverse folk and classical dance forms. Bharatanatyam from Tamil Nadu, Kathak from Northern India, Kathakali & Mohiniyattam from Kerala, Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh, Odissi from Odisha, Sattriya from Assam, Manipuri, from Manipur, are some of the better known classical dance forms. These showcase mythological & local narrative forms.

 

On Sunday 16 July 2017, GHS in association with Abhinanadana Dance Academy celebrated the rich tradition of Indian Classical Dance forms.

dance_performance1

The graceful dance of North India ‘Kathak’ was performed by BBC Yonge Dancer finalist Ms. Vidya Patel.

Vidya comes from Birmingham, where she participated in classical Indian dance styles from an early age with the support of her parents and two older sisters Kathak is one of the most charismatic dance forms of India.

Her Kathak performances revolve around stories of Lord Krishna. She mesmerised the audience with her spectacular footwork and amazing spins.

Vidya

 

Another treat to the eyes was Kuchipudi Dance performance by Ms. Abhinandana Kodaanda. Kuchipudi Dance form is a long-established dance-drama style.

Abhinandana has played a major role in developing young people in Classical Dancing through her dance academy in Preston.

She performed a story of Lord Krishna’s childhood, as well as her ever popular Thali Dance. (Dancing on a metal plate). Her students also showcased their talent on the stage.

Abhi

 

The show was very well received and enjoyed by people of Preston, It was an overwhelming experience for the parents of young dancers to see their daughters flourish.

 

 

award_distribution

 

 

 

 

 

This show was a testimony to GHS’ commitment to preserve traditions and introduce them to a global audience.


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Know More About South Meadow Lane Community Project – GUJARAT HINDU SOCIETY, Preston

Category : Activities

A CASE STUDY

Background

Gujarat Hindu Society is a registered charity, established in 1965. They have a membership of 600 Hindu families residing in the Preston and district. The Society bought an old school in 1974 for the purpose of socialising and creating a place of worship. The building was bought for £17,500 with £900 in the bank. A bank loan was obtained with the help of security given by the trustees.

The official opening took place in August 1975 and the centre became a focal point for the Hindu community both locally and nationally. Within two years, the bank loan was repaid. Plans were put in place to build an extension for the provision of teaching of Gujarati Language. In 1981, HRH Prince of Wales officially opened the Gita Hall.

HRH Prince_1981

The centre continued to provide various activities functioned by the committee members and volunteers. The youth initiated and hosted Youth Festival for three consecutive years.

In 1988 with the co-operation of all other Hindu organisations in the North West the Society organised the first Ramayana recital by Pujya Morari Bapu, a renowned and revered high priest. The nine day programme attracted 8000 devotees and accommodated 2500 in Preston. The event raised £108,000 net for the water relief programme in remote villages in India. The Society actively organises events and have raised and distributed £10,000 to local charities.

Yr_1975

In 1992 when unemployment was rising the Society made a decision to tackle this issue by making an application to Home Office under the section 11 Ethnic Minority Grant. This was the beginning of the new phase and in its core activities and established the Gujarat Training and Resource Centre, providing adult guidance and customised training. The project with support from the then Lancashire Area West Training and Enterprise Council, has helped many members from the community, from all cultural background, to obtain employment, receive guidance and support towards further and higher education and enterprise opportunities.Yr_1992

As activities and provision augmented, the Society created a vision to expand the accommodation to meet these needs. In 1995 a feasibility study was conducted and ventured to redevelop the whole Centre and provide a new purpose-build facility for the new millennium. The Management had a vision of creating a Centre of Excellence to promote the Hindu culture, provide recreational, leisure and healthy lifestyle facilities together with temple for the Hindu community of Preston and District.

