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 Home  » About India » Festivals of India

Festivals of India

Nagaur Fair
From 25 to 28 Feb
It is essentially an animal fair where it provides an opportunity to participate in some of the local sports.

Desert Festival, Jaisalmer
from 31 Jan - 2 Feb 2007
One of the most popular of all festivals, which is a journey into the heart of the desert, the golden city of Jaisalmer that has a charm of its own. A true show on the sands, that attracts even the much-traveled visitor.

Baneshwar Fair, Baneshwar
It is a religious festival with traditional rituals. This fair is the center of attraction of a large number of tribes from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat who join their sect from Rajasthan in offering prayers to Lord Shiva.

Gangaur, Jaipur
March-April
A festival devoted to Goddess Parvati. It is the time for young girls to dress up and pray for grooms of their choice while the married women pray for the well being of their husbands. This 18-day festival is laced with various activities and culminates in a grand procession marking the arrival of Shiva to accompany his bride home.

Mewar Festival, Udaipur
March-April

It is a festival to hail the spring season. There is song, dance, processions, devotional music and fireworks where almost everyone participates.

Elephant Festival, Jaipur
March-April

A festival to celebrate Holi, this is a great occasion for the visitor to watch several elephant sports. A show is organized with the elephants turning out in their best ceremonial dress.

Urs Ajmer Sharif, Ajmer
Held in the memory of the revered Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, it is an occasion believers to assemble at the shrine and offer their prayers. All of Ajmer seems to take on a festive air and several programs are organized to mark the festivals.

Summer Festival, Mt.Abu
It is organized on the only hill station of Rajasthan. This is comparatively the coldest place at this time of the year. Folk dances and a general atmosphere of cheerfulness prevails in this tiny hill resort and the tourist has ample time to relax and enjoy himself.

Teej, Jaipur
July-August
It is a festival to mark the advent of monsoon. Processions, women dressed in bright colours and a lot of cheerfulness prevail during Teej. Essentially a women's festival, it is interesting to watch them in groups and at various bazaars where they turn up to shop in all their best clothes.

Marwar Festival, Jodhpur
A festival devoted mainly to the music and dance of the Marwar region. This is a festival that allows the visitor to understand and enjoy the folk traditions of this part of the state.

Pushkar Fair, Ajmer
Pushkar is an important pilgrimage as well as the venue of a huge cattle fair. Bazaars, auctions, music and sports are highlight of this event.

Camel Festival, Bikaner
An enchanting desert city that comes alive with music and dance. It is fast gaining popularity as the visitor finds an opportunity to see some extraordinary folk performances, camel race, camel dance etc.

Some Important festivals

India is a land of often baffling diversity. It is a jigsaw puzzle of people of every faith and religion, living together to create a unique and colorful medley. There is a festival for every reason and for every season. Many festivals celebrate the various harvests; honor great historical figures and events, while much express devotion to the deities of different religions. Every celebration centers around the rituals of prayer, seeking blessings, exchanging goodwill, decorating houses, wearing new clothes, music, dance and feasting. Dates for most of the Hindu festivals vary from year to year, as the as Hindus follow the lunar calendar. Listed below are festivals for the Year 2006.

Lohri
Amidst the freezing cold weather, people, especially in the northern Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Himachal Pradesh, are busy making preparations for Lohri , a bonfire festival .

Makar Sankranti
Sankranti is the vibrant kite festival, where the sky is wrapped in kites. It is a celebration of spring, on the occasion of the ascent of the sun into the north. Sesame and jaggary 'laddoos' are prepaired and distributed, as a symbol of goodwill towards all.

Pongal
Pongal, the harvest festival of the South India, is celebrated with prayers and rituals including the famous boat race which takes place on the backwaters of Kerala.

January 26 -Republic day
Republic Day is celebrated with pomp and ceremony to mark the formation of the Indian Constitution. A colorful parade is held in New Delhi, which showcases everything from folk dances; march-pasts to the remarkable air show by the India Air force.

