India is a vast country, with an overwhelming population and a wonderful amalgamation of cultures that bring out the beautiful blend that is India today. It is a fascinating feat in itself that so many people, belonging to such different creed and culture and beliefs altogether call India their home! The sheer variety and number of all the festivals in India will tell you the story of the unity and solidarity that India stands up for. They are the true manifestations of the diversity of India.
The festive season in India begins around October and continues throughout the winter till next March or so, but in reality, Indian celebrations never stop; it’s a never-ending cycle! And the Indian holidays tend to hover around the festival dates, as they are mostly related. Since India is a Hindu majority country, Hindu festivals are both higher in number and grandeur.
Here are some of the most vibrant Festivals of India that might help you plan your next India Tailor Made trip.
Holi is the festival of colours. People from all over India and around the world, come together to smear each other with colors of happiness. People irrespective of caste, creed, social stature, pride or religion come down together to celebrate the onset of the spring. Such is the emotion that even pedestrians and random persons walking by would not be spared from a shower of colours. This is probably the grandest and most vivacious of festivals in India, and a burning example of the solidarity and a sense of oneness, that India is all about.
Ramadan or Eid-ul-Fitr is another of the major religious festivals of India and is celebrated by the Muslim community, the followers of the Prophet. This is the celebration of the almighty and goodwill of the brotherhood marked by a month-long period of fasting and offering prayers. It ends with a three-day long feast and gathering where the grand feast marks the breaking of the fast.
Both Hindus and Muslims come together to celebrate this holy month. While the Muslims follow the rules and keep the fast, their Hindu brothers stand by their sides and revel in this happy occasion.
3. Durga Puja
The Durga Puja is a 5-day long fiesta in the state of Bengal, during the season of autumn. It marks the victory of the goddess Durga over the evil Mahisasura, a demon. This is a major part of the Indian celebrations and sees gruel some preparations for over months. Constructing pandals, Durga idols prepared traditionally with mud straw and colours and arranging for cultural programs are part of these celebrations.
All people during the holidays, irrespective of caste and religion head out for the brightly decorated pandals, wearing new clothes, holding the hands of loved ones, and have proved that India is truly a sovereign country, and festivals here celebrate only happiness.
The festival of lights, as it is popularly known, is a dazzling, sparkling and glorious celebration of happiness. Diwali celebration marks the victory of Lord Rama and his homecoming. This is a major name among the Hindu celebrations and is marked by the lighting of candles and lamps and decorating the houses to ward of darkness and thus all evil spirits associated with it. People visit each other during Diwali and exchange gifts.
Lighting up firecrackers during this time is a major show stealer. Diwali is celebrated not only among the Hindus but also by people of varied cultures, simply because of the heart-warming nature of the festival.
Christmas is not a celebration native to India and is celebrated all around the world, by people of the Christian community, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. But the sheer fact that it is also celebrated in India among other varieties of festivals tells us loads about the unique nature of the Indian Celebrations.
Christmas is usually celebrated on the 25th of December, by decorating the Christmas tree, with lights and sparkly decors, and also involves gifting the loved ones. Many people use these holidays as an excuse to return to family and visit friends. It’s the perfect occasion for celebrating the closeness in relationships and merrymaking.
Onam is another of the free-spirited Hindu festivals that actually celebrates the return of a demon king once in a year to the lands of Kerala. It is also known as the harvest festival as it marks the beginning of the harvest season. It is celebrated by the Malayalis and is a 10-12 day’s long festival involving songs, dance, games, elephant rides, boat racings, tiger plays, etc.
This also marks the first month of the Malayalam solar calendar.
7. Buddha Purnima
This festival is celebrated by the followers of Gautam Buddha, or the Buddhists, on the occasion of his birthday. Buddhists are a very small number of people among the vast majority of Indians, but this festival is also celebrated by people of other religion who believe in the Buddha. On this day the people meditate, chant Buddha’s prayers, eat simple and be by the side of their loved ones. This is a very simple festival in India, marking the extreme simplicity of the life of the Buddha, and is celebrated on a Purnima or full moon night.
This is the harvest festival celebrated by the people of Punjab, mostly the farming community of Sikhs. Celebrated in April every year this festival commemorates the harvest of the Rabi crops, the major revenue gainer of this area. The people of Punjab celebrate this day by indulging in traditional singing and dancing and celebrating the gift of Mother Nature.
9. Ganesh Chaturthi
It is one of the most colourful and exuberant of the Hindu festivals and is celebrated in all the major cities of the country. People celebrate the homecoming of Lord Ganesha for 10 long days, and then carry the idols to be immersed in the water at the end of the celebrations. Processions are arranged, and the idols of the lord are taken with much grandeur, to be immersed. People indulge in singing and dancing to the tunes of popular songs, while following the processions.
10. Parsi New Year
This festival is celebrated by the Parsi community, a small ethnolinguistic group, scattered all around the world, to mark the beginning of the New Year or Nowruz (new day). The Parsis celebrate this day as a day of repentance and spend the day cleaning their homes and decorating their homes and making Rangolis outside, in a bid to repent for their past mistakes and start afresh.
The Parsis during this time cordially welcome guests, and prepare hearty meals for them, and spend their day revelling in this joy with their friends and family. This holiday is also used by people to have an excuse for visiting their loved ones.
These Indian Celebrations are a treat for all our senses, while we celebrate the vigour of life, just for the sake of it. If you have been thinking about experiencing these festivals personally, get ready for the festivals 2018, and book your India tailor-made ticket right away, that will take you into the colourful and vibrant lives of these happy people!