Festivals in India
India is the land of colours, joy, fun, mystery and excitement. Being the boiling pot of various cultures; the land is home to many festivals that bring smile on its inhabitants.
Indians actually love celebration. Be it a new harvest, be it a new season, be it a mythological event or their believe in nationalistic values; they find every reason to get assemble, eat good food and enjoy together as a unit.
Let us go through some of the fantastically famous festivals of India:
Holi is the most famous Hindu festival of colors. It rejoices the victory of good over evil, good yield and fertility. It normally falls in the late February or March.
On the evening before the festival, large bonfires are lit in various parts of India to denote the burning of malevolent spirits. People usually throw wood, dried leaves and twigs into bonfires.
On the day of Holi, whole street and town gets filled with colours. people throw abeer and gulal (a kind of colored powder) in the air and onto each other. People also throw splash of water on each other. Pichkari (water guns) and balloons are used to pour water.in the evening people gather and visit friends and families where they relish festive meals and sweets.
Deepawali or Diwali, is the festival of lights which symbolizes victory of righteousness overspiritual darkness. The literal meaning of ‘Deepawali’ is rows of diyas (clay lamps). Diwali is a official holiday in India. Followers of many religion such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism celebrate Diwali in some form or another.
Deepawali is considered as most beautiful Indian festival. Streets, homes and every building is illuminated with diyas (clay lamps). People also make rangoli (colourful art on floor) in front of their houses. Children and adults wear new clothes, light firecrackers and buy and distribute sweets in the neighborhood and family.
Eid is the festival of breaking fast which also features the end of Ramadan, the holy month of Islam. It is observed as a mark of revelation of Quran to the Prophet Muhammad by almighty Allah.
Muslims observe fasting for the period of twenty nine to thirty days during the Ramadan.
Durga Puja or Vijaydashmi is the celebration of Maa Durga her triumph over the Mahishasura (vile and wicked buffalo demon). The festival accolades the powerful shakti (female force) which resides in the whole Universe.
The tenth and the last day, known as Dashami, signs the visarjan (immersion of idol in water) along with magnificent celebrations and processions.
Saraswati puja or Basant Panchami is said to be the day of Goddess Saraswati. It is believed that she came into being On this day. People around India perform puja and worship the equipments of learning like books, pencils, musical instruments and others.
Basant Panchami is celebrated by Hindus as well as Sikhs. The celebration of Basant Panchami different in north and south. In the North India it is observed as ‘Sarasvati Puja’ whereas in south it is largely celebrated as the temple festival
Makar Sankranti signifies the transit of sun from one zodiac sign to the next. This six month period is recognized as Uttarayana period. Since, the sun moves in Capricorn sign, known as Makara in Sanskrit; hence, it is identified as Makara Sankranti. This is the one and only festival which is celebrated on a fixed date and a day. It is also known as the harvest festival.
Republic day which is celebrated on 26th January. It is the day when Indian Constitution came into force in 1950.The country celebrates Republic Day with valour and pageantry. Citizens of the country observe the President of India who presides over the Republic Day Celebrations at Rajpath. Millions watch the occasion as it is broadcasted live on television.
Christian is the festival of celebration of the birth of Jesus. Christmas is the annual festival celebrated on December 25. Several customs that are observed during it includes decorating trees, feasting which includes picnics and fireworks and exchange of gifts.
Chhath Puja is a Hindu Vedic festival which is dedicated to Lord Sun and his wives, Usha and Sandhya. It is celebrated to thank them for giving the bounties of life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. The Goddess who is especially worshipped on the famous Chhath Puja day is known as Chhathi Maiya(Mother).
Onam is the most significant and famed harvest festivals of Kerala, God’s own country and India. It is a ten-day festival that is celebrated with ultimate joy all over the state of Kerala in the month
Pongal is a festival that is celebrated to thank the God Sun and Lord Indra for helping farmers the better-yielding crops. On the day of Pongal farmers prepare items like Pongal, Shakkara Pongal. A particular puja is also performed. This harvest festival is traditionally celebrated for four consecutive days. The first day of the festival is called as Bhogi. This is the day when people discard old belongings and welcome new stuff.
Ganesh Chaturthi or Ganesh Chauth is celebrated in India to celebrate the birthday of God Ganesh. It is believed that Ganesh brings great joy and prosperity every year and goes after removing all the negativity and pain. In order to please Ganesh, followers make several modaks(sweets) in this festival.
Anant Chaturdashi celebrates the essence of oneness and brotherhood. On the day of Anant Chaturdashi homage is paid to Lord Vishnu and then a thread is tied onto the arm. This thread can of silk or cotton and it must have 14 knots. The Ganesh Visarjan, after 10 days of Ganesh Chaturthi is also celebrated on the same day.
The whole nation celebrates the festival with great passion and enthusiasm. A lot of processions of lord Vishnu are taken out in order to get everyone in the festivity together.
Teej is the festival of India celebrated by women. Teej vrat(fasting) is observed by women who are from the north parts of India. Interestingly, Teej is of three types: Haryali Teej, Hartalika Teej and Kajari Teej. They are celebrated on third day of Lunar fortnight.
Raksha Bandhan is actually the celebration of lovely bond between brothers and sisters. It is a celebrated on the Shravan Poornima (new moon) in the month of Sawan(month of Hindu calendar). Sisters tie Rakhi knots on their brother’s wrist, feed them sweets and chocolates and brothers take a pledge to protect their sisters forever. In many places females also keep fasting on Raksha Bandhan and dress up in new clothes to mark this day.
Janmashtami or Gokulasthami is a festival which is celebrated in the northern parts of India and Maharashtra. It is celebrated on the Krishna paksha Ashtami of Bhadrapada(a month of Hindu calendar). It marks the birth of Lord Krishna.
Many devotees observe fast on this special day. Whereas some opt for nirjala vrat (fasting even without consuming water) others resort to the fast where they consume fruits and milk only. Different kinds of delicious sweets are also made for little Krishna idol.
Nowruz Nowruz marks the first day of the spring and the beginning of New Year in the Persian calendar. The festival gives us the teachings of unity, tolerance, good will and peaceful existence. People visit each other houses and this promotes the spirit of unity and brotherhood among them. They understand each other conditions and most importantly give helping hand to the needy.
Guru Nanak Jayanti is one of the most important festivals of the Sikh community. it is observed as the birthday of the first of their gurus(teachers), Guru Nanak. He is the founder of Sikhism and played an important role in shaping and strengthening the Sikh community. According to the literature, birth anniversary of Guru Nanak is celebrated on Poornima (full moon day) Kartik. It is Also known as Gurpurab or Guru Nanak’s Prakash Utsav. This day is celebrated with supreme enthusiasm among the Sikhs throughout the nation.