Vasantotsava: The Spring Festivals of India: Texts and Traditions
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Short DescriptionsThis study treats Vasantotsava as a thematically unified ‘generic’ whole embracing a range of spring festivals, pansectarian in character and incorporating various rituals. It reassesses Sanskrit texts to explore the rituals, symbols and underlying motifs of the Vasantotsava.
This study treats Vasantotsava as a thematically unified “generic” whole embracing a wide range of spring festivals including the Phalgunotsava, Caitrotsava, Phalgu, Madhutsava, Madanamahotsava, Madanatroydashi, Anangotsava, Madanadvadaishi, Kamotsava, Shripancami, Yatramahotsava, and Holaka (Holi). These festivals are pansectarian in character and incorporate a variety of ritual observances practised through- out the Indian subcontinent. Signifying the termination of winter and announcing the advent of spring, the celebration was a diverse and complex spectacle situated within the framework of Indian ritual and myth. On the basis of puranic and ritual texts, folk tales, drama, poetry, and narratives in mixed prose and poetry (campus), Dr. Anderson addresses complex issues of indigenous ritual, mythology, and tradition. The Vasantotsava incorporates a broad spectrum of human concerns: in the sphere of polity, it can be turned to account to celebrate and reinforce the power of the king; in the social sphere, it is a time of revelry and merry-making indicative of the annual renewal in human affairs; and in the sphere of religion, it celebrates the exploits of the gods and establishes a link between human and divine actions and events.