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Jallianwala Bagh Massacre: Some lesser-known facts about the 1919 tragedy

Jallianwala Bagh massacre or Jallianwala Bagh 'hatyakand' that took place on April 13, 1919, in Amritsar, Punjab marking a turning point in India’s struggle for independence. Hundreds of innocent Indians died on the day and thousands injured. The British troops had fired on a large crowd of unarmed Indians in an open space known as the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in the Punjab region (now in Punjab state) of India. The incident was epitome of brutalities inflicted upon the Indians during British colonial rule.  What exactly happened: A large, peaceful crowd had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh during annual Baishakhi fair, to protest against the arrest of the two nationalist leaders Satya Pal and Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew on 13th April 1919. Suddenly a British military officer General Dyer entered the park with the troops. Without any warning to the people he ordered his troops to open fire on an unarmed crowd. The troops kept on firing until their ammunition was exhausted. The Jallianwala Bagh could only be exited on one side, as its other three sides were enclosed by buildings. After blocking the exit with his troops, the British General first blocked the exit with his troops and then ordered them to shoot at the crowd.  It is not certain how many died in the bloodbath, but estimated death count vary from 379 to 1,500 or more, and about 1,200 more were wounded. After the British soldiers ceased firing, they immediately withdrew from the place, leaving behind the dead and wounded.  Turning point in India's freedom struggle: This massacre exposed the inhuman approach of the British. The massacre aroused the fury of the Indian people and the government replied with further brutalities. However, it caused many moderate Indians to abandon their previous loyalty to the British and become nationalists distrustful of British rule. It fuelled greater nationalist zeal among the Indian populace leading to the launch of the non-cooperation movement. Many historians consider the event a decisive step towards the end of British rule in India. About 21 years later, on 13 March 1940, Udham Singh, an Indian revolutionary, shot Michael O’Dwyer dead who was the Lt. Governor of Punjab at the time of the Jalliawala Bagh massacre.     

12 April,2024 10:07 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Children from Dawoodi Bohra community greet each other ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr festival during the holy month of Ramzan, in Surat on Tuesday, April 9. Pic/PTI

What is Eid ul-Fitr and how it is celebrated by Muslims across the world

Eid ul-Fitr is an Islamic festival that marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk each day. It is the first time Muslims can eat during daylight hours after fasting during Ramadan. The translation of “Eid ul-Fitr” from Arabic sums up the holiday as it means “festival of breaking the fast.” Eid ul-Fitr is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, which is the tenth month in the Muslim (lunar) calendar. This means that the timing of Eid ul-Fitr (and Ramadan) is different every year as it is based on the lunar cycle. It does not begin until the new moon is seen, which means it starts at different times for different Muslims around the world. However, some Muslims choose to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr when the new moon first appears over Mecca instead of their own locations. For 2024, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar have declared that Eid will be celebrated on April 10. The crescent moon was not spotted in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Lucknow. Hence, Eid celebrations will be held on April 11. Several cities in India confirmed the moonsighting on April 9, which means that Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated in those areas on April 10. Muslims around the world perform communal prayer at daybreak on the first day of Eid ul-Fitr, after cleansing themselves and donning new clothes. They then continue to celebrate for three days. A common greeting during Eid ul-Fitr is “Eid Mubarak,” which means “Blessed Eid.” This greeting is used to wish other Muslims well during Eid.  These celebrations during Eid ul-Fitr vary from country to country but include visiting family and friends, giving presents, enjoying feasts, wearing new clothes, and visiting the graves of relatives. Through these celebrations, Muslims show their gratitude to Allah after reflecting and fasting during Ramadan.  This holiday is also a reminder for Muslims to be grateful for what they have as well as to help the less fortunate. 

