Hindu holidays commemorate a particular deity, season or event in history, but do not necessarily fall on a specific day every year as the Hindu calendar is lunar.

Many Hindu Americans belong to different sampradaya (sects) and/or parampara (lineages), which may determine specific days of spiritual importance not included in this list. In addition, practicing Hindus may request specific accommodations or time off to complete sacred rites of passage, or may be observing a specific diet or fast.

Below is a list of some of the more widely celebrated Hindu holidays and days of significance to Dharma traditions for accommodation, observation, and celebration.

You can download these, plus a calendar for 2022, as PDFs as well.

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Bodhi Day

BUDDHIST OBSERVANCE

JANUARY 10, 2022

Dec. 8, 2023
Jan. 18, 2024
Jan. 17, 2025

Bodhi Day marks the moment that Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment and became Buddha, the Awakened One. The name Bodhi refers to the species of tree that Buddha meditated under in the town of Bodh Gaya, in India. It is also the Sanskrit word for enlightenment. It is believed that Buddha first experienced enlightenment after meditating under the Bodhi tree for 49 days. To commemorate, many will meditate, chant spiritual texts, and perform acts of kindness. Some may make the pilgrimage to the original Bodhi tree to pay respects directly to the source of enlightenment.

PARTICIPATE

Plant a bodhi or ficus tree; share a fig with friends or colleagues.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Bodhi Day!
Blessed Bodhi Day!

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Swami Vivekananda Jayanti

OBSERVANCE

JANUARY 12, 2022

Vivekananda Jayanti is observed annually on January 12th.

The birthday of Swami Vivekananda, known as Swami Vivekananda Jayanti, is honored as a regional holiday in the Indian state of West Bengal and as National Youth Day by the Government of India on January 12th each year. The day commemorates and recognizes his contributions as a modern Hindu monk and respected guru of the Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism. The day that Swami Vivekananda delivered his speech at the Parliament of Religions is known as ‘World Brotherhood Day.’ Swami Vivekananda brought Hindu teachings and practices — such as yoga and transcendental meditation —to Western audiences.

PARTICIPATE

Read/listen to Swami Vivekananda’s speech to the Parliment of World Religions on September 11, 1893, in Chicago, Illinois: www.artic.edu/swami-vivekananda-and-his-1893-speech

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Lohri

FESTIVAL

JANUARY 13, 2022

Jan. 13, 2023
Jan. 13, 2024
Jan. 13, 2025

Used to mark the coldest day of the year, Lohri (LOH-ree) signifies the start of winter solstice and is followed by the longest night and shortest day of the year. Often referred to as the ‘Bonfire Festival’ or the ‘Festival of Farmers,’ Lohri is a time to express gratitude and socialize with festive songs and dances to mark the arrival of longer days. During Lohri, the significance of a fire represents energy, spiritual strength, and renewal.

PARTICIPATE

Plant a tree or sapling as Lohri celebrates harvest, soil fertility, and agricultural sustainment.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Lohri!

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Makar Sankranti

FESTIVAL

JANUARY 14, 2022

Jan. 14, 2023
Jan. 14, 2024
Jan. 14, 2025

Makar Sankranti (muh-KUR sun-KRAN-thee) is a Hindu solar holiday that marks the transition of the sun into Capricorn (Makar) on its celestial path and honors Surya (the sun god) and Goddess Saraswati. This holiday is noted as the Hindu New Year for many, and is considered to be an auspicious time to pursue new goals and new endeavors. Charity on this day is also a common practice. Celebrations often involve flying kites — the spiritual metaphor explains that as one soars through life, they remain grounded by their connection to a higher power.

PARTICIPATE

Participate in kite flying community events or competitions.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Makar Sankranti!

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Pongal

FESTIVAL

JANUARY 14, 2022

Jan. 14, 2023
Jan. 14, 2024
Jan. 14, 2025

Pongal (PONG-uhl) is a four-day harvest festival corresponding with Makar Sankranti and Lohri. It is celebrated in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry in India, as well as in Sri Lanka and the Hindu diaspora. During Pongal, many offer prayers to Surya (the sun god) for a good harvest with newly gathered produce cooked for the first time. As Pongal translates to “spilling over,” there is a tradition of boiling rice in a pot until it starts to overflow as well as consuming a sweet dish made of rice and lentils.

PARTICIPATE

Hold a potluck and encourage others to bring rice based dishes to share.

SUGGESTED GREETING

During Pongal festivities, a customary greeting is, “Has the rice boiled?” The reply back is, “It has boiled.” Happy Pongal!

