Attending Indian festivals will acquaint you with the colorful culture and traditions of the country.
India is known for its festival culture and the unique feature is that every festival is celebrated with elaborate celebrations, food, customs and grandeur where entire families get together in celebrating the occasion.
Although festivals are held throughout the year, but winter months are quite distinctive to witness some of the main festivals. One feature of festivals in India is that the festivals do not have a fixed date as the date depends on the lunar cycle so it keeps changing year after year.
Below we have discussed a few festivals celebrated in India
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Lohri – A Harvest Festival Celebrated In North India
Lohri is a colorful festival celebrated with great pomp, dance and music on the 13th January. It is the harvest festival of Punjab and also the beginning of Winter Solstice that means the shortest day and longest night. Lohri is featured with a bonfire where the whole family and sometimes a whole neighborhood get together celebrating the festive spirit with music and dance showing the rich traditions of Punjab.
Diwali – The Festival Of Lights
Diwali is a major festival of India celebrating the victory of good over evil. The meaning of the word Diwali is ‘lighted lamps’ so it is rightfully called the festival of lights. This festival is celebrated by lighting small ‘diyas’ and candles and burning fireworks and crackers. All this was done to celebrate the returning of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile. In present times all cities in India are brightly lit with dazzling lights with Diwali parties being organized for a fortnight before the main festival day.
Diwali is as big a festival in India as Christmas for the West. The festive celebration continues for days with families getting together exchanging gifts. Prayers and rituals mark the festive spirit with children enjoying the special sweets and fireworks.
Holi – The Festival Of Colors
Holi is a much-awaited festival in India with Indians as well as foreigners taking part by throwing colors and colored water on each other. Holi is celebrated on the full moon day in March with the commencement of the spring season. Though the festival is celebrated all over the country there are special celebrations held in Mathura & Vrindavan, the birth place of Lord Krishna.
Holi should be celebrated with friends and family with natural plant based and non synthetic colors otherwise it can get very rowdy playing with people drinking ‘bhang’.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in honour of Lord Ganesh, the elephant headed God. The festival continues for eleven days in September depending on the cycle of the moon. The deities of Ganesh are made and installed in homes and temples where festivities along with prayers continue for ten days. Anant Chaturdasi is on the eleventh day when the diety is taken in the form of a procession with singing and dancing and then immersed in the sea.
Mumbai is the best city to view the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi at the Siddhivinayak Temple and the Visarjan (immersion) is truly a spectacle to see.
The best place to celebrate Durga Puja is Kolkata in West Bengal where it is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show. This festival honors Goddess Durga who is supposed to be the feminine divine energy or force. Extensively decorated pandals or stages are created where besides singing and music people admire the art work. In fact, Kolkata becomes more of an art gallery showcasing Bengali culture.
On the last day of the festivities the statues of Goddess Durga are immersed in the River Ganga.
Goa Carnival is celebrated with continuous festivities for 72 hours celebrated. The festival is featured with singing, dancing, guitar strumming, feasting, acrobatic and fire performances. It is enjoyed by people of all communities, castes and creed.
It is one of the best winter festivals of Goa celebrated in every Goan home.