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Tag: Historical significance

Origins Of International Women’s Day : March 8

International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women in politics, science, sports, and economics etc.

The origins of International Women’s Day can be traced back to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the US on February 28, 1909. 

Also read, Let The Games Begin The History Of Olympic Day

Clara Zetkin, communist activist and advocate for women’s rights, was the first to suggest the idea that this day should be made inter- national. She suggested this in 1910 at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. There were 100 women there, from 17 countries, and they agreed to her suggestion unanimously. Pursuant to the decision taken at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women’s Day was first celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19.

The UN commemorated the first International Women’s Day on March 8, 1975. In 1977, the UN General Assembly declared March 8 as Inter- national Women’s Day in support of women’s rights and global peace.

Do you know why International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th? On February 23, 1917, women in St. Petersburg, Russia, staged a strike to protest against food shortages, poor living conditions, and World War I. This strike for “Bread and Peace” helped give rise to the Russian Revolution of 1917, which led to the abdication of Nicholas II. In 1921, the date of the International Women’s Day was officially changed to March 8. The date when the women’s strike commenced on the Julian calendar, which was then in use in Russia, was February 23. This day in the Gregorian calendar was March 8- and that’s when it’s celebrated today.

Did You Know?

International Men’s Day is celebrated on November 19. It has only been marked since the 1990s and isn’t recognised by the UN. People celebrate it in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the UK.

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The Iconic Journey Of The Olympic Torch

What Is the Olympic Flame?

Before every edition of the Olympic Games, a flame is kindled by rays of the sun during a ceremony held in the ancient ruins of Olympia, Greece under the authority of the International Olympic Committee. This flame is known as the Olympic Flame. The Olympic Flame is usually lit at Olympia a few months before the opening of the Olympic Games. Starting the ceremony at Olympia celebrates the link between the Ancient Olympic Games and the Modern Olympic Games.

From Olympia, the flame is usually carried for a number of weeks until it reaches the host city, mainly on foot by runners, but also using other forms of transport.

For the Paris Olympics, the ceremonial lighting ceremony is scheduled on April 16 in Olympia, Greece. Over 11 days, 600 torchbearers in Greece will carry the flame 500 km across 41 municipalities.

The torch is passed from one torchbearer to the next until it reaches the cauldron at the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium. The flame announces the Olympic Games and spreads a message of peace of peace and friendship between the people. The Torch relay ends at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Olympia was where the Ancient Olympic Games were held.

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The Arrival Of The Flame In France

For the Paris Olympics, the flame will travel from Greece to France by boat. The Olympic flame arriving in the host country symbolises the advent of the spirit of the Games. Before lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony, the flame is carried by a multitude of torchbearers throughout the host country and into the host city.

For the Paris Olympics, the flame will arrive in Marseille in France on May 8. The flame will arrive from Athens, Greece, after travelling by sea on board the full-rigged ship Belem.

The flame will then travel across various French territories for 68 days. 10,000 torchbearers will carry the flame across the 64 territories of France until July 26, when the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony is scheduled to take place on the River Seine.

When And Where Did The Tradition Of The Olympic Torch Relay Begin?

The Olympic Flame first became a tradition of the Modern Olympic Games, when an Olympic Flame was lit and remained burning at the entrance to the Olympic stadium throughout the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games.

However, the Olympic Torch Relay was started for the first time at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games. The torch relay has opened the Olympic ceremonies ever since.

Let The Games Begin

The Torch relay ends at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The final runner (or sometimes runners) enters the stadium and lights the cauldron with the Olympic Flame. The Games can then begin!

The Paralympic Flame And Torch Relay

Shortly after the Olympic Flame is extinguished during the closing ceremony for the Olympic Games, the Flame for the Paralympic Games is lit in Stoke Mandeville (in England). Stoke Mandeville is the historic birthplace of Paralympic sport. For the Paris Paralympic Games, the flame after being lit in Stoke Mandeville will cross the sea like its Olympic twin. However, this time the flame will travel via the Channel Tunnel, marking the start of a legendary relay.

From August 25 to August 28, 2024, around 1,000 forerunners will carry the Paralympic Flame to around 50 cities throughout France.

Fun Facts

The current Summer and Winter Olympics torches that carry the Olympic Flame and are designed to withstand wind and rain. They are also uniquely designed to include special elements of the host country and spirit of the Games.

When two torches meet and one already-lit torch lights the flame of the other it’s called a “Kiss“.

Sometimes the Olympic torch can go out. Although, it’s really rare that this happens due to a malfunctioning burner or extreme wind. Just in case, there’s always a “mother flame” carried in specially designed miner’s lanterns that they can use to relight the torch.