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Vasant Panchami

DEITY CELEBRATION

FEBRUARY 5, 2022

Feb. 25, 2023
Feb. 13, 2024
Feb. 2, 2025

Vasant Panchami (vuh-SUNTH punch-uh-mee), also known as Basant Panchami or Sri Panchami in southern India, is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati — goddess of knowledge, learning, music, and art. She represents enlightenment, and is the consort of Brahma, the Creator. Many celebrations include a shade of yellow to honor her favorite color and the agricultural mustard crops which are in bloom during the spring harvest. Often schools and universities in India will hold special rituals and prayers to the goddess for her blessings for academic and musical studies.

PARTICIPATE

Offer to share sweet treats and snacks with friends and colleagues.

SUGGESTED GREETING

May Goddess Saraswati bless you with great knowledge!
Happy Vasant Panchami!

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Maha Shivaratri

DEITY CELEBRATION

FEBRUARY 28, 2022

Feb. 18, 2023
Mar. 8, 2024
Feb. 25, 2025

Maha Shivaratri (muh-HA shiv-RA-three), or the ‘Great Night of Shiva,’ occurs in either February or March, as winter ends and spring approaches. Maha Shivaratri is a time for new beginnings and endeavors, especially in regards to spiritual matters. It is celebrated with fasting, meditation, devotional songs, and worship of the physical representation of Lord Shiva — the god of transformation. During this time, it is customary to visit temples dedicated to Lord Shiva or to dedicate your prayers to him.

PARTICIPATE

This is a good day to donate food or clothing to the less fortunate.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Mahashivratri!

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Holi

FESTIVAL

MARCH 18, 2022

This is a significant day for Hindus. Many will take at least part of the day off to participate.
Mar. 7, 2023
Mar. 25, 2024
Mar. 14, 2025

One of the largest festivals in the world, Holi (HO-lee) celebrates the start of spring, which is the season of hope and new beginnings. Often referred to as the ‘Festival of Colors,’ Holi is recognized as a national holiday in India and welcomes the arrival of spring and the harvests it brings. While Hindu legends connected to the origin of Holi vary, the messages of goodness, renewal, and love are always the same. Many will pay off old debts, renew broken relationships, and make new friends as the spirit of Holi encourages harmony and new beginnings.

PARTICIPATE

Celebrate by joining a Holi celebration at a park, a local temple, or community center.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Holi!
Holi Hai!

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Ugadi

FESTIVAL

APRIL 1, 2022

Mar. 22, 2023
Apr. 9, 2024
Mar. 29, 2025

Ugadi (oo-GA-dee), or Yugadi (yoo-GA-dee), is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and adi (starting) — ‘the beginning of a new age.’ The legend behind this festival is that Lord Brahma created the universe on Ugadi. It is celebrated predominantly in the southern Indian states of Telangana, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Like most Hindu spring festivals, Ugadi is a time for new beginnings, as the longer and brighter days invigorate and inspire hope for prosperous growth in one’s work, relationships, and spiritual practices.

PARTICIPATE

Hold a rangoli (colored patterns of flowers, powder, rice, or sand made on the floor) decorating competition.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Ugadi!
Happy Ugadi Wishes!

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Ram Navami

DEITY CELEBRATION

APRIL 10, 2022

Mar. 30, 2023
Apr. 16, 2024
Apr. 5, 2025

Ram Navami (RAM nuhv-uh-mee) celebrates the birth of Lord Ram who many know from the popular sacred text, Ramayana. This epic tells the life story of a noble prince. Hindus believe that Lord Ram is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu (god of preservation) and is the embodiment of dharma (righteousness). On this day, it is common to offer special prayers to Lord Ram, participate in charitable giving, and offer community meals. Many may host community readings or retelling of the story in dance or drama form in the days leading up to the holiday.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Ram Navami!
Wishing you a happy and prosperous Ram Navami!

Vaisakhi

FESTIVAL

APRIL 14, 2022

Apr. 14, 2023
Apr. 14, 2024
Apr. 14, 2025

For many Hindus and Sikhs, April 13th and 14th mark the celebration of Vaisakhi (vay-SAH-khee) or Baisakhi. It is believed that Vaisakhi originated when Goddess Ganga came to Earth to help rid humanity of its sins, so many Hindus will visit one of the scared rivers to offer their prayers. Vaisakhi is also a time for charitable giving (dana), and to share food and resources with those less fortunate. This festival is held on almost the same day every year and is known as the solar new year for some Hindu communities.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Wishing you a fun-filled Vaisakhi and a prosperous new year ahead.
Happy Vaisakhi!