Id-ul Zuha
Celebrates the sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim, who willingly agreed to murder his son at the command of God. To celebrate the event, Muslims sacrifice one animal per family or group of families. There are prayers in mosques, feasting, and rejoicing. New clothes are worn and visits and greetings are exchanged.

Desert Festival.
Once a year in winters on sands of the great Thar Desert, come alive with brilliant color, music and laughter of the Desert Festival. The tourist authorities around January-February organize the festival. The very rich and colorful Rajasthani folk culture is on show here for a few days. Rajasthani men and tall beautiful women dressed in their brightly costumes, dance and sing lasting ballads of courage, romance and tragedy.

Muharram
Marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the holy Prophet Mohammed. It is observed by Muslims, who take out processions of colorfully decorated 'Tazias', which are paper and bamboo replicas of the martyr's tomb at Karbala in Iraq. The processions are especially impressive at Lucknow. In parts of the South, tiger dancers lead the procession.

Vasant Panchami.
Vasant Panchami heralds the arrival of spring in the North. Hindus worship Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning, Shiva- Durga and Lakshmi-Vishnu in tjis festival.

Floating Festival.
The Floating Festival in Madurai, the temple town in Tamil Nadu, South India is celebrated on the night of the full moon. Beautifully decorated idols are taken in a floating procession from the Meenakshi temple. Devotees dance in the procession while the onlookers spray colored water on them.

Mahashivratri
Mahashivratri marks the festival of Lord Shiva. Thousands of devotees flock to the Shiva temples all over India and celebrations go on all night long. Shiva is the destroyer in the Hindu trinity of Gods. When almost all other festivals are celebrated in daytime, Mahashivaratri is celebrated in the night. Shiv saved the world from darkness and ignorance. Shiv is known as Har because he deflected the submergence of the universe into complete darkness. Snakes, lions, peacocks and bulls shown along with Shiva's images symbolize freedom from evil showing fearlessness. So on the night prior to Amavasya, Shiv is specially worshipped to drive away the dark evil.

Holi
Holi is one of the most enthusiastic Hindu festivals in the north of India. It marks the end of winter and is celebrated by people throwing colored water and powder on each other. The night before, people gather together and light bonfires to burn the twigs and dried leaves of winter.

Elephant Festival in Jaipur.
The Elephant Festival is a matchless event held annually in Jaipur. Groomed impeccably, rows of elephants do a walkway facing an enthralled audience. The elephants move with composure in pageant, run races, play the regal game of polo, and finally participate in the spring festival of Holi. It is festival time with elephants typically celebrated one day before the Holi, Indian festival of colors.

Meenakshi Kalyanam.
Meenaskhi Kalyanam is the wedding festival of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara and is celebrated for twelve days from the second day of the lunar month. This is a spectacular festival celebrated at Madurai's Meenakshi temple in the month of Chaitra. The festival is characterized with royal decorated umbrellas, fans and traditional instrumental music. Scenes from mythology are enacted and the deities of Lord Siva, Goddess Shakti and Goddess Meenakshi are taken out in a colorful procession.

Mewar Festival in Jaipur.
The Mewar Festival is celebrated to welcome the arrival of spring. It coincides with the festival of Gangaur in Udaipur, and has a unique charm about it. The women folk gather to dress the images of Isar and Gangaur and then carry them in a ceremonial procession through different parts of the city. The procession winds its way to the Gangaur Ghat at Lake Pichhola. Here, the images are transferred to special boats amongst much singing and festivity.

Gudi Padwa
The Hindu Year begins on the first day of the month of Chaitra, Shuddha Pratipada. New Year is celebrated in different states of India under various names, like Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Gudi Padava in Maharashtra. The Sindhis celebrate it as Cheti chand. Ugadi and Gudi Padava share the same legends and customs. The Prasad of neem leaves and jaggery is common to all the three.

Good Friday.
This Christian festival marks the memory of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Christians fast and pray on this day.

Baisakhi.
This Sikh spring festival marks the day Guru Gobind Singh organized the order of the Khalsa.