At the end of 1996 Enterprise plc was appointed as consultants to submit an application to the millennium Commission for a capitol grant towards the redevelopment of the new Centre. The application was successful and a grant of £1.64 million was awarded towards the total project cost of £3.28 million. The project commenced on 23rd March 1998 and was completed on 22nd November 1999. During the redevelopment phase the office and activities transferred to a site on 48 West Cliff purchased by the Society. The Centre was officially opened on 4th December 1999.Yr_1998-1

From the beginning to the end of the redevelopment stages, auspicious religious ceremonies such as land purification, stone laying and inauguration were performed keeping within the conformity and principles of Vaastu Shashtra to provide mental and spiritual peace, prosperity and progress for the users of the Centre.

The complex covers 24,500 square feet floor space. A purpose built temple features carved and sculptured Shikhar (spire), Gopuram (dome) and pillars in marble and pink stone. The main multi-purpose hall with a capacity to seat 800 is used for conferences, weddings and other events. On the first floor, the Centre offers a range of meeting / training rooms varying in size from 200 sq. ft. to 400 sq.ft. One of the room contains a tailored ICT suite with 18 computers. A dedicated PA control room provides sound and media facilities. A large customised kitchen provides catering facilities during major functions.

The Society, with a management committee of 15 volunteers who manages the day to day management of the Centre is supported by  a full time manager, a care taker and two part time administrative staff.

The key to fulfilling the vision and attaining a Centre of Excellence, the success of the South Meadow Lane Community Centre / Temple project was a combination of dedication, commitment and professionalism of the voluntary committee members, the Hindu community and the support from the local agencies, operating within the constraints and issues of a voluntary and charitable status. Jay Shree Krishna..


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Guest Blog by Mrs. Prasanna Kabade, London

Category : Uncategorised

Mrs. Prasanna Kabade contacted us after visiting GHS website, blogs and provided some valuable feedback. She is currently doing her masters in Sanskrit language and was involved in teaching from last 7 to 8 years. She is practising mediation and reads lot of material on spirituality. From GHS committee we would like to appreciate her efforts and time she invested in visiting GHS website; writing this guest blog. Thank you.

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“Hinduism is not a religion and it’s a way of living for human kind” – GHS Preston Lancashire.

Gujarat Hindu Society – Preston has done a studious job of getting the best aspects of Hinduism by detailing the ways of celebration, festivals and the presentation of “Bhagavad Gita” core aspect of Hinduism.

The true spirits of prayers, religious aspects are put forth by idolism and it’s belief in true sense. While reading the blogs about religions, festivals and celebrations one can understand how well it is studied to put forth for everyone in society to gain understanding and based on that it’s knowledge towards the aspect of livings. All Hindu festivals are trade mark of unity & togetherness. They have philosophical, psychological and scientific values which sparks in the mind while reading. In it arises more curiosity to study and understand the values towards it. Those who know will go more deep to understand but those who are new and have slight knowledge towards these aspects are sure to make an aim to understand in depth what Hinduism is !!

While exploring more we get to know what makes it so special to be celebrated with its significance and meaning. Another special aspect which is clearly made understood in this blog is why, when, and how to celebrate by including the tithes, i.e. dates and days as per the Hindu calendar. This clears the doubts and makes it more easy to understand the logic of Hindu ‘panchang’. The aspect of worship through the pictorial form is depicted. This pictorial form is easy to understand by getting to know what message delivered ( Lingam).

The most and very most pillar of Hinduism, the essence which will remain everlasting and that is “Bhagavad Gita”

“Bhagavad Gita” is said to be understood the way one reads. Everyone understands Gita different, no matter what you understand, the derived meaning in its core essence is universal. It is the only holy book which holds that power of not making you understand, but the reader understands the way he thinks. His thinking and thoughts are actually owned by that supreme lord.  This sounds mysterious, but it’s the fact. The efforts taken by GHS are clearly reflected while explaining more about Gita. The verses of Gita are explained very clearly and correctly without losing its original meaning for a layman to understand.

