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FESTIVALS OF INDIA

 
 
Fairs and Festivals complete the hue and colour in the sketch of real India. Whether Holi, Gangaur and Pushkar Fair of Rajasthan; Elephant Festival, Onam or Boat Carnival of Kerala, The great Goan Carnival; Taj Mahotsav of Agra or Tansen Festival of Gwalior; as a tourist you witness a distinct feature in every festival reflecting the culture, customs and traditions that belong to that region of India. Each celebration has a reason, season and presiding deity that makes it unique.

 
  North India Festivals
East India Festivals
West India Festivals
South India Festivals
 
 

  BAISAKHI

 
Is celebrated with joyous music and dance, it is Punjab's New Year's Day. It falls on April 13, though once in 36 years it occurs on April 14th. The Sikhs, therefore, celebrate this festival as a collective birthday of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, founded the Khalsa (the Sikh brotherhood) in 1699.
 
   

  MAKAR SANKRANTI

 
Makar Sankranti is a hindu festival. It marks the begining of the sun's journey towards northern hemi shere .People take dip in the rivers and worship the sun .Gangasagar Mela is being organized near Calcutta where people come from all over India. In Gujarat, Makara Sankranti is celebrated by the flying of kites.
 
   

  LOHRI

 
Lohri celebrates fertility and the spark of life. A festival connected with the solar year, Lohri festival marks the culmination of winter, and is celebrated on the 13th day of January in the month of Paush or Magh, a day before Makar Sankranti. The focus of Lohri is on the bonfire. The prasad comprises of five main things: til, gazak, gur, moongphali, phuliya and popcorn. There is puja, involving parikrama (rotating) around the fire and distribution of prasad. This symbolizes a prayer to Agni, the spark of life, for abundant crops and prosperity.
 
   

  MAHA SHIVARATRI

 
This is a day of fasting dedicated to Lord Shiva, the third deity of the Hindu trinity. Religious people stay awake and chant prayers the whole night. Processions to the festivals are followed by chanting of mantras and anointing of lingams. Usually there are fairs near temples for the entertainment of villagers during the daytime.
 
   

  HOLI

 
Holi marks the begining of the spring season and the end of the frosty winters. On the eve of Holi, bonfires are built to symbolize the destruction of the evil demon Holika. It is celebrated by throwing colored water and powder at each other.
 
   

  MAHAVIR JAYANTI

 
Mahavir Jayanti is the birth anniversary of Mahavira, The 24th and the last jain Tirthankar. It is a major jain festival. It is a day of prayer. Most of the jains fast on this days .Processions are carried out and offering are given to the god. There are celebrations in all Jain temples and pilgrimages to Jain shrines.
 
   

  GOOD FRIDAY

 

Good Friday is a Christian festival and is celebrated with great enthusiasm in India. Christians observe Good Friday as the day on which Jesus laid down his life for the good of humanity. Services and recitals of religious music are held in the churches.

 
   

  BUDDHA PURNIMA

 
Buddha Purnima The three ocassions of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and his reaching nirvana are all celebrated on this day. The Buddha is supposed to have gone through each of these experiences on the same day, but of different years. Buddha Purnima.
 
   

  RAM NAVAMI

 
Ram Navami is the day of Rama's birth and is celebrated as a day of great piety, with the chanting of prayers and the singing of ballads. On this day processions are carried out in Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Rama. Temples are decorated with lights and flowers.
 
   

  ID-UL-FITRE(RAMZAN ID)

 
Coming with the new moon, this festival marks the end of Ramzan, the ninth month of the Muslim year. It was during this month that the holy Koran was revealed. Muslims keep a fast every day during this month and on the completion of the period, which is decided by the appearance of the new moon, Id-ul-Fitr is celebrated with great eclat. Prayers are offered in mosques and Idgahs and elaborate festivities are held.
 