Ambedkar Jayanti
It is the birthday of Dr Ambedkar celebrated. Born in a class considered low and outcast, Dr. Ambedkar fought for the downtrodden. he became the first Minister for Law in free India, and shaped the country's Constitution.

Ram Navmi
Ramnavmi celebrates the birth of Rama, the celebrated persona of the epic Ramayana. Temples are decorated and prayers are offered. Chariot processions of Ram, Seeta and Lakshman are taken out from mant temples

Mahavir Jayanti
The birth anniversary of the jain Tirthankara, Mahavir, is celebrated by Jains all over India. People meditate and offer prayers.

Gangaur Fair.
Gangaur Fair takes place in Rajasthan. Amidst much singing and dancing, the women worship the Goddess Parvati, or Gauri as she is called, and pray for a good husband. The festival lasts for 18 days.

Hanuman Jayanti
The full moon day of Chaitra is celebrated as Hanuman Jayanti. Hanuman is known for his valor, courage, deep devotion and dedication towards Lord Rama. Images of Hanuman are usually made of red stone, painted with vermilion. Hanuman also symbolises supreme physical strength. Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated in all the temples of Rama.

Pooram In the quaint town of Trichur in Kerala, this magnificent temple festival is celebrated with richly dressed up elephants, trumpets and fireworks, and is one of the most spectacular festivals in India. Two rows of elephants face each other, and while the nadaswarams create a crescendo of music, each side displays a mind-boggling array of richly ornamented parasols.

Buddha Purnima
This is the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, and is celebrated by Buddhists all over India.

Ratha Yatra
The spectacle of the Rath Yatra in Puri involves the gigantic temple car of Lord Jagannath making its annual journey, pulled by thousands of eager devotees. Images of the god and his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra are placed in giant large yellow chariots or raths, which are drawn by pilgrims. The procession or rath yatra draws huge crowds from all over the country.

15 August Independence Day
On this day in 1947, India became independent from the British Empire. The occasion is celebrated with flag hoisting ceremonies all over the country.

Teej
Teej is the festival of swings. It marks the advent of the monsoon month of Shravan .The monsoon rains fall on the parched land and the pleasing scent of the wet soil rises into the air. Swings are hung from trees and decorated with flowers. Young girls and women dressed in green clothes sing songs in celebration of the arrival of the monsoon. This festival is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, marking her union with Lord Shiva. Seekers of marital bliss and happiness worship goddess Parvati. An elaborate procession is taken out in Jaipur for two consecutive days on the festive occasion, which is watched by people in large numbers. The teej idol is luxuriantly decorated with ornaments and gaudy dresses. The Teej idol is covered with a canopy whereas the Gangaur idol is open.

Parsi New Year
It is the New Year's Day for the Parsi community. They celebrate the day with feasting. It goes back to the time of ancient Persia and describes how the kings of Persia celebrated their own glory and nature's glory and springtime on this day. Parsi's decorate their homes with flowers and rangoli patterns. They don their traditional kustis and caps made of gold and silver brocade and visit the fire temple, to perform a thanksgiving or Jashan. Then they visit friends and family and share sweets.

Nagpanchami
This snake festival is celebrated in the honour of the cosmic thousand-headed snake belonging to Lord Visnu, called Shesha. There is a colorful fair in Jodhpur where huge cloth images of the serpent are displayed. Women offer cooked rice and milk to snakes. Clay snakes are worshipped during the day and immersed into the sea in the evening.

Onam
Onam is celebrated in Kerala to mark the harvest time, and involves lots of singing and fasting. The famous snake boat races take place at this time.

Raksha Bandhan
On this day sisters tie a rakhee or decorated colored thread on the brother's wrist, as a symbol of love and protection.

Janmashtami
The birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated with prayers and acting out of stories of his childhood. Krishna was one of the Avataars of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver in the Hindu Trinity.

Ganesh Chaturthi
This extremely popular festival is dedicated to the much-loved elephant-headed god Ganesh. It's celebrated widely, but with particular enthusiasm in Maharashtra. Ganesh is the God of good omens and is worshiped by most Hindus. Clay models of the deity are worshiped and taken out in grand procession accompanied by the sound of drums.

