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    Vasantotsava: The Sp...

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Vasantotsava: The Spring Festivals of India

Texts and Traditions by: Leona M. Anderson

This 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.



ISBN: 9788124600115
Year Of Publication: 2005
Edition: 3rd
Pages : xi, 254 [+8]
Bibliographic Details : 8 Coloured plates; Glossary; Bibliography; Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 23 cm.
Weight: 500


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.


List of Plates
1. Introduction
The Date of the Vasantotsava
2. The Vasantotsava and its Variants
The Vasantotsava and the Worship of Kama
Vasantotsava and Holi
Vasantotsava and Regional Celebrations
3. The Ratnavali: The City
Manners and Ways
Colours, Powders, and Syringes
4. The Ratnavali: The Pleasure Grove
Flowers and Trees
The Ashoka Tree
The Mango Tree
Kama Rituals: The Matsya Purana and the Sanatkumara Samhita
Kama and Women
Images of Kama and Image Worship
5. The Spring Stage
The Ratnavali
Parijata-Manjari Alias Vijayashri
Underlying Themes: Fertility and Marriage
Marriage and Renewal
6. Kathasaritsagara
The Kathasaritsagara: Book xii, Story Number 17
The King
Duty or Desire
The Buddhist Recension
7. Vikramacarita
Story Number 16: “The Spring Festival and the Brahmin’s Daughter”
The Good King
The Jain Recension
The Seclusion of the King
Deities and Worship
8. Bhavishya Purana, 135: Kama
Bhavishya Purana, 135: Madanamahotsavavarnam
Kama’s Mythology and the Vasantotsava
Kama and Shiva
9. Bhavishya Purana, 132: The Demoness
Bhavishya Purana, 132: Phalgunapurnimotsavavarnam
Dhaundha, Holaka and Putana
The Demoness and the Gods
Fire and Ash
10. Virupakshavasantotsavacampu
The Axis of Power: The City and the Temple
Chapter Three: The Festival of the Chariot (Rathotsava)
The King in his City
Chapter Four: The Hunt Festival (Mrigayotsava)
The Shaiva Tradition and the Vasantotsava
11. Conclusion
The Vasantotsava and Sectarianism
Vedic Precedents
Dates of Texts

Meet the Author
Leona M. Anderson was trained at McMaster University, Canada and currently teaches Hinduism at the University of Regina, Canada. She has resided in both Pune and Delhi and has on several occasions been affiliated with the Deccan College, Pune. She has received grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her articles have appeared in many journals and she has participated at symposia worldwide. Dr. Anderson is presently the Resident Director of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute in Delhi. Her current research centres on a study of the Festival of Lord Ganapati.
Books of Leona M. Anderson