09 April,2024 11:05 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Representational Pic/File

Eid-ul-Fitr 2024: Significance of one of Muslim's most important festivals

After a month long fasting during Ramadan, the Muslim community around the world prepares to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, one of Muslim's most important festivals. Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated upon the completion of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, prayer, and contemplation observed by Muslims around the world.  The Eid holiday is deeply religious and culturally significant, representing spiritual renewal, gratitude, and community harmony. The Muslims begin the day of Eid with morning prayers. Muslims congregate for special prayers known as Salat al-Eid or Eid prayers, which are held in mosques or open fields to praise Allah for His blessings and request forgiveness for any shortcomings throughout Ramadan. The festival begins with the sighting of the new moon, which marks the end of Ramadan and the start of Shawwal, the tenth month on the Islamic lunar calendar. One of the most treasured parts of Eid-ul-Fitr is the attitude of kindness and compassion that pervades the festivities. Muslims are encouraged to do Zakat al-Fitr, a type of almsgiving, so that the less fortunate members of the community might join in the festivities.  The act of giving promotes solidarity and compassion exemplifying Islam's teachings on social justice and caring for others. Eid-ul-Fitr reflects Islam's essential principles of faith, compassion, generosity, and community. It highlights the value of spiritual commitment, social duty and unity in the pursuit of morality and justice. Another important aspect of Eid-ul-Fitr is the festive feasting and gift exchanging amongst family and friends. After a month of fasting from dawn to sunset, Muslims gather to enjoy wonderful meals and sweet desserts as a symbol of Allah's wealth of blessings. Traditional foods vary by culture and area, but the attitude of hospitality and charity is universal. Eid-ul-Fitr is said to be a time for Muslims to reconcile and forgive as they strive to repair relationships and establish friendships with loved ones. It is an opportunity to let go of grudges, heal conflicts and spread love and goodwill. Beyond its religious significance, Eid-ul-Fitr is also culturally significant, representing a vibrant manifestation of Muslim identity and tradition. From bright dress and festive decorations to gatherings. Eid celebrations foster a sense of connection among Muslims around the world.

09 April,2024 08:44 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Representational Pic/File

Solar Eclipse 2024: Precautions for safe witnessing of Surya Grahan

As the solar eclipse approaches, sky gazers prepare to view the celestial marvel. The solar eclipse, also known as Surya Grahan, is scheduled to occur on April 8, providing a unique opportunity to view the alignment of the sun, moon, and the earth. While watching solar eclipse can be an incredible experience, it is also important to take the proper precautions to protect your safety during the phenomenon.  Experts suggest the necessity of protecting one's eyes and taking adequate precautions to minimize potential damage during solar eclipse. Here are some essential precautions to keep in mind while witnessing the solar eclipse: Wearing solar eclipse proof viewing glasses is vital for protecting your eyes from the harmful effects of direct sunlight. Regular sunglasses or handmade filters could be insufficient to protect one's eyes during a solar eclipse. To safely observe the sun, one must wear only glasses that fulfill the required safety standards. A viewer must avoid direct view of the sun with naked eye, even during a partial eclipse. Doing so could result in eye injury or in some cases irreversible vision loss. Instead, one must use solar viewing glasses or other safe viewing devices to see the eclipse. Another safe option to watch the solar eclipse is with a pinhole projector. This simple contraption lets you project an image of the sun onto a surface, such as paper or cardboard. Instructions for creating pinhole projectors are widely available online and can be built even at home. If seeing the eclipse in person is not possible, one must consider watching live streams or broadcasts of the event. Many astronomy groups and media sites broadcast live coverage of solar eclipses, allowing you to observe the spectacle from the comfort and safety of your own home. If one intends to shoot or record the solar eclipse, employ suitable solar filters or lenses to safeguard your camera equipment. Directly pointing cameras or telescopes at the sun without sufficient filtration can damage the equipment and potentially harm the photographer's eyes. During the solar eclipse, one must keep pets and animals indoors to avoid mistakenly staring at the sun and hurting their eyes. It is suggested to provide them with a safe and comfortable inside environment until the eclipse is over.