Gandhi Jayanti
The birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, known as the father of the nation, is celebrated with prayer meetings.

Navratri
The festival of nine nights is celebrated with great enthusiasm in all parts of the country. Garba & Dandiya-Raas dance is performed by people wearing colorful dresses and by dancing in a circle, singing 'Garbas' or traditional songs. Dandiya-Raas is played with wooden sticks. Described in the following pages is more about this festival of whirling ghagras, traditional music and colourful dandiyas.

Diwali
This festival is celebrated with lights and fireworks to honor the return of Rama from exile. Every Hindu home is lit with oil lams and decorated with colorful pattern on the floor, to welcome the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.

Bhai Dooj
The fifth and final day of the Diwali Festival is known by the name of "Bhai Duj" in the Hindi-speaking belt "Bhau-Bij" in the Marathi-speaking communities and in Nepal by the name of "Bhai-Tika". On Bhai Duja, sisters apply tilak to their brothers and pray for their long and happy life. In all likelihood, this ritual was originally intended only for married women. Since they celebrated Diwali with their in-laws, this festival allowed them to come to their parent's home during this auspicious time. Nowadays however, among many communities both married and unmarried sisters observe Bhai Duja.

Id -ul-Fitr
The Holy Koran was revealed this month according to the Muslim belief. Muslims fast every day during this month, which are called Roza. Food is taken once after sun down during this whole month. Friends and families join (the breaking of fastand share the meal irrespective of religion. On the completion of the period, which depends on the appearance of the new moon, Id-ul-Fitr is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Community prayers are offered in mosques and Idgahs and it is celebrated as a joyous occasion. People visit friends and greet them. New clothes, good food and fireworks all form an important part of merrymaking.

Pushkar
The famous Pushkar Fair is a great tourist attraction. People from around the globe come to the ancient religious town of Pushkar, which is transformed, into a spectacular fair ground in the month of Kartik. People bathe, worship and delight in the dazzling wares of roadside stalls. Camels are bought, sold, beautified, raced and parade. Most unusual are the small groups of men and women seen busy tattooing their hands and other parts of the body. The fair is predominantly a rural gathering. Villagers come from different parts of the state and bring their cattle with them. On spectacular sanddunes camel, horse and bullock races are great crowd pullers. All roads lead to the lake, which is flooded with pilgrims. The movement of the crowd is like a tide of color with currents of crimson, yellow and turquoise.

Guru Nanak Jayanti
The birth of anniversary of Guru Nanak is celebrated by the Sikhs with the recitation of verses from the Akhand Path.

Christmas
Christians from all over India celebrate with midnight mass, hymns and feasting.

Festival 2006 2007 Held At
Pushkar 02-05 Nov 21-24 Nov Pushkar
Nagaur 04-07 Feb 25-28 Feb Nagaur
Desert 10-12 Feb 31 Jan-02 Feb Jaisalmer
Elephant 14-14 Mar 02-03 Mar Jaipur

Some Important festivals


India is a land of often bewildering diversity. It is a jigsaw puzzle of people - of every faith and religion, living together to create a unique and colourful mosaic. There is a festival for every reason and for every season. Many festivals celebrate the various harvests, commemorate great historical figures and events, while many express devotion to the deities of different religions. Every celebration centres around the rituals of prayer , seeking blessings, exchanging goodwill, decorating houses, wearing new clothes, music, dance and feasting. Dates for most of the Hindu festivals vary from year to year, as the as Hindus follow the lunar calendar. Listed below are festivals for the Year 2005.

Lohri

Amidst the freezing cold weather you would be amazed to find a palpable wave of activity going on. People, especially in the northern Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and parts of Himachal Pradesh, are busy making preparations for Lohri — the long-awaited bonfire festival .