   

   ID-UL-AZHA OR ID-UL-ZUHA(BAKR-ID)

 
The Id-ul-Azha commemorates the ordeal of Hazrat Ibrahim, who had been put to a terrible test by God when he was asked to sacrifice whatever was dearest to him and he decided to sacrifice the life of his son. As he was on the point of applying the sword to his son's throat, it was revealed to him that this was meant only to test his faith, and it was enough, if instead he sacrifices only a ram in the name of Allah. This is celebrated on the tenth day of Zilhijja, when the Haj celebrations at Mecca are rounded off by the sacrifice of goats or camels. In India, too, goats and sheep are sacrificed all over the country and prayers are offered.
 
   

   NAG PANCHAMI

 
Nag Panchami The festival of Nag Panchami is celebrated throughout the country in the month of Shravana (July-August). This festival is dedicated to Ananata, the serpent whose coils Lord Vishnu rests between universes. Offerings are made to snake images. Snakes are supposed to have the power over the monsoon rainfall and keep evil from homes. Snakes are worshiped and offered milk. Many hindu families do pooja at home.
 
   

   RAKSHA BANDHAN

 
Raksha Bandhan celebrated in India in the month of Shravana (July-August), is an age old festival which strengthens the bond of love between brother and sister. Raksha Bandhan is an integral part of the Hindu family structure whereby a woman ties a rakhi or decorative thread on the wrist of her brother to remind him to protect her if the need arises. The festival is celebrated as Coconut Day in Maharashtra as the monsoon seas are calmed by coconuts thrown to Varuna, the god of waters.
 
   

   GANESH CHATURTHI

 
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in the honour of lord Ganesha. This festival is dedicated to the popular elephant headed God, Ganesha. Pune, madras, and Bombay are the important centers of celebration. The elephant-headed god who is worshipped is believed to be the remover of obstacles. In Maharashtra, huge images of Ganesha are carried in procession. On specific dates in the following ten days, these images are immersed in the sea or rivers with thousands of worshippers dancing and singing after them.
 
   

   JANMASHTAMI

 
Krishna on his birth anniversary in the festival of Janmashtami. The temples of Vrindavan witness an extravagant and colourful celebration on this occasion. Raslila is performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha. The image of the infant Krishna is bathed at midnight and is placed in a cradle. Devotional songs and dances mark the celebration of this festive occasion all over Northern India.
 
   

   MUHARRAM

 
Another Muslim festival that falls around March is the Muharram. It is not a festival to celebrate but a day is remembered and mourned as the martyr's day of Imam Hussein. People take out big taziyas or processions on this day crying and mourning for Hussein. In some places people hit themselves and hurt themselves trying to remember the sufferings of Hussein.
 
   

   DUSSEHRA

 
This festival is a celebration of the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana (good over evil). The Ramlila – an enactment of the life of Lord Rama, is held nine days before Dussehra. On the tenth day, larger than life effigies of Ravana, his son Meghnath and brother Kumbhkarna are set alight. The festivities acquire a local significance in different parts of the country. For instance, in Himachal Pradesh, Dussehra is celebrated with a week-long fair at Kullu. Mysore comes alive with majestic processions, a torch light parade as well as dance and musical events.
 
   

   DIWALI

 
Deepawali or Diwali, the most popular of all Hindu festivals, celebrates the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. It commemorates Lord Rama’s return to his kingdom Ayodhya, after completing his 14-year exile. Twinkling oil lamps or diyas light up every home. Splendid firework displays reflect the wild abandon with which the festival is celebrated. The goddess Lakshmi (consort of Lord Vishnu), who is the symbol of wealth and prosperity, is also worshipped on this day. This festive occasion also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year (for trade and business). Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god who symbolizes wisdom, is also worshipped in most Hindu homes on this day.
 
   

   GURUPURAB

 
The first full moon night falling after Diwali is the Guru Nanak Jayanti; that is the birthday of the first Sikh Guru. The Sikh community all over India celebrates this festival with great exuberance. They burn crackers and decorate their houses with lights.
 
   

   CHRISTMAS

 
Christmas is widely celebrated all over India and is especially interesting in Goa and Kerala, where some of the local culture has been absorbed into the festivities. The birth anniversary of Jesus Christ is celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike, with special enthusiasm in big cities like Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta, where shops and homes take on a festive air. Families get together around decorated trees and gifts are exchanged. On Christmas Eve, midnight services are held in churches.