While highlighting and keeping the roots of Hinduism GHS has a social forum for the society for conducting various social events, programs which are organised for young to old. These programs and various activities are linked which are part of the festival.e.g. for this would be Kite making, Holi, Ganesh Utsav etc.  While doing this and running all these programs and having detailed workout with different activities GHS has also shown how keenly they celebrate their Independence Day though being away from their motherland. While engaging in the social cause of sponsored walks and cultural events they are raising funds for helping the local hospice and needy.

Gujarat Hindu society – Preston is a real example representing their culture, values, good work for society, a humanitarian cause and well being of society for more than a decade. A very prideful and appreciative work.

I wish them all the best for their future endeavors and more to this, which will reach to maximum people and help the society.

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Celebrate Festival of Colours – Holi

Category : Activities , Religious

One of the most popular festivals in India is the Holi Festival; held every year on the day of the full moon in the Hindu calendar month of Phalgun (March). Also known as the Spring Festival, Holi marks the end of the cooler winter months and the beginning of spring, a celebrated season as it brings warmer days, new produce, love and joy. Like many other festivals in India, Holi also signifies a victory of good over evil. As per ancient mythology, there is a legend of King Hiranyakashipu with who Holi is associated.

holi-fire

 

History of Holi

Hiranyakashipu was a king in ancient India who was like a demon. He wanted to take revenge for the death of his younger brother who was killed by Lord Vishnu. So to gain power, the king prayed for years. He was finally granted a boon. But with this Hiranyakashipu started considering himself God and asked his people to worship him like God. The cruel king has a young son named Prahalad, who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Prahalad had never obeyed his father’s order and kept on worshiping Lord Vishnu. The King was so hard hearted and decided to kill his own son, because he refused to worship him. He asked his sister ‘Holika’, who was immune to fire, to sit on a pyre of fire with Prahalad in her lap. Their plan was to burn Prahalad. But their plan did not go through as Prahalad who was reciting the name of Lord Vishnu throughout was safe, but Holika got burnt to ashes. The defeat of Holika signifies the burning of all that is bad. After this, Lord Vishnu killed Hiranyakashipu. But it is actually the death of Holika that is associated with Holi. Because of this, a pyre in the form of bonfire is lit on the day before Holi day to remember the death of evil.

But how did Holi_kele_nanda_lalacolours become part of Holi? This dates back to the period of Lord Krishna (reincarnation of Lord Vishnu) . It is believed that Lord Krishna used to celebrate Holi with colours and hence popularized the same. He used to play Holi with his friends at Vrindavan and Gokul. They used to play pranks all across the village and thus made this a community event. That is why till date Holi celebrations at Vrindavan are unmatched.

Holi is a spring festival to say goodbye to winters. In some parts the celebrations are also associated with spring harvest. Farmers after seeing their stores being refilled with new crops celebrate Holi as a part of their happiness. Because of this, Holi is also known as ‘Vasant Mahotsava’ and ‘Kama Mahotsava’.

Celebrate with colours

Great excitement can be seen in people on the next day when it is actually the time for the play of colours. Shops and offices remain closed for the day and people get all the time to get crazy and whacky. Bright colours of gulal and abeer fill the air and people take turns in pouring colour water over each other.

Children take sholi-colourspecial delight in spraying colours on one another with their pichkaris and throwing water balloons. Women and senior citizen form groups called tolis and move in colonies – applying colours and exchanging greetings. Songs, dance on the rhythm of dholak and mouthwatering Holi delicacies are the other highlights of the day. Parties are often organized where people dance to music and greet each other with colors.

The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships.
Some families hold religious ceremonies, but for many Holi is more a time for fun than religious observance. After a fun filled and exciting day, they spent the evening in sobriety when people meet friends and relatives and exchange sweets and festive greetings.

 

Holi festival may be Holi1celebrated with various names and people of different states might be following different traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.

Come and celebrate Holi and colours at Gujarat Hindu Society this year on March 12 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. http://www.ghspreston.co.uk/calendar/hutashani-holi/