In a culturally rich country like India there are numerous festivals and all are welcomed with big celebrations. Interestingly, almost all festivals of India whether big or small are celebrated with great zeal and brings with it a wave of excitement and happiness. The beauty of India is magnified by these festivals and each of these mirrors our culture and traditions at its best. Here we bring to you a list of the most prominent ones to mark in your calendar.
Diwali – Brightness Over Darkness
Undoubtedly one of the most famous festivals of India, Diwali is celebrated all across India. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil and brightness over darkness. On this day everybody comes together to light up diyas, to burst crackers, and exchange gifts and sweets among family and friends. It’s known as the “Festival of Lights” for all the fireworks, small lamps, and candles that are lit to welcome Lord Ram and his wife Sita returning to their kingdom of Ayodhya, following the defeat of Ravan.
Holi – Festival Of Colors
Among all the Indian festivals, Holi is considered a very carefree festival as it is celebrated by applying colors on each other. This festival is centered around the burning and destruction of the demoness Holika. It also signifies the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. However, the real fun part involves people applying dry and wet colors on each other with hands, water guns or balloons. Typically, the celebrations start on the eve of the festival with a huge bonfire with people singing and dancing around this crackling fire.
Ganesh Chaturthi – Birth Of Lord Ganeha
This spectacular ten day Ganesh Chaturthi festival is quite famous in Maharashtra as it honors the birth of the beloved elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha. The huge, elaborately-crafted statues of Ganesha installed in public podiums are worshiped everyday throughout the festival. On the last day, they’re paraded from home or pandal to the sea shore, filled with dancing and singing. The idol is then immersed in water, which marks the end of the festivities.
Onam – Welcoming King Mahabali
One of the biggest festivals of India, Onam is a stunning display of Kerala’s culture and heritage and is celebrated to commemorate the return of the mythical King Mahabali. Onam celebrations include a lot of fanfare and gaiety, wherein people wear traditional wear, adorn houses with Pookalam, and prepare elaborate feast called Onasadya. Events such as the spectacular snake boat race, mesmerizing Kaikottikali dance, sports competitions, and flower decoration competitions are also held.
Eid-Ul-Fitr – Marks The End Of Ramadan
Eid is one of the major festivals of India for the Muslim community. It marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. The festival is celebrated on the day following the sighting of the crescent moon. This festival is marked by people offering prayers at mosques, visiting friends and relatives, and feasting with their near and dear ones. The sweet seviyan is perhaps the most famous symbol of Eid. As Eid marks the breaking of the fast, this holiday is celebrated with large meals and incredible street food.
Durga Puja – The Divine Powerful Goddess
Durga Puja is ranked as one of the top in the list of religious festivals of India which is celebrated by Bengalis. Huge and beautiful Durga idols are made and placed in specially made Pandals. A ritual called Ghatasthapana is performed to invoke the energy of the goddess. People dress up in new clothes and go pandal-hopping with family and friends to worship and witness cultural dance and dramas. During this festival, devotees observe a fast and offer prayers for the protection of their health and prosperity.
Dussehra – Triumph Of Good Over Evil
Dussehra, also referred to as Vijayadashami, marks the end of Navratri as well as Durga Puja. This festival honors the victory of Lord Rama over the demon Ravana and is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. Mysore in the state of Karnataka is the best place to enjoy Dussehra. During the festival, Mysore Palace is illuminated with lakhs of bulbs, presenting a breath-taking sight. The huge procession carried out by decorated elephants on this occasion is also worth witnessing.
Pongal – Thanksgiving To Nature
Pongal is a four-day long harvest festival of South India to celebrate the end of the harvest season. This festival also marks the return of the sun into the Northern Hemisphere and the return of warmer weather. Traditional costume, bonfires, dancing, cattle races, sweets, and savories all form a part of the celebrations. People even decorate their homes with beautiful rangolis, using colored rice and power petals, symbolizing the nurturing harvest produced by the farmers. They also make offerings to the Sun God for luck and prosperity.
Raksha Bandhan – Strengthening The Bond
Rakshabandhan or Rakhi signifies the eternal bond of brothers and sisters. During Rakhi, the sister performs Aarti, applies tilak, and ties rakhi on the brother’s wrist wishing his well being. The brother in return, gives his sisters a gift and a promise to protect her whenever the need arises. The rakhi used during the festival are made from colorful woven threads and decorated with shining stones and beads. There are a whole lot of traditional sweets made during this festival.
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Christmas – Celebrating The Birth Of Christ
One of the most awaited festivals of India and around the world is Christmas. The birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated with ecstatic merriment and joy. Attractive Christmas trees are a common sight everywhere, from Churches to people’s homes, to the largest malls; everything is lit up and decorated. The day is celebrated with attending prayer mass at churches, exchanging gifts, and feasting with family and friends. Since Christmas is followed by the New Year, there is a festive spirit in the air.
The list is endless, but we hope the above festivals of India will never run you out of reasons and seasons to celebrate.