We all know that our country, India is a land of multiple diversities, religions, ethnicities and languages that define its huge geographic and cultural background. There are also different festivals and occasions that are celebrated in our country. All these special occasions are dedicated to various religions and people belonging to various states of India. Let us throw a quick light on the various festivals of India that are celebrated all over India with great splendour, joy and spirit.
1. Raksha Bandhan– It is one of the important festivals which is dedicated to the special bonding between a brother and a sister. It is celebrated during the month of August in various parts of India. There are various legends and mythological stories related to this festival but the basic essence lies in the mutual bonding and relationship between siblings. Sisters tie beautiful colourful Rakhis on the wrist of their brothers and pray for their well-being. Brothers in return offer gifts or money to their beloved sisters and take pledge to protect their sisters during the time of any adversity. In case, you don’t have time to visit a local marketplace to buy gifts for this day, you can easily get online Rakhi gifts for your brother/sister at any online gifting store. There are various gifting stores that can easily send Rakhi gifts to India and abroad for your loved ones.
2. Diwali– Diwali is one of the prominent festivals of India and is celebrated by the vast Hindu community in India and abroad. It is known by various names such as “Naraka Chaturthi”, “Deepavali”, “Prakash Parv” or the most commonly as the festival of lights. The occasion is celebrated in the memory of Lord Rama who killed the demon king Ravana to rescue his wife Sita who was taken away forcefully by the demon king. After killing Ravana, Lord Rama returned to his kingdom of Ayodhya with his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita. The occasion is usually celebrated in the month of October or November in India. This day is celebrated among people by lighting earthen lamps, illuminated lights, candles in their homes and there is light everywhere around. People also light up fire crackers, worship Goddess Lakshmi, decorate their homes and distribute gifts or sweets to their loved ones. Although, there are various theories involved with the celebration of this auspicious day in various religions and areas but it is celebrated with great excitement in every corner of India.
3. Holi– This festival of colours is celebrated by people in the month of March or April. There are various legends associated with this festival but the prominent story revolves around the Prahlada and his wicked aunt Holika. According to an ancient Mythology, the ardent follower of Lord Vishnu known as Prahlada was persuaded by his demon king father Hirnayakashyap to stop worshipping Lord Vishnu and instead consider him as God. However, when his son did not oblige, he ordered his evil sister Holika to sit in the fire with his son Prahlada in the lap as she had the boon that she would not be burnt by the fire on wearing a special blanket. However, she burnt and Prahlada was saved ultimately. To celebrate this festival, people burn the effigies of Holika to commemorate the victory of goodness over evil. On the next day of Holi, people put colours on each other’s face and embrace each other with happiness. Children throw colourful water on each other and various delicacies are distributed among people who visit each other house.
4. Eid-ul-Fitr– It is one of the most important festivals among Muslims in India and other parts of India. The occasion is celebrated after the ending of the holy month of Ramadan which involves fasting for an entire month. Muslims celebrate this day in a wonderful manner by wearing new clothes, offering special prayers at mosque, exchanging gifts and consuming sweets and delicacies with their loved ones. Children also receive gifts and the monetary donation from their elders as “Eidi” on this special day.
5. Navaratri/Durga Puja– It is one of the amazing festivals which is celebrated in India. The occasion is dedicated to the Goddess of Valour, Mata Durga which is revered by all Hindus in India and overseas. The festival is observed for the nine days which explains the reason for its name as “Navaratri” where devotees worship Maa Durga and observe fasts for the complete nine days. The occasion is celebrated with the “Garba” and “Dandiya Raas” in Gujarat whereas in West Bengal, large processions and pandals are set for the Goddess Durga. Finally, people submerge the idol of Goddess Durga into the river or sea at the conclusion ceremony of Durga Puja.
6. Dussehra– Just like most of the Indian festivals which celebrate the spirit of “victory of good over evil, the occasion is a representation of the same. The festival is celebrated in the memory of killing the demon king Ravana by the Lord Rama after the nine days of decisive battle. In parts of South India, it is celebrated to commemorate the killing of buffalo demon Mahishasura by the Goddess Durga. The festival usually falls on the month of September or October and Ram Lila is conducted in various parts of the country during this period.
7. Krishna Janmashtami– This auspicious day is celebrated in the birth honour of Lord Krishna. The festival is celebrated usually in the month of August or September. Temples are decorated extensively on this day and special prayers are organised at the stroke of midnight which is believed to be the birth time of Lord Krishna. Devotees throng temples in large numbers and observe fast for the whole day and conclude fasting only after offering water to the Moon God. Various societies and groups also organise “Dahi Handi” competitions at various parts of India along with different prize money involved with it.
8. Guru Purab– This is one of the prominent festivals for Sikhs across India and abroad. The festival is celebrated due to the various important events related to the life time of Sikh Gurus. There are birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh while martyrdoms of other Gurus like Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur are also celebrated. Gurdwaras are specially illuminated on these days and people carry out processions or events at various places. A continuous recitation of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs is also performed at Gurdwaras which is known as the “Akhand Path”.
9. Christmas– The special day is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Jesus, the founder of the Christianity faith. The festival is observed every year on 25th December among Christians across the world. Churches are beautifully decorated and illuminated with special programs and events related to the life of Jesus Christ are performed. Children also wait for the Santa Claus which arrives on a sledge and bring gifts for the children and adults. Special feasts are occurred in homes and various types of dishes as well as delicacies are prepared by the people.
10. Ganesh Chaturthi– The festivals is entirely dedicated to the Hindu God, Ganesha which is considered as the main God of good luck, well-being and prosperity. The occasion is celebrated with great fanfare in Maharashtra and other parts of India. People bring the idols of Lord Ganesha to their homes and worship it for nine consecutive days. On the tenth day, devotees carry out large processions and take the idol along with them in a celebratory mood. At the conclusion of the event, the idol is finally submerged in the river, sea or any other water bodies by the followers with a wish from God to arrive early on the next year.
So, have a quick look into all these festivals and get familiar with the festive spirit of India and its diverse people.