How is Hanuman Jayanti Celebrated ?•
Posted on March 21 2022
Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated as a major Indian festival by Hindus to celebrate the birth of Lord Hanuman, the God of strength and wisdom. The day is celebrated in South India on Chaitra Poornima while North Indians observe this day on Krishna Paksh or Narak Chaturdashi in the month of Kartik. The festival marks an occasion to recall Hanuman’s undeterred devotion to Lord Rama and all His daring feats.
According to Hindus, there are two days associated with Hanuman Jayanti. One of them marks his birth while the other represents Hanuman Vijayam or the Victory of Hanuman. Hanuman Vijayam is observed on a Tuesday in the Hindu calendar month of Chaitra.
Hindus are of the belief that the lord was born on a Saturday at sunrise to Kesari and Anjana when Anjana was engrossed in meditation to Rudra to be blessed with a child on the top of the Anjadhari Hill. She is believed to have been engaged in meditation for 12 long years. This year Hanuman Jayanti, the day marking the Lord’s birth falls on 16th April 2022.
Devotees perform several rituals to show their dedication to their beloved God. This includes observing a fast. While people in North India observe the fast on the day of Hanuman Jayanti, those from West India undertake the fast the previous day. This is followed by a bath after waking up early in the morning before they proceed with the remaining rituals.
Worshippers bathe an idol or statue of the lord and offer Him vermillion or sindoor as this is considered to be His personal favourite. They offer sandalwood, raw milk and other items as abhishek. Fruits, medu vadas and sweets are placed in front of the idol or photo as prasad. They also chant mantras or slokas of the lord. After the pooja, worshippers take a bit of the sindoor from the feet of the Lord and put it on their foreheads. They believe that by doing so, they will be blessed with good health and good luck.
The celebrations in temples dedicated to Lord Hanuman start early in the morning at crack of dawn. The purohit or priest bathes the idol and coats it with white butter. Usually, this coating is a thick layer. In some temples, the idol is decorated with various fruits that gives it a colourful appearance. It is a common sight in South Indian temples to find a garland of medu vadas around the lord’s neck. These vadas are distributed to the devotees after the evening pooja.
Apart from slokas or mantras, devotees also recite the Hanuman Chalisa and read the Sunder Kand or the Akhand Path from the Ram Charitra Manas at dawn with utmost fervour. They believe that the God is pleased with those who do the recitation or reading with true devotion and blesses them. This is followed by an arti. The prasad distribution is done after the chants or recitations and arti are over.
Hanuman Jayanti celebrations take place in various ways in the different states of South India based on the religious beliefs of devotees and the calendars followed by them.
In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, devotees celebrate Hanuman Jayanti on the new moon day of Margashirsha Amavasya. According to the Gregorian calendar, this day occurs towards the second half of December or the first half of January.
In Telengana and Andhra Pradesh, the festival is celebrated over a span of 41 days. The celebrations commence on Chaitra Purnima and culminate in Vaishaka month during Krishna Paksha on the tenth day. Devotees observe a 41-day deeksha that ends on Hanuman Jayanti Day.
In Karnataka, worshippers celebrate this day in the Hindu month of Margashirsha like their neighbouring state Tamil Nadu. However, the day is observed on Shukla Paksha Trayodashi. The people of this state refer to this day as Hanuman Vratam.
People of some communities celebrate Hanuman Jayanti on the day just before Diwali/Deepavali.
There are several stories associated with the birth of Lord Hanuman. According to one of them, Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya was performing a Putrakama yagna to be blessed with children. This was at the same time Anjana was meditating for the same purpose. At the end of the yagna, a heavenly being came from the sacrificial fire and presented the king with a bowl of kheer to be divided equally among his three wives. He did so and all his three wives were about to consume the kheer when a bird suddenly knocked the bowl one of his wives had in her hands and proceeded to the forest. There was some kheer still stuck on the bird.
Lord Vayu, the Wind God under Lord Shiva’s instructions used His power to direct the kheer towards Anjana and dropped it into her outstretched hands. She consumed it at once without any hesitation. As a result, Lord Hanuman was born. Since Lord Vayu was the reason why Anjana consumed the kheer and had a son, Hanuman is also known as Vayu putra or Pavan putra among his devotees. Vayu also blessed Hanuman that he would be blessed with speed, intelligence, strength and courage along with the ability to fly.
There is an interesting legend associated with the lord’s love for sindoor and why it is smeared on his body on Hanuman Jayanti. It is believed that the lord once saw Maa Sita Devi put some sindoor on her forehead. He was curious to know why she did this every day and He asked her about this one day. She replied that she did this for the long life of her husband, Lord Rama. This made the God who considered himself to be Lord Rama’s biggest devotee very happy. He immediately took some sindoor from Sita Devi and smeared it all over His body to ensure the immortality of His favourite God.
Worshippers believe that praying to Hanuman with utmost devotion on Hanuman Jayanti helps them to be blessed by the God with solutions to overcome the obstacles that they encounter in their lives.
Written by Deepthi K