Indian festivals are world famous not only for being very diverse due to the coexistence of many religions but also because they are very vibrant and lively. Known for its rich cultural and lingual diversity, India celebrates festivals all through the year. Although to list down a few festivals in India from what seems like an endless list is a tough task, yet we have put in our best to capture the ten most famous festivals.
Photo by Swaminathan, CC BY 2.0
A five-day festival, it celebrates the home coming of Lord Ram, Goddess Sita and Lord Lakshman after defeating Ravana. The most prominent of all Hindu festivals, Diwali is synonymous with wearing new clothes, bursting crackers, performing puja and exchanging sweets with family and friends. Known as the Festival of Lights, people light up their homes with diyas, candles and fancy lights. Almost the entire country is beautifully lit up and it is considered as one of the most auspicious time to buy something new.
Photo by Nimitnigam, CC BY-SA 3.0
Celebrated during the holy month of Ramadan, it is a very important festival of Muslims. They dress up gracefully, exchange sweets and greet their friends and family. Eid-ul-Fitr translates to breaking of the fast, and it ends the 30-day dawn-to-sunset fast of the Muslim Community. It is marks the holy time when the first verses of Quran got known to Prophet Muhammad.
Photo by Raman Virdi, CC BY 2.0
To celebrate the anniversaries of the ten Sikh Gurus, Sikhs observe Gurupurab. Gurdwaras everywhere organize langars and hold assemblies to teach everyone the lessons learnt from the lives of and preached by the Gurus. This is one of the best festivals of Punjab. People dress up in fineries and decorate up their homes to observe the festival. The gurdwaras also distribute the delectable Karah Prasad amidst the stirring sound of Gurbani and hymns being played.
Photo by Kumar’s Edit, CC BY 2.0
The Festival of Colors is celebrated with a lot of fervor and enthusiasm. Huge bonfires are made of the evil Holika and people sing and dance around it to ward off demons. The next day of Holi is known as Dhulandi on which people smear each other with colors. Children buy different types of water guns to play with their friends and throw water balloons on each other. The many hues on people’s faces and the joy in their heart spread happiness to every nook and corner of the country.
- Durga puja
Durga puja dance, Photo by Amarnath, CC BY-SA 2.0
The festival celebrates the invocation of the Goddess by Lord Rama before he went to war. One of the most remarkable festival of Bengalis, it is celebrated by worshipping Goddess Durga for 10 days. Bengalis feast and dance on various cultural songs. Alluring 10-armed idols of the Goddess are made and they are put in decorative pandals. This festival is known as Navratri in North India and Gujaratis perform a lot of traditional dances likes Garba and Dandia wearing colorful mirrorwork attire.
Photo by Udit Sharma, CC BY-SA 4.0
Baisakhi is the harvest festival of Northern India and is celebrated with a lot of vigor especially in Punjab. The Sikh New Year begins on the first day of Baisakhi. The farmers pay tribute to God and thank Him for a good harvest of the rabi crops. They pray to him for future prosperity. The Punjabi folk dances, bhangra and gidda, are performed with a lot of gusto and excitement.
Photo by Madhav Pai, CC BY 2.0
Attracting many local and foreign tourists, this two-day festival of Ladakh marks the birth anniversary of the spiritual leader Padmasambhava. He was the founder of Tibet Tantric Buddhism. The Cham dance is performed by the priests on the traditional music of drums, trumpets and cymbals played by the monks in the Hemis monastery. It is a very animated and colorful festival where the priests dress up in very intricately designed brocade outfits. They also wear very elaborate and vivid masks.
Photo by Subhrajit, CC BY-SA 3.0
Bihu is one of the best harvest festivals in India. It is celebrated with a lot of pomp and zeal. It is a month-long festival where men and women wear their conventional clothes and perform the Bihu dance. Celebrated in courtyards and villages, a community feast is organized to celebrate the Assamese New Year, and various dishes like til pitha, fish pitika, ghila pitha and coconut laddoo are prepared.
Photo by Syam Subramanian, CC BY-SA 2.0
One of the festivals in Kerala, Onam is a four-day public holiday. It commemorates the homecoming of the Mythical King Mahabali. The traditional food, rice, is served on banana leaves with four other dishes and people dress up in traditional wear to mark the festival. People make rangolis of flowers and many boat riding competitions are organized too. This festival is said to bring peace and health to their homes.
Photo by Nithi Anand, CC BY 2.0
One of the most famous festivals of India, it is celebrated majorly in Tamil Nadu to thank the nature for the first harvest of the year. People light up bonfires and dance around them to express their amusement. Cattles races are organized and people make many savory sweets and rice dishes. The houses look splendid with Kolam designs, which are usually made from rice, flowers and colored powder. To know more facts about this festival and Tamil Nadu, check: http://www.transindiatravels.com/tamil-nadu/tourist-places-visit-tamil-nadu/
India has a lot of other festivals but amongst all of them, the above are noteworthy. The beauty of people coming together from different religions to celebrate each other’s festivals cannot be put into words. One must celebrate with them to experience the joy and happiness spread around!