Makar Sankranti

Sankranti is the colourful kite festival, where the sky is enveloped in kites of an amazing hue of colours. It is a celebration of spring, on the occasion of the ascent of the sun into the north(uttarayana). Sesame and jaggary 'laddoos' or round sweets are made and distributed, as a symbol of goodwill towards all.

Pongal

Pongal, the harvest festival of the South, is celebrated with prayers and rituals including the famous boat rave which takes place on the backwaters of Kerala.

January 26 -Republic day (National holiday) .

Republic Day is celebrated with pomp and ceremony to mark the day the Indian Constituition was formed in 1950. A colourful parade is held in New Delhi, which showcases everything from folk dances, march pasts to the impressive air show by the India Air force.

Id-ul Zuha ( Bakrid )

Celebrates the sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim, who willingly agreed to kill his son at the behest of God. To celebrate the event, Muslims sacrifice one animal per family or group of families. There are prayers in mosques, feasting, and rejoicing. New clothes are worn and visits and greetings are exchanged. September

Desert Festival.

Once a year in winters and on the middle of the continually rising and falling stark yellow sands of the great Thar Desert, the empty sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colour, music and laughter of the Desert Festival. The festival is organised by the tourist authorities as tourist entertainment around January-February. The very rich and colourful Rajasthani folk culture is on show here for a few days. Rajasthani men and tall beautiful women dressed in their brightly costumes dance and sing lingering ballads of valour, romance and tragedy. Traditional musicians attempt to outdo each other in their musical superiority

Muharram

Commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the holy Prophet Mohammed, and observed by the Shi'ite Muslims, who take out processions of colourfully decorated 'Tazias', which are paper and bamboo replicas of the martyr's tomb at Karbala in Iraq. The processions are specially impressive at Lucknow. In parts of the South, tiger dancers -- men painted over with stripes and wearing tiger masks -- lead the procession.

Vasant Panchami.

Vasant Panchami heralds the arrival of spring in the North. Hindus worship Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning, Shiva- Durga and Lakshmi-Vishnu.

Floating Festival.

The Floating Festival in Madurai, the temple town in Tamil Nadu, South India is celebrated on the night of the full moon. Beautifully decorated idols from the temples are taken in a floating procession from the Meenakshi temple. Devotees dance in the procession while the onlookers spray coloured water on them.

Mahashivratri

Mahashivratri marks the festival of Lord Shiva. Thousands of devotees flock to the Shiva temples all over India and celebrations go on all night long. Shiva is the destroyer in the Hindu trinity of Gods. When almost all other festivals are celebrated in day time, Mahashivaratri is celebrated in the night. Shiv it is saved the world from Tamogun (darkness and ignorance). Shiv is known as Har because he defleced the submersion of the universe into complete darkness. Snakes, lions, peacocks and bulls shown along with Shiva?s images symbolize freedom from evil exhibiting fearlessness. So on the night prior to Amavasya, Shiv is specially worshipped to drive away the dark evil.

Holi

Holi is one of the most exuberant Hindu festivals in the north of India. It marks the end of winter and is celebrated by people throwing coloured water and powder on each other. The night before, people gather together and light bonfires to burn the twigs and dried leaves of winter.

Elephant Festival Jaipur.

The Elephant Festival is an inimitable event held annually in Jaipur. Groomed flawlessly, rows of elephants do a catwalk before an enthralled audience liked best fashion models to make this festival an amazing one. The elephants move with poise in pageant, run races, play the regal game of polo, and finally participate in the spring festival of Holi. It is festival time with elephants typically celebrated one day before the Holi, Indian festival of colours.

Meenakshi Kalyanam.

Meenaskhi Kalyanam, the wedding festival of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwara is celebrated for twelve days from the second day of the lunar month (i.e. two days after the new moon). This is a spectacular festival celebrated at Madurai?s Meenakshi temple in the month of Chaitra (April-May). The festival is characterized with royal decorated umbrellas, fans and traditional instrumental music. Scenes from mythology are enacted and the deities of Lord Siva, Goddess Shakti and Goddess Meenakshi are taken out in a colorful procession.

Mewar Festival Jaipur.