Mahavir Jayanti

JAIN OBSERVANCE

APRIL 14, 2022

Apr. 3, 2023
Apr. 21, 2024
Apr. 10, 2025

Mahavir Jayanti is the birth anniversary of philosopher Mahavir, who was the 24th and final Jain pandit. Born a prince named Vardhamana, he renounced everything for the path of enlightenment, earning the name Mahavir, meaning great hero. Mahavir believed in and preached ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity) and aparigraha (non-attachment). Many will visit his temples, read scriptures, and ask for his blessings during this holiday.

PARTICIPATE

Indulge in a day of meatless meals to honor the principle of ahimsa (non-violence).

SUGGESTED GREETING

Mahavir Jayanti!
Happy Mahavir Jayanti!

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Hanuman Jayanti

DEITY CELEBRATION

APRIL 16, 2022

Apr. 5, 2023
Apr. 23, 2024
Apr. 12, 2025

Hanuman Jayanti (ha-NU-MAN jay-un-tee) honors Lord Hanuman, who is revered for his selfless devotion and ability to attain victory against evil. He is known to provide safety to those who need it as evident in the Ramayana. On this auspicious day, devotees of Lord Hanuman honor him and ask for his protection and blessings by visiting temples and making religious offerings. It is also common to recite the Hanuman Chalisa, a devotional hymn, in hopes of invoking his strength.

PARTICIPATE

Recogize those that have shown courage, loyalty, and compassion as these are qualities that Hanuman embodies.

SUGGESTED GREETING

May Lord Hanuman shower his blessings on you and your family.
Happy Hanuman Jayanti!

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Vesak

BUDDHIST OBSERVANCE

MAY 15, 2022

May 5, 2023
May 23, 2024
May 12, 2025

Vesak — also known as Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, and Buddha Day — is a holiday observed by Buddhists and some Hindus. It commemorates Siddhartha Gautama, known as Buddha, and the three key elements of his life: birth, death and enlightenment. It is believe that all three events happened on the same day throughout his lifetime. Vesak take places at the time of the first full moon of the ancient lunar month of Vesakha, which usually falls in May or early June. This is a colorful and happy celebration.

PARTICIPATE

Take a moment to be mindful and present, whether through a meditation practice or through a nature walk.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Vesak!

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Guru Purnima

OBSERVANCE

JULY 13, 2022

Jul. 2, 2023
Jul. 20, 2024
Jul. 10, 2025

Guru Purnima (goo-ruh pur-nee-MA) is traditionally celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists, to pay their respects to their teachers (gurus) and express their gratitude. For Hindus, they honor Sage Vyasa who is honored as the compiler of the Vedic literatures. Buddhists honor Lord Buddha and Jains acknowledge it as the day Mahavir made his first follower, Gautam Swami. This is the day to recognize the many teachers who have enlightened you in some way or another.

PARTICIPATE

Honor teachers and leaders that have made a difference in your life.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Guru Purnima! Thank you for all you have taught me!

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Asalha Puja

BUDDHIST OBSERVANCE

JULY 13, 2022

Jul. 23, 2023
Jul. 21, 2024
Jul. 10, 2025

Asalha Puja or Dharma Day is recognized as the day in which Buddha delivered the first sermon after his enlightenment and shared his core teachings. As this occurance eventually led to the spread of Buddhism, many honor this day as the beginning of the Buddhist religion. Buddha’s sermon was described as “setting into motion the wheel of dharma” and the four noble truths were shared. The teachings and practices that the Buddha revealed as well as his description of reality are called Dharma. Observers may participate by making offerings to the monks.

PARTICIPATE

Dharma Day is a chance to express gratitude to those that have shared their knowledge with others.

SUGGESTED GREETING

With palms pressed together, bow and say, “Namaste.”

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Raksha Bandhan

OBSERVANCE

AUGUST 11, 2022

Aug. 30, 2023
Aug. 19, 2024
Aug. 8, 2025

Raksha Bandhan (ruk-SHA-bun-dhun), or Rakhi, is a holiday which celebrates sibling bonds. Sisters tie a decorative, sacred thread on the right wrist of their brothers, cousins, and other close male friends, followed by prayers for their protection and well-being while sweets are exchanged. In return, brothers give their sisters small tokens or gifts of appreciation. Today, Raksha Bandhan has evolved into a holiday empowering significant relationships between cousins, same-sex siblings, and friends.

PARTICIPATE

Express gratitude to a colleague or classmate.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Rakhi (or Rakhri)!
Happy Raksha Bandhan!