07 April,2024 08:19 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Representational Image. Pic/Pixabay

Easter 2024: Date, celebrations and rituals, here's all you need to know

As Easter approaches in 2024, it’s a time for Christians worldwide to celebrate one of the most significant events in their faith – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But beyond its religious significance, Easter has become a culturally rich holiday celebrated by people of various beliefs. Here’s a comprehensive guide to all you need to know about Easter 2024: Easter 2024: Easter’s Origins and Significance Easter, also known as Resurrection Sunday, commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, as described in the New Testament of the Bible. It is Christianity’s oldest and most important festival, symbolising new life, hope, and redemption. Easter 2024: Dates and Observances This year, Easter is going to be celebrated on March 31, 2024. The date varies each year because it is based on the lunar calendar, specifically the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The week leading up to Easter Sunday is known as Holy Week, which includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Easter 2024: Religious Traditions For Christians, Easter Sunday begins with sunrise services and church gatherings to celebrate the resurrection. Many churches hold special services, including the lighting of the Paschal candle and the recitation of the Exsultet. Easter eggs, symbolizing new life, are often decorated and exchanged, while Easter lilies adorn churches as a symbol of purity and hope. Easter 2024: Secular Celebrations Beyond its religious roots, Easter has evolved into a secular holiday celebrated with various customs and traditions. One of the most popular activities is the Easter egg hunt, where children search for hidden eggs filled with candy or small toys. Decorating Easter eggs, baking festive treats like hot cross buns and Easter cakes, and hosting family gatherings are common secular traditions. Easter 2024: Global Customs and Festivities Easter is celebrated around the world, each culture adding its unique customs and festivities. In Greece, the tradition of “tsougrisma” involves cracking red-dyed eggs to symbolize the cracking open of Christ’s tomb. In Spain and Mexico, elaborate processions and reenactments of the Passion of Christ take place. In the United States, the White House hosts its annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn. Easter 2024: Symbols and Iconography Several symbols are associated with Easter, each carrying its own meaning. The Easter bunny, a symbol of fertility and new life, is a prominent figure in secular Easter celebrations. Easter baskets filled with goodies represent abundance and blessings. The lamb symbolizes Jesus as the “Lamb of God,” while the cross represents his crucifixion and resurrection. Easter 2024: Reflection and Renewal Easter is not only a time for celebration but also for reflection and renewal. It’s an opportunity for individuals to contemplate the themes of resurrection, forgiveness, and redemption, regardless of their religious beliefs. Many people use this time to engage in acts of charity and kindness, spreading love and goodwill within their communities. In conclusion, Easter 2024 is a time for both religious observance and cultural celebration, marked by traditions that span centuries and continents. Whether participating in religious ceremonies, engaging in secular festivities, or simply taking time for personal reflection, Easter offers an opportunity for individuals and communities to come together in hope, joy, and renewal.

28 March,2024 02:39 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Representational Pic/Atul Kamble

Rangpanchami 2024: All you may need to know about the festival

Rangpanchami is celebrated with intensity and excitement, occurs five days after Holi. Rangpanchami, derived from the Sanskrit words "rang" (color) and "panchami" (fifth), is celebrated on the fifth day following Holi and marks the end of the Holi celebrations. This auspicious day is deeply culturally significant, representing the onset of spring and the triumph of virtue over evil. As communities around India prepare to celebrate this colorful extravaganza, here is all you may need to know about the festival and its rich traditions. One of the most significant differences between Holi and Rangapanchami is the time of the events. While Holi is often celebrated across two days, Rangapanchami falls exactly on the fifth day after the full moon, according to the Hindu lunar calendar. This usually occurs in March or April, depending on the lunar cycle. Another significant difference is the way colors are used during Rangapanchami. Rangapanchami adopts a more restrained approach to color play than Holi, which involves exciting color wars with dry or wet powder. People frequently smear one other with dry or wet colors, though the intensity of the color play is usually lower than it is during Holi. Rangpanchami is known for its fun splashing of brilliant colors, with people of all ages taking to the streets to douse each other with colored powders and water. The air is filled with laughing, music, and the festive energy of the occasion. Communities come together to celebrate Rangpanchami with gusto, arranging cultural events, processions, and street plays to highlight India's rich cultural past. These events build a sense of community and friendship among the attendees. On Rangpanchami, some regions conduct traditional customs, such as worshiping Lord Krishna and Radha, who are honored as symbols of love and devotion. Devotees offer prayers, chant hymns, and decorate idols with colorful garlands. Rangpanchami is also a time for eating and celebration, with relatives and friends gathering to share traditional delicacies, sweets, and savory snacks. The celebrations continue late into the night, with revelers exchanging pleasantries and sharing laughing. Rangpanchami crosses religious and societal boundaries, bringing people from many backgrounds together in a celebration of joy and harmony. It represents India's rich cultural legacy and the sense of oneness that unites its people. While Rangpanchami is a time for joyous celebrations, it is critical to commemorate the holiday properly, taking into mind environmental sustainability and safety.

