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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Charlie Duffield

What is Hanuman Jayanti? Hindus celebrate festival in honour of their heroic god

Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on April 6 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Lord Hanuman. It takes place during the Hindu month of Chaitra and the festival can last a single day or as many as 41 days. People share quotes, messages and wishes to express their devotion towards Lord Hanuman.

Here’s everything you need to know about Hanuman Jayanti.

What is Hanuman Jayanti?

Hanuman Jayanti is an important day in the Hindu religion, which marks the birth of Lord Hanuman on the Anhaneri mountain. He is thought to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva, and was born to Vanar Raj Kesari and Mother Anjani. He is the monkey god, and recognised for his selfless service and courage.

Lord Hanuman was devoted to Rama, who is an incarnation of Vishnu, one of Hinduism’s principal deities and the supreme god in Vaishnavism. He is a key figure in the poem Ramayana, which describes Rama’s war with the demon king Ravana, who abducted his wife.

Hanuman led his monkey army against Ravana and played a key role in saving Rama’s wife, Sita.

What is the legend of Hanuman?

A lot of people remember Hanuman’s mischievous character, which was evident in his childhood. According to one story, he travelled over mountains, climbing higher in the sky to taste the Sun, thinking it was a piece of fruit.

Rahu, the malefic planet, travelled towards the Sun to form an eclipse and saw Hanuman. He attempted to stop Hanuman but was unable to, as the latter was stronger than he was. Rahu approached Lord Indra, the King of Gods, for assistance and, to fix the problem, Indradev threw his Vajra (thunderbolt weapon), which hit Hanuman, making him go numb.

Hanuman was an avatar of Vayudev, who when he found out Hanuman was unconscious on the ground, he was so angry he made life difficult for people on Earth.

Soon the gods understood their mistake and brought Hanuman back to life.

How is Hanuman Jayanti celebrated?

This religious festival involves worship, offerings, mantra chanting and other devotions.

In India, the festival is celebrated by people offering prayers to Lord Hanuman in different ways. Some observe a fast to commemorate the birth anniversary of Lord Hanuman, while others might visit temples, organise food stalls or distribute food among those in need.

During Hanuman Jayanti, Hindus flock to temples and apply a red tilak (mark) to their foreheads called sindoor in honour of the god; according to Hindu mythology, Hanuman was born with skin of an orange-ish red colour. Temple priests share prasad (food presented as an offering), which may include sweets or fruits.

A typical greeting is something like, “May the blessings of Lord Hanuman bring peace and harmony to your life. Happy Hanuman Jayanti!”

It is also said that reciting Hanuman Chalisa continuously can aid in removing misery and gaining magical powers.

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