The three main festivals in Shirdi of two-four days each are Ramnavami
(March/April), Guru Purnima (July),and Vijayadashami
(September). In Shirdi, these festivals are celebrated with great
passion, verve and heartfulness.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.
Guru Purnima ("purnima" means full-moon) is the
day on which disciples and devotees honour and felicitate their
guru and seek his or her special blessings. Although it is not a
major festival for everyone in India, it is of great importance
in Shirdi, perhaps because it is the only festival which Baba asked
us to celebrate.The festival originated in the Buddha's time when
the monks used to take diksba (instructions on their spiritual practice)
at the beginning of the annual four month rains-retreat. The practice
was then borrowed by the Jain tradition and later the Hindus.
Vijayadasami is celebrated throughout India, under different
names and with regional variations, as the victory of good over
evil. For Sai devotees, it is venerated as the holy day that their
beloved gurudeva attained mahasamadhi (also known as punyatithi)
and is a big festival in Shirdi.This was also the day on which the
statue of Baba "came to life" and was inaugurated in the
In 1987, Gopalrao Gund proposed holding in urs as in expression
of his gratitude to Baba for having been granted the birth of a
son after many childless years. Baba gave his permission for the
celebration and fixed the day for Ramnavami.This was an ingenious
touch of Baba's. Urs is a Muslim festival honoring a Muslim Saint
(usually one who passed away);by holding the Urs, on the day of
a Hindu festival, the two communities were brought closer tighter
in a natural yet remarkable way.The festival gradually grew in importance
and in 1912 the festival was held in a grand style.Since then people
are celebrating on this day.