25 March,2024 07:48 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Representational Pic/File/iStock

Easter 2024: Significance, celebrations and rituals on the day

As Easter approaches, Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the key event of their faith--Jesus Christ's resurrection. This hallowed occasion is deeply meaningful in Christian theology, representing hope, renewal, and the triumph of life over death. Let's look at the meaning, celebrations, and customs linked with Easter Day. Easter marks the end of Holy Week, which began on Palm Sunday and included events like Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. The central concept of Easter is the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion, as described in the New Testament of the Bible. Christians see the resurrection as the final manifestation of God's power over sin and death, promising believers eternal life and redemption. Many Christian communities assemble before dawn on Easter Sunday to see the sunrise and celebrate Jesus' resurrection. These morning ceremonies are frequently held outdoors, signifying the start of a new day and the hope offered by Christ's resurrection. The Easter Vigil is a prominent liturgical celebration that many Christian groups hold on Holy Saturday evening. It starts in darkness and ends with the lighting of the Paschal candle, which symbolises Christ's light illuminating the world. The vigil includes Bible readings, prayers, hymns, and Eucharistic celebrations. Easter Sunday Mass or worship services are held in churches around the world, bringing believers together to celebrate Jesus' resurrection. The ceremonies frequently include special hymns, prayers, and talks on the themes of resurrection, hope, and salvation. Easter egg hunts are a popular custom, particularly among children, and represent the joy and new life connected with Easter. Hidden Easter eggs, frequently containing candy or treats, are eagerly sought after in gardens, parks, and churchyards. Families and friends get together for holiday meals and Easter feasts, which include traditional dishes like roast lamb, ham, hot cross buns, and Easter desserts like simnel cake and chocolate eggs. The feast represents abundance, fellowship, and the delight of sharing with loved ones. Easter is associated with a variety of symbols, including the Easter lily (which represents purity and new life), the Paschal lamb (which represents Jesus as God's sacrificial Lamb), and the Easter bunny (a secular symbol of fertility and rebirth).

25 March,2024 07:37 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
People celebrating Holi in Mumbai/Atul Kamble

Rangapanchami 2024: Exploring the colourful festival that follows Holi

Rangapanchami is a colourful and happy holiday observed largely in the Indian state of Maharashtra, five days following Holi. While Holi is well-known for its vibrant colour play and festivities, Rangapanchami has its traditions and customs that set it apart from its predecessor. Rangapanchami is a widely celebrated event in Maharashtra, especially in rural areas and small towns. It is the pinnacle of the Holi celebrations, giving an added dimension of excitement and revelry to the joyful occasion. One of the primary differences between Holi and Rangapanchami is the timing of the ceremonies. While Holi is normally celebrated across two days, Rangapanchami occurs precisely on the fifth day after the full moon, according to the Hindu lunar calendar. This typically occurs in March or April, depending on the lunar cycle. Another major contrast is the way colours are used during Rangapanchami. Unlike Holi, where people engage in lively colour wars with dry or wet powder, Rangapanchami takes a more restrained approach to colour play. People typically smear one other with dry or wet colours, but the intensity of the colour play is usually lower than it is during Holi. Rangapanchami has cultural and religious significance for the people of Maharashtra. It is thought to commemorate the victory of good over evil and the onset of spring, representing the regeneration of life and the triumph of light over darkness. The holiday is observed with a variety of rites and traditions that differ from place to region. In various parts of Maharashtra, people visit local temples to worship and seek blessings for prosperity and happiness. Others attend community gatherings and cultural events, singing and dancing to traditional folk tunes. One of the most well-known Rangapanchami ceremonies is the breaking of an earthen pot filled with buttermilk or yoghurt. Similar to the famed Dahi Handi celebration in Maharashtra, participants build human pyramids to reach and destroy a pot held from a height. The person who successfully breaks the pot is declared the winner and is presented with rewards or praise. Food also plays an important role in Rangapanchami celebrations, with families making unique dishes and sweets to share with family and neighbours. Traditional delicacies like puran poli, shrikhand, and poori bhaji are popular during the festivities.

