July, the seventh month in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars, spans a duration of 31 days. Originally named Quintilis, denoting its position as the fifth month in a calendar commencing with March, it underwent a transformation in 44 B.C. when the Roman Senate, in tribute to the birth of General Julius Caesar, bestowed upon it the name we recognize today.
This midsummer month holds the distinction of being the warmest across much of the Northern Hemisphere, signifying the zenith of summer. Conversely, in a mirroring pattern for the Southern Hemisphere, July is the second month of winter. As July unfolds, it marks the commencement of the second half of the calendar year. Notably, for those residing in the Southern Hemisphere, July aligns with the seasonal characteristics of January in the Northern Hemisphere. Thus, July serves as a pivotal point, bridging the warmth of summer and the chill of winter across the hemispheric divide.
Jagannath Rath Yatra, the most awaited Hindu festival, will be celebrated on 7th July 2024, Sunday. The festival is also known as Chariot Festival or Car Festival and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and zeal all over the country.
The festival celebrates the journey of Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra from their home, the Jagannath Temple, to their maternal aunt's place, the Gundicha Temple.
The three deities are placed on different chariots where all three chariots are known by their own names, and a large number of devotees pull the chariot.
Nandighosh, the chariot of Lord Jagannath, which is 45 feet high with 16 wheels, Taladhwaja, the chariot of Lord Balabhadra, which is 45.6 feet high with 14 wheels and Devadalan, the chariot of Lord Subhadra, which is 44.6 feet high with 12 wheels.
The chariots are colourfully decorated by artists from Puri and the construction of the chariots for the yatra begins well in advance.
Devshayani Ekadashi is the day when Lord Vishnu, along with his consort Goddess Lakshmi goes into yogic sleep, called Yoga-Nidra. He rests for four months on the coiled body of his serpent, Sheshnag, in Kshirsagar of the cosmic ocean.
Meanwhile, Lord Shiva takes care of the entire universe. Devshayani Ekadashi is observed on the eleventh date of Shukla Paksha of Ashadha (June-July) month.
This year Devshayani Ekadashi will be celebrated on 17th July 2024, Wednesday.
The four months of lord Vishnu’s Yoga-Nidra mark the starting month of Chaturmas, which includes Shravan, Bhadrapad, Ashwin and Kartik (August, September, October, November and December). Devshayani Ekadashi is celebrated all over India with great enthusiasm and strong belief.
Every year, Guru Purnima is celebrated on the Purnima (full moon) of Ashadha (June–July) as per the Hindu calendar. This year Guru Purnima will be celebrated on 21st July, 2024. Guru is derived from Sanskrit, where "Gu" means darkness and "Ru" means remover of darkness.
This festival is celebrated to honor and worship the gurus (teachers). Guru Purnima is also the birth anniversary of the famous sage Ved Vyas; hence this day is also known as Vyas Purnima. On this day, devotees take a holy bath and follow a satvik diet.
People also visit the temples of spiritual gurus and offer them sweets, fruits and Dakshina. Guru Purnima is an auspicious festival of Hindus, Jains and Buddhism and is widely celebrated in India, Bhutan and Nepal.