National Youth Day: Celebrating the Visionary Ideals of Swami Vivekananda on His Jayanti

Priyanshi Pareek

National Youth Day in India holds great significance as it commemorates the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, a revered Hindu monk and philosopher. Born on January 12, 1863, his teachings have profoundly shaped India’s cultural and spiritual landscape, making this day a celebration of his impactful legacy and influence on the nation’s youth and beyond. The Government of India designated this significant day as National Youth Day in 1984, and since 1985, India celebrates this event annually.

The government recognized that Swamiji’s philosophy and the ideals he lived by could serve as a profound wellspring of inspiration for the Indian youth.

Swami Vivekananda played a pivotal role in introducing the profound Hindu philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world. His efforts significantly elevated Hinduism to the stature of a major global religion in the late 19th century. Beyond this, he was a passionate advocate for social justice, tirelessly working towards empowering women and advocating for the betterment of the lower castes within Indian society.

Celebration and Activities

National Youth Day is celebrated across India in schools and colleges through a myriad of activities, including processions, speeches, music, youth conventions, seminars, Yoga Asanas, presentations, and various competitions like essay-writing, recitations, and sports, all held on January 12 annually. Swami Vivekananda’s profound lectures and writings, drawing inspiration from India’s spiritual tradition and the expansive perspective of his Master Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, continue to serve as the catalyst for numerous youth organizations, study circles, and service projects.

Moreover, Swami Vivekananda’s birthday, as per the Indian Almanac (Vishuddha Siddhanta Almanac), falls on Pausha Krishna Saptami tithi, which varies in the English Calendar each year, mostly within January. Ramakrishna Math and Mission centres observe this day in a traditional Hindu manner, including rituals like mangal arati, special worship, homa (fire-ritual), meditation, devotional songs, religious discourses, and sandhya-arati (evening vespers).

Vivekananda’s birthday is commemorated through government-organised events and cultural programs in addition to celebrations at Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. At the Ramakrishna Math, rituals like mangal aarti, devotional songs, meditation, recitals of Vivekananda’s teachings, and sandhya aarti mark this significant occasion.

Beyond India, Vivekananda’s birthday is also honoured at the Vedanta Society of Toronto, Canada, where efforts are dedicated to spreading Vivekananda’s Vedanta-inspired teachings globally.

Therefore, if you plan to celebrate Swami Vivekananda’s birthday in 2024, consider visiting Ramakrishna Math or Ramakrishna Mission to be part of the commemoration.

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