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On The Role of Women in Hindu Festivals, Ceremonies and Celebrations

Women play pivotal role in all Hindu festivals and celebrations. Slowly but steadily numerous women are also performing Hindu pujas and rituals. Meera S. Sashital writes about the role of women in Hindu festivals and ceremonies in an article titled ‘Women, the pivot of festivals and ceremonies’ in the Free Press Journal. 
The Free Press Journal
 Women and festivals have always entwined together and are inseparable. As Hindu festivals are mostly religious, women automatically merge with the religious ceremonies during festivals. They take prominent role in them and there is seldom any festival celebrated without women having taken main part in it. 
 From early times Indian women have enjoyed an honourable place in society and religious functions. The position of women in the Vedic Age was very high. Though in later literature and ages woman is termed ‘wicked’ and temptress’, the general Hindu view of woman has been an exalted one. She was assigned full responsibilities and freedom to rule her house and discharge her feminine duties. 
The word ‘Nari’ in the Vedas conveys the sense of dignity meaning ‘netri’, directress. The wife has been identified with the Vedic Hindu house and home and is called the “Grihini”. 
 The term ‘patni’ regularly applied to the wife in the Brahanas is indicative of her equal share in the social and religious side of the husband’s life. Whenever man makes offerings to the gods according to the ritualistic form of worship, the wife has to participate in the ceremony with him. Any oblation to be made has to be offered jointly and together. As a result, in all religious ceremonies, sacrifices or festivals, woman’s role was dominant and even now it continues.
 A question may arise as to how a woman could take part in religious functions then. Katyayana when he says, “Stri cha, avisheshat” it means the injunction does not intend to specify a man only, a woman is equally enitled to perform sacrifices.