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When is Hanuman Jayanti 2018 and how is it celebrated?
The Hindi festival of Hanuman Jayanti being celebrated by children in the Sivasagar sibsagar town in Assam North East India (Picture: Getty)

Hindus celebrate many gods and one of them is Hanuman, the monkey god, who is a tireless devotee of an even bigger god, Rama.

His birth on the Anjaneri mountain is celebrated in the festival Hanuman Jayanti, an important date for Hindus around the globe.

But what does the joyous celebration involve? And when does it fall in 2018?

Lets take a look.

When is Hanuman Jayanti 2018 and how is it celebrated?
Devotees praying on the eve of Hanumatn Jayanti (PictureL Prashant Waydande/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

This year Hanuman Jayanti falls on Saturday 31 March, which corresponds with the 15th day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Chaitra.

It celebrates Hanuman, the god who represents strength and energy and who can assume any form at will, wield the mace-like gada (plus other celestial weapons), move mountains, dart through the air, seize the clouds and rival Garuda (a bird god) in swiftness of flight.

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The festival – which involves fasting – begins at sunrise, the time of Hanumans birth, when special religious discourses begin. Then simple food, like peppercorn crackers, is distrubuted.

It then involves devotees entering the temple of worship, before pasting red markings on their foreheads taken from an idol of the god, to commemorate how Hanuman smeared himself in paste to ensure the immortality of Rama.

The officiating priest bathes the idol, decorates him and offers special prayers to the gods. Then, the entire body is smeared with sindoor and oil.

When is Hanuman Jayanti 2018 and how is it celebrated?
(Picture: Giphy)

Special prayers are said, and the worshippers give religious offerings (often bananas), both to Hanuman and monkeys in the area, if there are any.

In return they receive prasad, aka holy food, from the temple in the form of sweets, flowers, coconuts, tilak, sacred ash and holy water.

Some devotees read the holy scriptures Ramayana and Mahabharata on this date too, while others dress up as Hanuman and dance in the street.

This is not the only Hanuman festival, because he is not merely a Hindu deity. Hes recognised in Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism.

If youve seen the Marvel movie Black Panther, youll know that Hanuman is also the central deity of a complex Indo-African religion followed by the Jabari tribe from the fictional African nation of Wakanda thats central to the story. Hes very popular, basically.

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