The Mewar Festival is celebrated to welcome the advent of spring. It coincides with the festival of Gangaur in Udaipur, and has a unique charm about it. The women folk gather to dress the images of Isar and Gangaur and then carry them in a ceremonial procession through different parts of the city. The procession winds its way to the Gangaur Ghat at Lake Pichhola. Here, the images are transferred to special boats amidst much singing and festivity.

Gudi Padwa (New Year).

The Hindu Year begins on the first day of the month of Chaitra, Shuddha Pratipada.New Year is celebrated in different states of India under various names, for e.g. Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Gudi Padava in Maharashtra. The Sindhis celebrate it as Cheti chand. Ugadi and Gudi Padava share the same legends and customs. The Prasad of neem leaves and jaggery is common to all the three. Read on to have a brief insight on the common factor that binds all these festivals.

Good Friday.

This Christian festival marks the memory of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Christians fast and pray. 15

Baisakhi.

This Sikh spring festival commemorates the day Guru Gobind Singh organised the order of the Khalsa

Ambedkar Jayanti

Birthday of Dr Ambedkar celebrated. Born in a class considered low and outcast, Dr. Ambedkar fought untiringly for the downtrodden. The boy who suffered bitter humiliation became the first Minister for Law in free India, and shaped the country’s Constitution. A determined fighter, a deep scholar, human to the tips of his fingers.

Ram Navmi

Ramnavmi celebrates the birth of Rama, the celebarted hero of the epic Ramayana. Temples are decorated and prayers are offered. Chariot processions of Ram, Seeta and Lakshman are taken out from mant temples

Mahavir Jayanti

The birth anniversary of the jain Tirthankara, Mahavir, is celebrated by Jains all over India. People meditate and offer prayers.

Gangaur Fair.

Gangaur Fair takes place in Rajasthan. Amidst much singing and dancing, the women worship the Goddess Parvati, or Gauri as she is called, and pray for a good husband. The festival lasts for 18 days.

Hanuman Jayanti

The full moon day of Chaitra is celebrated as Hanuman Jayanti. Hanuman is known for his valour, courage, deep devotion and dedication towards Lord Rama. Images of Hanuman are usually made of red stone, painted with vermilion. Hanuman also symbolises supreme physical strength. Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated in all the temples of Rama.

Pooram In the quaint town of Trichur in Kerala, this magnificent temple festival is celebrated with richly caprisioned elephants, trumpets and fireworks, and is one of the most spectacular festivals in India. Two rows of elephants face each other, and while the nadaswarams create a cresendo of music, each side displays a mind boggling array of richly ornamented parasols.

Buddha Purnima

This is the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, and is celebrated by Buddhists all over India.

Ratha Yatra

The spectacle of the Rath Yatra in Puri involves the gigantic temple car of Lord Jagannath making its annual journey, pulled by thousands of eager devotees. Images of the god and his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra are placed in giant large yellow chariots or raths which are then drawn by pilgrims. The procession or rath yatra draws huge crowds from all over the country.

15 August Independence Day (National holiday)

On this day in 1947, India became independent from the British Empire. The occasion is celebrated with flag hoisting ceremonies all over the country.

Teej

Teej is the festival of swings. It marks the advent of the monsoon month of Shravan (August). The monsoon rains fall on the parched land and the pleasing scent of the wet soil rises into the air. Swings are hung from trees and decorated with flowers. Young girls and women dressed in green clothes sing songs in celebration of the advent of the monsoon. This festival is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, commemorating her union with Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati is worshipped by seekers of conjugal bliss and happiness. An elaborate procession is taken out in Jaipur for two consecutive days on the festive occasion which is watched by people in large numbers. The teej idol is richly decorated with ornaments and gaudy dresses. The Teej idol is covered with a canopy whereas the Gangaur idol is open.

Parsi New Year

It is the New Year's Day for the Parsi community. They celebrate the day with feasting. It goes back to the time of ancient Persia and describes how the kings of Persia celebrated their own glory and nature's glory and springtime on this day. Parsi's decorate their homes with flowers and rangoli patterns. They don their traditional kustis and caps made of gold and silver brocade and visit the fire temple(agiary), to perform a thanksgiving or Jashan. Then they visit friends and family and share special sweets.

