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Hindu Festivals

Course Syllabus

This course surveys some main Hindu festivals: their cultural, traditional, religious and devotional/spiritual origins; their developments, celebrations and rationales. The principal idea here is to understand and explore the significance of the festivals and thereby go towards understanding the Hindu identity. Discussions include various categories of festivals; seasonal such as Vasant Panchami, Baisakhi, Pongal-Samkranti, Yugadi, Navaratri, Sharad Purnima, Guru Pūrnima; devotional festivals such as AmarnathYatra (Kashmir), RathYatra (Puri), Shivratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dussehra-DurgaPūjā, Diwali, Rama Navami, KriṣhṇaJanamashtami; birthdays of Buddha, Mahavir, and Guru Nanak; social festivals like Holi, Teej, RakshaBandhan; Kumbha and Kumbhi.

The course will provide significant knowledge and insight into a range of topics concerning the philosophies and the mythology of Hindu Dharma underlying the festival origin. It will provide an understanding of the beliefs and values of the Hindu traditions and also encourage you to think about the meaning and significance of these ideas in your own life and for the world as a whole.No previous study of either Hinduism or religion is presumed, and there are no prerequisites for enrolling in the course.

The course consists of six sessions delivered on a weekly basis.

Course Topics:

  • Topic One: What is Hinduism? Basic Hinduism FAQs.
  • Topic Two: A brief synopsis of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
  • Topic Three: An overview of Hindu festivals.
  • Topic Four: Hindu traditions, rituals and customs as they relate to festivals.
  • Topic Five: Detailed discussions on festivals, their origins and significance.
  • Topic Six: Hindu festivals and Hindu identity.


(1) Regular class attendance is obviously a must. Although the format will vary from week to week, depending on the material being covered, in general we will divide our time equally between background information/lecture, videos, and discussion of the reading. Please be sure to attend class each week ready to discuss the assigned material.

(2) There will be two exams, due as indicated in the syllabus below.

(3) There will be one final essay consisting of 2000 words. The essay topic shall be related to Hindu festivals and will be of your own choosing. The essay topic shall be selected in consultation and approval by the instructor.

(4) Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the expectations of academic honesty found in the International Hindu University(IHU) Catalog. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense, and all cases—without exception—will be reported to the IHU School administration.

Grading: Your overall grade for the course will be calculated as follows:

First exam          25%
Second exam       25%
Final essay       35%
Class participation        15%

Required Reading (Purchase of Books optional):

  1. Holy Hindu Festivals, Himalayan Academy publication ebook :
  2. Hindu Fasts and Festivals:
  3. Inside Hinduism ebook, Ch 3 and 4:
  4. 51 Hindu Festivals & Fairs (Illustrated) (Festivals of India) [Kindle Edition], Vyanst (Author), Praful B (Editor), Gurivi G (Illustrator), ISBN: 1505676843, Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  5. The Book of Hindu Festivals and Ceremonies, (UBS Publishers’ Distributors, Jan 1, 1997), ISBN 8174761632, 9788174761637
  6. Fairs and Festivals of India, PustakMahal 2006, ISBN 8122309518, 9788122309515
  7. Festivals of India:
  8. Hinduism at a Glance:
  9. Basics of Hinduism:
  10. Hindu Festivals & Holidays:
  11. Culture of India:
  12. Hindu Culture:
  13. Celebrations- Major Hindu Festivals:
  14. Hindu Gods and Goddesses:
  15. Hinduism Festivals:


International Hindu University is a not-for-profit, post-secondary degree-granting institution recognized by the Florida Department of Education and Florida Commission on Independent Education under the authority of Florida State Statutes, Section 1005.06.

Vison of IHU

Uniting ancient spiritual and religious wisdom of the East with the curiosity of the West, IHU is dedicated to the emergence of Hindu Dharma in a world in need of peace, co-existence, and mutual respect. We welcome students of all ages, faiths, disciplines, and degrees to join us in exploring the modern legacy of the oldest religion on earth.

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International Hindu University

5340 North Federal Highway, Lighthouse Point, Florida 33064


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