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Hanuman Jayanthi
hanuman jayanthi Hanuman Jayanthi is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman, the son of Vayu God of winds and Anjana, the monkey god widely venerated throughout India. It is celebrated during Chaitra and is especially important to Brahmacharis, wrestlers and bodybuilders. Hanuman was an ardent devotee of Rama, and is worshipped for his unflinching devotion to the god. From the early morning, devotees flock Hanuman temples to worship the monkey god. The officiating priest bathes the idol and offers special prayers to the gods. Then the entire body is smeared with sindoora and oil, a symbol of life and strength. According to a popular belief, once when Sita was applying sindoora to her hair, Hanuman asked her the reason for doing so. She replied that by applying sindoora, she ensured a long life for her husband. The more sindoora she applied, the longer Rama's life would be. The devoted Hanuman then smeared his entire body with sindoora, in an effort to ensure Rama's immortality. Hence Hanuman's idol is always daubed with sindoora.

People offer sweets and fruit, especially bananas, to the god. Since Hanuman is a monkey god, monkeys in zoos and neighboring areas are also objects of veneration on this day. Men also fast from morning till evening. In some parts of the country, especially Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the festival involves more elaborate celebrations. Huge tents are erected in front of Hanuman temples where people congregate to listen to recitations of the Hanuman Chalisa.

Entertainment programmes are organized on this occasion, the nautanki in Uttar Pradesh and the jatrain Bihar being the most popular. These dramas represent a particular aspect of the life of Hanuman, especially emphasizing his devotional nature and his bravery. Many people congregate to watch these programmes. Games like wrestling are a common part of this festival. Body-builders and wrestlers assemble at a wrestling field in the morning after praying for blessings from the monkey god. A tilak of orange sindoora from Hanuman's body is applied to their forehead, for it is considered to be auspicious and bestow good luck.

Wrestling commences with both wrestlers crying 'Jai Hanuman' or 'Hail Hanuman'. The winner is rewarded handsomely on this occasion. Other daring games like balancing an immensely heavy stone on one's chest, and pulling a heavy jeep or car with one's teeth are also popular nowadays. All these events represent the power and strength that Hanuman symbolizes.

The cult of Hanuman is fairly strong in India and hence Hanuman Jayanthi is an important festival. Hanuman is the symbol of strength and energy. As an unmarried, celibate god, he is especially popular with body-builders, who believe that like him, one needs to be celibate in order to have a strong body. Hanuman is said to be able to assume any form at will, wield rocks, move mountains, dart through the air, seize the clouds and rival Vishnu's bird, Garuda in swiftness off light. He is worshipped in folk tradition as a deity with magical powers and the ability to conquer evil spirits.
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