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Everything You Need To Know About India’s Republic Day

India will be celebrating its 75th Republic Day on January 26, 2024. The 2024 Republic Day theme is “India Mother of Democracy” and “viksit Bharat” (Developed India). Republic Day marks the occasion when the Constitution of India came into effect on January 26, 1950, replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India. The Indian National Congress announced Purna Swaraj (full independence) on January 26, 1930, in opposition to the British government’s dominion status in the country. This is why January 26 was chosen for the implementation of the Constitution.

Also Read, India’s Republic Day: History And Celebrations

How Is Republic Day Celebrated?

Republic Day is celebrated across India with a lot of excitement. At Kartavya Marg (formerly known as Rajpath) in the country’s national capital – New Delhi, magnificent parades by regiments of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, police, and paramilitary forces are held. There is also a display of India’s Defence prowess with latest missiles, aircrafts, and weapon systems. Beautiful tableaus, representing the beauty of all the states of India are also showcased during the parade. There are also skyshows by the Air Force.

Some Fun Facts About Republic Day Celebrations

The first Republic day parade was held in 1950. It took place at the Irwin Amphitheater (now Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium). Three thousand Indian military personnel and over 100 aircrafts participated in the first parade. Indonesian President Sukarno was the chief guest of India’s first Republic Day parade.

From 1950 to 1954, the Republic Day Parade was held at Irwin Stadium (now known as Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium), Kingsway (now known as Kartavya Marg), Red Fort, and Ramleela Maidan.

The first Republic Day parade at Rajpath (now known as Kartavya Marg) was organised in 1955. Pakistan’s then Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad attended the event as chief guest. It was the first of the only two times that a Pakistani leader was given the honour.

The Republic Day parade starts after the arrival of the President of India. The President’s cavalier bodyguards salute the National Flag first.

The Republic Day parade starts from the Rashtrapati Bhavan (which is the home of the President) and moves on to India Gate.

21 gun salutes are given every year when the President of India hoists the national flag on Republic Day at India Gate. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the first President to hoist the flag.

On Republic Day, bravery awards are also given to deserving candidates. Bravery awards including the Veer Chakra, Maha Veer Chakra, Param Veer Chakra, Kirti Chakra, and Ashoka Chakra are given during the celebrations.

Every year the preparations for the parade begin in July of the previous year!

This year’s Republic Day parade will feature two all-women contingents from the Defence forces marching. The Defence officials have said that “One contingent, consisting of 144 personnel, will comprise all women soldiers, with 60 from the Army and the remainder from the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy”.

Did You Know?

The Beating Retreat ceremony has its roots in an old custom from the 1600s. It is held annually on January 29 at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi. The custom of announcing the troops’ homecoming dates back to King James Il, who gave the command for his soldiers to beat drums, lower flags, and stage a parade to mark the conclusion of a battle day.

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Everything You Need to Know About Diwali and Its Celebration Across India

Diwali is around the corner and we are gearing up for it. In this blog of The Junior Age, we have put together some unique stories, legends, and celebrations associated with this festival of lights.

Also Read, Dussehra : A Celebration Of Victory!

The Festival Of Lights

Diwali, is a five day festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. Diwali or Deepavali gets its name from the Sanskrit word Dipavali, which means “row of lights”. Diwali marks the start of the New Year. Diwali is also a symbolic celebration of good triumphing over evil. The festival of lights honours the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. People celebrate this festival by lighting little earthen oil lamps and decorating their homes with lights. The lamps and light are said to help Goddess Lakshmi find her way into peoples’ homes, bringing prosperity in the year to come.

There are many different legends associated with Diwali.

For instance, in Jainism, Diwali marks the Nirvana or spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira. In Sikhism, Diwali honours the day Guru Hargobind Ji, the sixth Sikh Guru was freed from imprisonment. 

Hindus have many beliefs associated with Diwali, based upon where they live. But there’s one common theme: the victory of good over evil.

In northern India, Diwali is a celebration of the day Rama returned to Ayodhya with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana after defeating the demon Ravana in Lanka and serving fourteen years of exile. According to legend, when Rama returned to Ayodhya, the people of the city welcomed him by lighting thousands of rows of clay lamps.

In southern India and even in Nepal, Diwali marks the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura, an evil demon. In western India the festival marks the day that Lord Vishnu, the Preserver (one of the main gods of the Hindu trinity sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world.

Diwali is Celebrated Over Five Days

Day one: People clean their homes and shop for gold kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.

Day two: People decorate their homes with clay lamps create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand.

and Day four: This is the first day of the new year, when friends

Day three: On the main day of the festival, families gather for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by yummy feasts and fireworks festivities ( Although fireworks may not be the most eco-friendly).

Day Four: This is the first day of the new year, when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season. 