25 March,2024 07:34 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Representative Image

Good Friday 2024: Understanding the significance of the day of remembrance

Good Friday is a serious and significant day commemorated by Christians worldwide, commemorating Jesus Christ's crucifixion and death. It occurs on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday and is a day of reflection, prayer, and commemoration of the events that led up to Jesus' final sacrifice for humanity. Before Good Friday 2024, understand why we celebrate the day.  Good Friday has its origins in the New Testament Gospels, which record the events surrounding Jesus' crucifixion. According to Christian legend, Jesus was seized by Roman authorities after the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday and put through a series of trials before being sentenced to death by crucifixion. Good Friday is very important to Christians because it symbolises Jesus' tremendous sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus willingly suffered great pain and humiliation on the crucifixion, bearing the weight of humanity's sins in order to give redemption and reconciliation with God. The crucifixion of Jesus is viewed as the culmination of God's plan of salvation, fulfilling Old Testament predictions and establishing a new covenant between God and humanity. Through his death on the cross, Jesus vanquished sin and death, promising eternal life to those who believe. Good Friday is marked with reverence and solemnity by churches and Christian communities all over the world. Many churches have special Good Friday rituals known as Tenebrae or Stations of the Cross, during which people assemble to meditate on Jesus' passion and death. The cross is a key emblem of Good Friday, representing the instrument of Jesus' crucifixion as well as the ultimate representation of God's love and sacrifice. Christians frequently engage in acts of devotion such as prayer, fasting, and reflection on the meaning of Jesus' death and the prospect of resurrection. In addition to its religious significance, Good Friday is a day to perform humanitarian deeds and serve others. Many Christians opt to serve at shelters, food banks, or community organisations to express their thanks for the gift of salvation while also embodying Christ's selfless love. Despite its solemn tone, Good Friday is also a day of hope and anticipation for Christians, as it signals the start of Easter weekend and the promise of resurrection. The sorrow and mourning of Good Friday give way to the joy and celebration of Easter Sunday when Christians remember Jesus' resurrection and the triumph of life over death.  

25 March,2024 07:21 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Good Friday 2024: What is the day celebrated?

Good Friday is a religious holiday usually observed by Christians. It is also called Holy Friday, Black Friday, or Great Friday. It is observed to remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, his death, and his rising from the dead. Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, this year will be celebrated on March 29. For Christians, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross represents the ultimate sacrifice made for the forgiveness of sins. It is believed that through his death, Christ atoned for the sins of humanity and provided a way for believers to have eternal life. The day is considered "good" because of the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus, which opened the way for salvation and reconciliation between God and humanity.  Christians observe Good Friday solemnly to honor the way Jesus Christ underwent tremendous suffering and died for the expiation of their sins. This may involve attending a service where the account of Jesus's agonizing crucifixion is recounted. The day is typically observed by waking up early and prepare for the day of sacrifice, wearing  black to symbolize the mourning, observing the obligatory day of fasting and abstinence as required by the Church, observe silence from noon to 3:00 PM- the hours when Jesus suffered on the cross and venerate the holy cross in home or the Church. In India, Good Friday is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and some businesses are also closed. Many Christians in India attend special church services or pray on Good Friday. Some people also fast or abstain from meat on this day. Many Christians hold parades or open air plays to portray the last days and hours of Jesus' life in some areas of India. After the solemn commemoration of Good Friday, Christians shift their focus to a more joyous occasion- Easter Sunday. On this day, they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with lively church services, joyful hymns, and gatherings with family and friends. 

25 March,2024 07:07 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Representational Pic/File/iStock

Good Friday 2024: History and why the day is called Good Friday

Good Friday commemorates Jesus Christ's crucifixion, a pivotal event in Christian theology and the foundation of the faith. According to the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus, whom Christians believe to be the Son of God and the Messiah, was tried and sentenced to death by crucifixion under the Roman ruler of Jerusalem. Good Friday is honored during Holy Week, two days prior to Easter Sunday. This year, it falls on March 29. Also known as Holy Friday, the day remembers Jesus' crucifixion and death at Calvary by the Romans. Good Friday, observed the Friday before Easter Sunday, honors Jesus Christ's crucifixion and death. As the world commemorates Good Friday, a sorrowful day in the Christian calendar, it is critical to reflect on the historical significance of the day and unravel the riddle underlying its seemingly paradoxical name. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John characterise Jesus' crucifixion as the culmination of his earthly career and the fulfillment of Old Testament predictions. Jesus' crucifixion is portrayed as a sacrificial act of atonement for humanity's sins, providing redemption and salvation to followers. The name "Good Friday" has piqued the interest and consideration of intellectuals and theologians for ages due to its seeming paradox. Some believe that the word "Good Friday" came from the Middle English adjective "good," which meant "holy" or "pious." In this context, "Good Friday" could mean "Holy Friday" or "Sacred Friday." Another interpretation suggests that the term "Good Friday" may stem from the idea that Jesus' crucifixion, though a tragic and sorrowful event, ultimately led to the "good" of humanity's salvation. Christians all throughout the world mark Good Friday with solemnity and devotion, using a variety of religious rites and observances. Many churches offer solemn liturgical services that include the veneration of the cross, the reading of the Passion narrative, and times of silent thought and prayer. On Good Friday, several Christian traditions observe fasting and abstinence as a form of penance and spiritual reflection. Believers are urged to reflect on the meaning of Jesus' sacrifice and the tremendous consequences it has for their faith and salvation.

25 March,2024 06:44 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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