Indian Culture-Naming and Dates of Significance

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Indian Culture-Naming and Dates of Significance

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The location of origin and religion of an individual inside India determine the naming standards that apply to them.

Surnames are a very recent custom that were adopted during British colonization. In much of northern India, given names come first and are followed by surnames, in accordance with English-speaking Western naming practices. This isn’t always the case in southern India, where people may take on a surname as a result of a forced migration or overseas trip.

It is typical for a person’s surname to represent their caste, village of origin, family, or group.

A name ending in “-walla” translates, at best, to “the trade one’s ancestors practised.” For instance, “chaiwalla” loosely translates to “a person who prepares spiced tea, or chai.”

Based on official or informal social and religious links, there are several honorific titles. These titles typically take the shape of replacements, suffixes, or prefixes. ‘Baba’ (a mark of respect towards Hindu and Sikh ascetics but can also mean ‘father’), ‘Raj’ (‘king’ or ‘royalty’), ‘Sri’ (which can mean ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’ followed by first name, but can also be used as a title of veneration for deities), and ‘Sahab’ (which has the same meaning as ‘Sri’ but comes after one’s last name) are a few examples.

To honor a person, a group, or inanimate objects, it is customary to append the gender-neutral honorific suffix “-ji” to a first name (e.g., “Madhavji”).

Hindu people typically have three names: their given name, middle name, and family name (e.g. Sanjay Lal VASANI). Hindu family names can occasionally reflect caste, and people choose to reject the caste system by removing their name (e.g. Sanjay Lal).


In India, the majority of given names are deliberately chosen to have a particular meaning, and many people are quite conscious of this. People often get names based on their horoscopes, which are typically offered by an astrologer, especially Hindus. The family will select a name based on the sound that the astrologer suggests a name should have.

Nicknames are widespread among close friends and family members. Nicknames can be chosen at an early age and stick with a person well into adulthood.

Dates of Significance

Important Dates in General

  • Republic Day – 26th of January
  • Mahatma Gandhi’s Death Anniversary – 30th of January
  • Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s Birthday (Ambedkar Jayanti) – 14th of April
  • Labour Day – 1st of May
  • Independence Day – 15th of August
  • Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday (Gandhi Jayanti) – 2nd of October

Important Dates for Religion

Most religious festivals and dates of significance are based on the lunar, solar or lunisolar calendar. Therefore, the dates vary each year according to the Gregorian calendar.


  • Pongal Festival – January
  • Makar Sankranti – January
  • Vasant Panchami – January or February
  • Saraswati’s Birthday – February
  • Shiva’s Birthday – February
  • Holi – March
  • Mahashivaratri – March
  • Ramanavami – March or April
  • Chariot Festival – July
  • Guru Purnima – July or August
  • Raksha Bandhan – August
  • Thiru Onam Day – August or September
  • Krishna Janmashtami – August or September
  • Ganesh Chaturthi – August or September
  • Navaratri – September or October
  • Dussehra – September or October
  • Karaka Chaturthi – October or November
  • Govardhan Puja – October or November
  • Bhai Dooj – October or November
  • Chhath Puja – October or November
  • Diwali – October or November




  • Guru Gobind Singh’s Birthday (Guru Gobind Singh Ji Gurpurab)
  • Sikh New Year
  • Charge of the Army Festival (Hola Mohalla)
  • Martyrdom of Guru Arjan
  • Birth of the Khalsa (Vaisakhi)
  • Celebration of Freedom (Bandhi Chhor Diwas)
  • Diwali
  • Guru Nanak’s Birthday (Guru Nanak Gurpurab)
  • Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur


  • Buddha’s Birthday (Buddha Purnima)
  • Dhamma Wheel’s Promulgation Day (Dhammachakra Pravartan Diwas)
  • Diwali
  • Tibetan New Year (Losar)


  • Mahavir’s Birthday (Mahavir Janma Kalyanak)
  • Coming Together Festival (Das Lakshana or Paryushana)
  • Diwali


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