Day five: Brothers visit their married sisters, who welcome them with love and a mouth-watering meal.

Celebrating And Embracing Diverse Diwali Celebrations In India

The festival of lights is an extremely significant and auspicious festival for India. India is a multicultural country and most Indians celebrate Diwali, based on their own beliefs and customs. Almost every region in India has distinctive traditions for celebrating Diwali. However, the triumph of good over evil remains the common belief. Read to find out about the unique ways different cultures celebrate Diwali in India:

Dev Deepavali in Varanasi

Dev Deepavali or Dev Diwali, also known as the festival of gods, is celebrated 15 days after Diwali in Varanasi on a full moon night. On Dev Diwali, millions of diyas are lit on the ghats of Varanasi. It is believed on this day, gods and goddesses come down to Earth to take a bath in the Ganges. Dev Diwali also marks Lord Shiva’s victory over demon Tripurasur.

Kali Puja in West Bengal and Assam

In West Bengal and Assam, Diwali is celebrated as Kali Puja. Goddess Kali is worshipped on this day and worshippers offer her flowers, fish, sweets, and meat. While most of India, worships Goddess Lakshmi on Diwali, in these two Indian states, Goddess Kali is worshipped. It is interesting to note that the festival of Kali Puja became popular in Bengal only in the 18th century.

Narka Chaturdashi in Goa

In Goa, Diwali is celebrated as Narka Chaturdashi. On Narka Chaturdashi, locals burn huge effigies of the demon Narakasura made from grass and hay. According to a legend in Goa, the demon Narakasura was the king of Goa. He was very arrogant and troubled people. He was ultimately killed by Lord Krishna.

Kaunriya Kathi in Odisha

One of India’s most culturally diverse states, Odi-sha, celebrates Diwali differently. During Kaunriya Kathi, the people of Odisha burn jute sticks to invite their ancestors, who are said to descend from heaven on Diwali. The ancestors are invited to visit them on Diwali, to bless them and their families.

The burning of jute sticks is often accompanied by a prayer. During Diwali, people in Odisha worship Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Kali.

Significance Of Diwali In Sikhism, Jainism, And Buddhism

Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism are different religions, with their own beautiful traditions, cultures, and customs. The festival of Diwali is celebrated differently by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists. Each of these religions celebrate Diwali for slightly different reasons.

Bandi Chhor Divas celebrated by Sikhs

Sikhs celebrate Band Chhor Divas on Diwali. Band Chhor Divas or Prisoner Release Day, celebrates the release of the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib in 1619, from a prison in Gwalior. He was held captive by the Mughals. It is believed that Guru Hargobind agreed to be released from prison only if the 52 Hindu princes, who were imprisoned along with him, were allowed to go free. The day is seen as a triumph of right over wrong and a tribute to the Guru who saved the lives of 52 men without violence. On Diwali, the Golden Temple in Amritsar is illuminated with Diyas.

Dipalikaya celebrations by Jains

For Jains, Diwali holds a great significance. On this day, the 24th and last Tirthan-kara of Jainism (a savior and spiritual teacher of dharma), Lord Mahavir attained moksha. Moksha is the freedom from the cycle of reincarnation. It is believed that heaven and Earth were illuminated with many lamps to mark the occasion of Lord Mahavir’s enlightenment. Jains celebrate the famous festival of Diwali to worship Lord Mahavir.


Some Buddhists also celebrate the festival to honour their Emperor Ashoka’s decision to convert to Buddhism and follow a path of peace and enlightenment after winning the Kalinga war. On this day, Buddhists decorate their monasteries and temples and Lord Buddha is wor-shipped.

Legend Of Lord Rama Is Global

Did You Know that Ramayana is popular not only in India but in many other Asian countries? It also has many different and diverse versions and adaptations.

The ancient Indian mythological tale, Ramayana is performed all over India during the festival of Dussehra and until Diwali. Ramayana was originally written in Sanskrit by sage Valmiki. It is estimated that there are approximately 300 different versions of Ramayana. This epic story is not only popular in India but in some other Southeast Asian countries as well. Other than India, different and diverse versions of Ramayana are found in Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Japan, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Mongolia, and China. Some of the versions in these countries are drastically different from the original.

The following illustrates the names of various versions of Ramayana that are popular outside India:

Some Interesting Facts About Diwali

  1. Diwali is also celebrated in Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. All these countries have a significant overseas Indian population.
  2. It was on the day of Diwali that the foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid in the year 1577.
  3. Diwali is always celebrated in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik on a no moon night.
  4. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, was born on Diwali.
  5. Diwali, which is celebrated in the month of Kartik, marks the end of the harvest season in India. Farmers in India offer their harvest to Goddess Lakshmi on Diwali.

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