Indian festivals: Kannada English



Before you listen: Please, note the highlighted words below. Their pronunciation is different in Kannada English. Try to pay attention when you listen to them, because most Indian people will pronounce them in this way. Remember that 1) in Kannada English, all -ed endings are clearly pronounced 2) ma'am, mam, sir are used in almost every sentence 3) many speakers add Kannada words into their English 4) all th sounds become t or d.

Tip: In this text, all non-English words are highlighted. You don't need to learn them, but Indian people will be impressed if you do. :)

Holi - eigoPaathshala Indian English listening
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[Festival 1: Holi]

Kikuchi-san: Vibha-san, I read an article about Holi. What is it? I couldn’t understand much.

Vibha: Well, just like ‘Diwali’ is the festival of lights, Holi is the festival of colors. It usually comes in the month of March.

K: Oh! Why is it celebrated?

V: Are you interested in mythology? Let me tell you the story.

In the Hindu mythology, there was a demon king named Hiranyakashipu. He had a sister named Holika. Hiranyakashipu was very arrogant and full of pride. He forced everyone to worship him. His son, Prahlad, refused to obey him. He was devoted to Lord Vishnu. Have you heard of the Lord Vishnu? I'll tell you his story later. Now, this made the demon king and his sister very angry. Holika wore a cloak that made her safe from fire and forcefully grabbed Prahlad and sat on the fire with him. To the shock of everyone, Holika’s cloak flew away and she got burned in the fire. Prahlad was saved by Lord Vishnu. So, on the night of Holi which is known as Holika dahan, people make a bonfire that symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It's a way of respecting the Fire God for burning Holika.

K: Wow! Such an interesting story!

V: Yes, indeed! On the day after Holika dahan, people meet each other in open areas and throw colors on each other. It's a lot of fun. Kids usually play with water guns and balloons.

K: Ah, Vibha-san, are there any special sweets made during Holi?

V: Yes, of course! Delicacies like gujiya and puranpoli are made during Holi. There's a special drink called bhaang which is drunk during Holi. It's an intoxicating drink. And yes, this festival is also celebrated in a lot of neighboring countries.

K: Thank you so much Vibha-san. I think you have told me everything about Holi. I'm so excited to play Holi. And I'm sure the children will love it too.

V: Yes, do join us in celebrating Holi! It's next month on the 15th.

Useful vocabulary


Curious 好奇心を持った


Mythology 神話

Worship 崇拝

Devoted 献身的な

Lord 主、神

Cloak 外套、マント

Bonfire たき火

Delicacy 珍味

​Intoxicating drink 酒

Hence それゆえ

​Significance 意義

Demon 悪魔

​Arrogant 傲慢な

Exile 国外追放(この神話では、国外の森に追放されている。)

To lit up ライトアップする

Goddess 女神

​Savory ハーブの一種/ おいしい料理

Diwali - eigoPaathshala Indian English listening
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[Festival 2: Diwali]

Kikuchi-san: Vibha-san, is there any festival next week? Why do we have a holiday for the entire week?

Vibha: Yes Kikuchi-san! Next week is Diwali! It’s a holiday time for everyone.

K: Oh! I didn’t know this. Could you please tell me about this festival? I am so curious. All I know is that Diwali is the biggest festival in India.

V: Sure, I will. And yes, you're right. Diwali is the biggest festival in India. It is one of those few festivals which is popular everywhere in the country. It is also known as Festival of Lights.

K: Okay! Is it always celebrated in October?

V: Well, no. Most of the Indian festivals don’t have a fixed date. The Hindu festivals are decided on the moon’s movement and hence they change every year.

K: Oh! That’s interesting! So Diwali can come anytime?

V: Well, generally it comes somewhere in October or November.

K: Okay. What is the significance of Diwali?

V: Diwali has a big mythological significance. It is the day when Lord Ram, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshman with Hanuman returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile. You know exile? Living in the forest. So, the story says that to welcome them, all the villagers lit up the entire city with diyas. You know, our lamps in which we put oil and we burn the lamps. So that's how it got the name Festival of Lights. And along with the other Gods and Goddesses, Goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of money, and Lord Vishnu, who is the protector god, they are worshiped on this day. So it is like we're saying that good wins over evil and light is brighter over darkness.

K: Oh! Thanks for telling me the story of Diwali. So how do people celebrate it these days?

V: Different parts of the country celebrate it in different ways, but mostly, all the people clean their homes and decorate the houses. We cook a lot of sweets and savories and then exchange them with our relatives, friends and neighbors. So it's a good time to visit each other and celebrate together. Bursting crackers is a big attraction for kids. And in many parts of the country, ladies draw beautiful patterns, known as rangoli on the floor near the door. And people decorate their homes with lanterns. Diwali is the biggest shopping season in India, you know.

K: Wow! I'm so excited to experience Diwali this time.

V: Yes. And a surprising fact is, it's not celebrated just in India, it's celebrated in Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Jamaica and Sri Lanka too!

K: Eeeeeeeeeh!