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Krishna Janmashtami

DEITY CELEBRATION

AUGUST 18, 2022

Sep. 6, 2023
Aug. 26, 2024
Aug. 15, 2025

Krishna Janmashtami (krish-NAH jun-MASH-ta-mee) honors the life of Lord Krishna and often falls between August and September. Lord Krishna is one of the most endeared incarnations of Vishnu and has played various roles during his stay in the world, including deliverer of the Bhagavad Gita (a sacred spiritual and philosophical text). Lord Krishna is regarded by many as the embodiment of bhakti or spiritual yoga. Many will sing songs or read scriptures till midnight to remember the lessons of his life.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Janmasthami! I hope and pray that the blessings of Lord Krishna may always be with you!

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Paryushana

JAIN OBSERVANCE

AUGUST 23, 2022

Sep. 11, 2023
Aug. 30, 2024
Aug. 19, 2025

Considered one of the most important Jain holidays, Paryushana is an eight-to-ten day observance used as an intense time for study, reflection, purification, confession, and forgiveness. Paryushan translates to “coming together” which is evident in daily meditations and prayers for guidance. These daily sessions may be conducted alone or with others. Many Jains will also follow a very simple diet. This time is also known as the ‘Festival of Forgiveness.’

PARTICIPATE

Ask for forgiveness from a colleague or friend that you may have upset.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Paryushan Mahaparva!
Micchami Dukkadam! May all my errors be forgiven.

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Ganesh Chaturthi

DEITY CELEBRATION

AUGUST 30, 2022

Sep. 18, 2023
Sep. 06, 2024
Sep. 26, 2025

Ganesh Chaturthi (guh-NESH cha-TUR-thee) is a festival that pays homage to Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, and celebrates the day of his birth. Born to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, his name derives from ‘gana’ meaning the common people and so his name translates to ‘Lord of the People’ as well as ‘Lord of the Ganas.’ Many recognize that Lord Ganesh brings order in this universe and worship him before embarking on a new endeavor, intellectual journey, or business enterprise. Therefore, it is common to see images or statues of him in these places.

PARTICIPATE

Bring in doughnut holes as modaks (fried sweet dumplings) are Lord Ganesh’s favorite food.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Vinayak Chaturthi!
Om Gan Ganapaty Namo Namah!

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Onam

FESTIVAL

SEPTEMBER 7, 2022

Aug. 28, 2023
Sep. 14, 2024
Sep. 4, 2025

Onam (OH-num) is an annual Hindu festival, which usually falls between August and September, and is celebrated for ten days. In India’s southern state of Kerala, Onam is considered a state festival. It commemorates New Year’s Day and is also recognized as a harvest festival with celebrations centered around devotion and selflessness. Keralities celebrate with athletic competitions, colorful flower arrangements, artistic performances, and elephant processions.

PARTICIPATE

Create a rangoli (colored patterns of flowers, powder, rice, or sand made on the floor) adding one layer for each of the ten days of Onam.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Onam!
Wishing you and your family a festive Onam!

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Pitru Paksha

OBSERVANCE

SEPTEMBER 9–24, 2022

Sep. 28–Oct. 13, 2023
Sep. 17–Oct. 1, 2024
Sep. 6–20, 2025

Pitru Paksha (PIT-ru puk-shuh) is a period of 15 days dedicated to ancestors who have left their physical bodies by offering respects and honoring their lives. This period tribute is also referred to as Shraddha (shr-A-dh) as shraddha translates to food offering and is one of the intergral parts of the rituals. It is considered inauspicious to carry out any rituals such as housewarming, engagement, marriage, etc. during Pitru Paksh. Instead, Hindus use this time to remember and reflect.

PARTICIPATE

Set up a fundraiser for someone who is in need of health care.

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Durga Puja

DEITY CELEBRATION

SEPTEMBER 30–OCTOBER 4, 2022

Oct. 19–23, 2023
Oct. 8–12, 2024
Sep. 27–Oct. 1, 2025

Durga Puja is a celebration of the Goddess Durga — who represents the embodiment of Shakti, the powerful feminine force that governs all cosmic creation, existence, and change — and her victory over a demon named Mahishasura. She is said to have descended from her home in Kailash with Lord Shiva to her maternal home on Earth. Durga Puja starts after the completion of Pitru Paksh and is celebrated during Navratri. During this time, people will recite prayers, perform rituals, and sing songs dedicated to her. This celebration is especially significant in the Indian state of Bengal and Nepal.

PARTICIPATE

Recognize nine female leaders who have made a international, national, or local impact.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Greetings on Durga Puja.
Have a joyous Durga Puja!
Wishing you a Happy Durga Puja!

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Gandhi Jayanti

OBSERVANCE

OCTOBER 2, 2022

Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated annually on October 2nd.