Nagpanchami

This snake festival is celebrate din honour of the cosmic thousand headed snake belonging to Lord Visnu, called Shesha. There is a colourful fair in Jodhpur where huge cloth effigies of the serpent are displayed. Women offer cooked rice and milk to snakes. Clay snakes are worshipped during the day and immersed into the sea in the evening.

Onam

Onam is celebrated in Kerala to mark the harvest time, and involves lots of singing and fasting. The famous snake boat races take place at this time.

Raksha Bandhan

On this day sisters tie a ‘rakhee ’or decorated coloured thread on the brother’s wrist, as a symbol of love and protection.

Janmashtami

The birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated with prayers and enactment of stories of his childhood. Krishna was one of the Avataars of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver in the Hindu Trinity.

Ganesh Chaturthi

This extremely popular festival is dedicated to the much loved elephant-headed god Ganesh. It's celebrated widely, but with particular enthusiasm in Maharashtra. Ganesh is the God of good omens and is worshiped by most Hindus. Clay models of the deity are worshiped and taken out in grand procession accompanied by the sound of cymbals and drums.

October 02-Gandhi Jayanti (National holiday)

The birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, known as the father of the nation, is celebrated with prayer meetings.

Navratri

the festival of nine nights is celebrated with great zest in all parts of the country. Garba & Dandiya-Raas dance is performed by people wearing colourful dresses and by dancing in a circle, singing 'Garbas' or traditional songs. Dandiya-Raas is played with wooden sticks (dandiyas). Described in the following pages is more about this festival of whirling ghagras, traditional music and colourful dandiyas.

Diwali

This festival is celebrated with lights and fireworks to commemorate the return of Rama from exile. Every Hindu home is lit with oil lams and decorated with coulourful pattern on the floor, to welcome the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.

Bhai Dooj

The fifth and final day of the Diwali Festival is known by the name of "Bhai Duj" in the Hindi-speaking belt "Bhau-Bij" in the Marathi-speaking communities and in Nepal by the name of "Bhai-Tika". On Bhai Duja sisters apply tilak to their brothers and pray for their long and happy life. In all likelihood, this ritual was originally intended only for married women. Since they celebrated Diwali with their in-laws, this festival allowed them to come to their parent's home during this auspicious time. Nowadays however, among many communities Bhai Duja is observed by both married and unmarried sisters.

Id -ul-Fitr

The Holy Koran was revealed this month according to the Muslim belief. Muslims fast every day during this month, which are called Roza. Food is taken once after sun down during this whole month. Friends and families join the Iftar (the breaking of fast) and share the meal irrespective of religion. On the completion of the period, which depends on the appearance of the new moon, Id-ul-Fitr is celebrated with great fervour. Community prayers are offered in mosques and Idgahs and it is celebrated as a joyous occasion. People visit friends and greet them. New clothes, good food and fireworks all form an important part of merrymaking.

Pushkar

The famous Pushkar Fair is a great tourist attraction. People from around the globe come to the ancient religious town of Pushkar which is transformed into a spectacular fair ground in the month of Kartik. People bathe, worship and delight in the dazzling wares of roadside stalls. Camels are bought, sold, beautified, raced and parade. Most unusual are the small groups of men and women seen busy tattooing their hands and other parts of the body. The fair is predominantly a rural gathering. Villagers come from different parts of the state and bring their cattle with them. On spectacular sanddunes camel, horse and bullock races are great crowd pullers. All roads lead to the lake, which is flooded with pilgrims. The movement of the crowd is like a tide of colour with currents of crimson, yellow and turquoise.

Guru Nanak Jayanti

The birth of anniversary of Guru Nanak is celebrated by the Siks with the recitation of verses from the Akhand Path.

Christmas

Christians from all over India celebrate with midnight mass, hymms and feasting.

About India
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