Important Festivals Celebrated in Shirdi Saibaba Temple
The three main festivals in Shirdi are of two to four days each. They are Ramnavami (March/April), Guru Purnima (July),and Vijayadashami (September). These festivals are celebrated with great reverence & Devotion .Lakhs of people visit Shirdi from across india to get blessings of Sai Baba. There is a programme of puja, music (bhajan) public parayana (reading of scriptures and devotional texts) and exuberant processions with the palanquin and the Rath (cart). The Samadhi Mandir remains open all night during one of these days with Dwarkamai being open the previous night and there are all night bhajan and qawali sessions at various locations in Shirdi.
Ramanavi is one of the most important festivals celebrated with great excitement and fanfare. In the year 1897 Goplarao Gund proposed holding in Urus in name of Saibaba in gratitude of a child which he was granted after so many childless years. Saibaba conceded to celebrate his urus on the condition that it be celebrated on Ramnavami. This was indeed an ingenious touch of Saibaba bringing together the Hindus and Muslims together. People may know Urus is a Muslim festival that is celebrated to honor a saint.
You can come to participate in Ramanavami at Shirdi, celebrated every year in March or April. This shows the kind of communal harmony that weaves people of different faiths at Shirdi. Ramnavami has equal and enthusiastic participation of both Hindus and Muslims. In Shirdi, two locally historic rituals are carried out during this festival. The sack of wheat that is kept in Dwarkamai is changed and the old one taken to prasadalaya to be used there, and secondly, the dwarkamai flags are replaced. This year that is in 2007, Shirdi is celebrating the Ramnavami from 26th to 28th of March.
Gurupurnima or Full Moon is also a wonderful time to visit Shirdi. It is the time to honor the Guru and seek his special blessing. Quite a significant festival in Shirdi Guru Purnima was the only festival which Saibaba has asked his devotees to celebrate. This is the time devotees all across the world converge in Shirdi to seek Saibaba's blessings. There is also Vyasa Puja that is held during Guru Purnima, in honor of Ved Vyasa who wrote the epic Mahabharata.
Vijayadashmi is a big festival in Shirdi, venerated as a holy day when Shri Saibaba left his mortal body for heavenly abode. The festival is also celebrated as Shri Sai Punyathithi in Shirdi attracting great number of devotees from all over the world. Various religious activities are arranged Great number of people flock to Shirdi during this Festival. During this festival 'Brahman Bhojan' is arranged with Dakashina (Donation to Guru). This year the festival is celebrated from 20th to 23rd October.