A national holiday celebrated across India, Gandhi Jayanti (GAHN-dhee jay-UHN-tee) marks the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the ‘Father of the Nation.’ To honor Gandhi’s message of ahimsa (non-violence), volunteer events, commemorative ceremonies, painting, and essay competitions are conducted. Statues of Gandhi are also decorated with flower garlands. The United Nations declared October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence each year in honor of Gandhi, whose work continues to inspire civil rights movements across the world.

PARTICIPATE

Watch a documentary on Gandhi’s life.
Engage in protecting civil rights by donating your time or funds to a cause that you are inspired by.

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Dusshera

DEITY CELEBRATION

OCTOBER 4, 2022

Oct. 23, 2023
Oct. 12, 2024
Oct. 1, 2025

Dussehra (duh-sheh-RAH) or Vijayadashmi (vi-juhyuh-dushuh-mee) celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over the ten-headed demon King Ravana. This also marks the end of Ramalila — a brief retelling of Rama, Sita, and Lakshman’s story, which is often in the form of dramatic retellings or dance. It also signifies the end of negativity and evil within us (vices, biases, prejudices) for a fresh new beginning. Dusshera often coincides with the end of Navaratri and Duga Puja, and serves as a reminder that good always prevails over evil.

PARTICIPATE

Hold friendly competitions to build stronger connection among colleagues team members, or groups of students.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Dussehra! May the truth always win and good triumph over evil!
Happy Vijayadashami!

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Karwa Chauth

OBSERVANCE

October 12, 2022

Oct. 31, 2023
Oct. 19, 2024
Oct. 9, 2025

Karwa Chauth or Karva Chauth (kuhr-vah-CHOATH) is a North Indian holiday in which wives fast for the longevity and health of their husbands, however, many unmarried women celebrate in hopes of meeting their ideal life partner. Typically, wives spend the day preparing gifts to exchange, and fasting until the moon is visible. It is believed that its light symbolizes love and blessings of a happy life. While there are varying legends behind this holiday’s traditions and meaning, the message of honoring of relationships women form with their family and community prevails.

PARTICIPATE

Thank the people in your life who wish you well.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Karwa Chauth!

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Diwali

FESTIVAL

October 24, 2022

Nov. 12, 2023
Nov. 1, 2024
Oct. 24, 2025

One of the most celebrated Hindu festivals, Diwali (dee-VAH-lee) or Deepavali (dee-PAH-va-lee) commemorates the victory of good over evil during the course of five days. The word refers to rows of diyas — or clay lamps — which are put all around homes and places of worship. The light from these lamps symbolizes the illumination within all of us, which can overcome ignorance, represented by darkness. Devotees gather in local temples, homes, or community centers, to spend time with loved ones, make positive goals, and appreciate life.

PARTICIPATE

Host a Diwali party or gathering. Have HAF do a presentation on Diwali to your workplace or school.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Diwali!
Shubh Deepavali!
May your Diwali be lit!

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Nanak Jayanti

SIKH OBSERVANCE

November 7, 2022

Nov. 26, 2023
Nov. 15, 2024
Nov. 5, 2025

Nanak Jayanti honors the birthday of Guru Nanak — the first guru of Sikhism. Guru Nakak travelled across India and was deeply influenced by both the Bhakti and Sufi traditions. Sikhism shares Hindu concepts of karma, dharma, maya, and samsara (reincarnation). Nanak Jayanti is celebrated by Sikhs as well as Sindhi, Punjabi, and Afghan Hindus. Festivities include processions, food donation, and community service.

PARTICIPATE

Use this day to promote community service or hold as a day of service.

SUGGESTED GREETING

Happy Guru Nanak Jayanti!
Happy Gurpurab!

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Gita Jayanti

DEITY CELEBRATION

December 3, 2022

Dec. 22, 2023
Dec. 11, 2024
Nov. 30, 2025

Gita Jayanti, or Gita Mahotsav, celebrates the day Lord Krishna began the recitation of the Bhagavad Gita to Prince Arjuna, in the historical epic, the Mahabharata. The Bhagavad Gita is a sacred and spiritual Hindu philosophical text which explains the truth of life and the philosophy of Yoga and Dharma. On this day, pujas are performed and devotional songs are sung to encourage people to lead brave and positive lives. Many will also recite the Gita Aarti (prayer) and read through key passages of the Bhagavad Gita.

PARTICIPATE

Read and reflect on passages from the Bhagavad Gita.

SUGGESTED GREETING

May Lord Krishna be with you during this Gita Jayanti!
Wishing you a happy Gita Jayanti!

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If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to us at education@hinduamerican.org.