Local festivals of India that you cannot miss during your Holidays
India is a land of celebrations. Popular for its colorful festivities and holy values that are deep rooted in our culture, India is truly a place to live life to the fullest and witness a house full of energy and soulfulness. Festivals in India date back to the time when every single day was celebrated as one or the other festival to maintain a flow of positivity and goodness in life.
However, with globalization and poverty hitting India, a lot of these festivals have vanished and can only be heard of in stories. But still a plethora of festivals being celebrated bring you a chance to witness some of the most grand celebrations with a touch of rich Indian heritage of music and culture.
Some of the most popular local Indian festivals celebrated on various occasions across various parts of the nation are listed below, which will give you a deep insight into India’s culture, heritage and values:
1.Lohri – Celebrated on 13th January each year in Punjab of Hindu and Sikh faith. It is celebrated by lighting up a bonfire and distributing sweets. The whole neighborhood gets together and folk songs are sung along with drums being played.
2. Hemis: It is a Buddhist festival celebrated in the 5th lunar month of the monkey calendar, to celebrate the life of Narupa. Narupa was an accomplished saint who lived in the 11th The celebration is special every 12 years, and 2016 also marks the 12 year cycle. The celebration is one-month long comprising of several cultural performances and display of the popular bone ornament of Naropa.
3. Maha Shivratri: Shivratri is celebrated in honor of Shiva: the Hindu deity known for his power and calmness. It is celebrated on the 14th moonless night of the new moon in the Phalgun month of Hindu calendar. It is said that it was on this day that Lord Shiva performed the Tandav: The dance of creation and destruction. This day is believed to bring spiritual wealth to one and devotees celebrate the day by fasting and donating things to needy people. Also, linga is bathed with milk in order to achieve peace and solitude.
4. Aoling festival– A festival of the Konyak tribe in Nagaland,it is celebrated fom 1st-6th April and marks the brginning of the new year and welcomes the spring season. The festivities include traditional tribal cuisine, smoking opium, drinking local alcohol and dance. If you like the tribal culture or are curious about it, then this is one thing you should not miss out on!
5. Vaisakhi– Celebrated on 14th April every year in Punjab, this festival marks the birth of Khalsa and brginning of the harvest season. The festivity includes the traditional dance-bhangra and the Punjabi folk music. If you like exploring various cultures, then this is the best time to be in Punjab.
6. Rangoli Bihu– Celebrated from 14-16th April, this festival brings together the whole population of Assam and marks the beginning of the new year as per the hindu calendar and the harvest of the sowing season. The festivities include traditional assamese dance,music and food.
7. Thrissur Pooram– One of the most spectacular festivals held in Kerala, it is celebrated on 28th Thrissur Pooram witnesses a spree of events ranging from multi-colored elephants to fireworks, to enchanting musical performances. Awarded by UNESCO as the most spectacular festival on the planet, this is one thing to see before the rest!
8. Durga Asthami and Navratri: Widely observed in West Bengal and Gujarat respectively, these festivals mark the beginning of the festive season with colorful celebration comprising of garba and durga puja. Huge procession is carried out on the 8th day in West Bengal, to signify the power and warrior side of the great feminine energy of Goddess Durga, where all the married women wear saree and sindoor.
Navratri is observed on the 9th day of the celebration to commemorate the successful completion of 9days of fasting and young girls are invited for meal by devotees at home.
- Guru Purab: This festival is celebrated in honor of Guru Nanak Dev’s birth, founder of Sikh religion. A two-day long ceremony is held as a part of which grand procession carrying the holy granth(book) is carried out and langar(food distribution) is done. Amritsar in Punjab hosts the biggest celebration of the day where Golden temple: the holy temple of Sikhism is located.
10.Ganesh Chaturthi: A ten-day long celebration for the birth of beloved lord Ganesha with elephant-head is done. It is mainly celebrated in Maharashtra where huge statues are worshipped and paraded through streets to be submerged in water at the last day, as a part of the celebration. People gather in huge crowds to celebrate the last day of procession and dance their way to the sea or river where the last part of the ceremony is to be held.
11.Pushkar Camel fair: Celebrated on the last full moon day of the month Kartik of lunar calendar, this annual fair brings in more than half a million people to observe the colorful folk performances and camel parade. Pushkar is also popular for its calm and serene atmosphere and the brahma temple: the only one in this entire world.
These festivals represent the spirit and various faiths of India in the supreme power and their will to celebrate life in different ways, by making every day a celebration. Several people from different cultures come together to celebrate these festivals and the idea of India which unites people and their diversities.