India is a land full of color and nothing demonstrates that more than festivals with its food, rituals and its joi de vivre that comes about with that.
Here’s a list of 7 festivals that bring with it light and color
Diwali, one of the most prominent Hindu festivals of India, is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show. During this festival of lights, houses are decorated with clay lamps, candles, and leaves. New clothes, pooja, crackers, cards and the five long day of festivity mark the festival.
Significance: The celebration celeb of Lord Rama, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, after a long exile of 14 years.
What to Expect: Homes decorated with fancy lights, candles and clay lamps, bustling shops and markets, and fireworks and crackers.
When: The darkest new moon night of Kartik month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar usually corresponding with October and November month in our calendars.
Where: All over the country
The festival of colors, Holi is celebrated with a lot of pomp, festivity and color. Broken over two days – on the eve of Holi, huge Holika bonfires are made and people sing, dance and eat around it. The day of Holi is filled with people getting together to apply dry and wet color. Don’t miss the water guns, the colored water filled balloons and the yummy eats and drinks to go with it!
Significance: It signifies the victory of good (Prince Prahlad) over evil (Holika) and the arrival of spring.
What To Expect: Holika and a lot of colours along with sweets and bhang thandai
When: Full moon (Purnima) of the Phalgun month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to the month of March of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Almost all over the country; most vibrant celebrations can be seen in North Indian states
Dussehra is celebrated in different ways across the country. While in the north, there is Ram Leela which enacts many scenes from the Ramayana ending with “Ravan Dahan” – the burning of huge effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbkaran – in the south
Significance: It celebrates the death of the demon king Ravana at the hands of Lord Rama.
What To Expect: Hustle bustle of the decorated markets, Ram-leela acts, marigold flowers and the big event of the burning of effigies of Ravana, Meghnad, and Kumbhakaran
When: 10th day of the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to September or October of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Pan India
This nine day celebration of rejuvenating Garba nights and highly energetic Dandiya Raas dances has people dressed in beautiful, colorful traditional clothes.
Significance: It represents the celebration of the Goddess Amba (Power) in nine different forms.
What To Expect: The 9 days of dance festivities in Gujarat, the exquisite Chaniya Choli’s (traditional skirt & blouse), and the Gujarati cuisine – Sabudana Khichdi, Mandavi Paak, Singoda ki Kheer, and Potato Wafers
When: The first nine days of the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which correspond to September or October of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Almost all over the country; most vibrant in Gujarat, Maharashtra and the metros
Durga Puja is celebrated with grandeur by Bengalis, throughout the country. The 10 days of fast, feast, and worship of Goddess Durga are accompanied by cultural songs, dances, and dramas. Huge and beautiful Durga idols are made and placed in specially made artistic Pandals (canopies). People dress in traditional wear and go around the pandal – hopping, praying, and feasting.
Significance: It commemorates Lord Rama’s invocation of Goddess Durga before going to war with the demon king Ravana.
What To Expect: Plush pandals, incredibly beautiful ten armed Durga idols, and the puja
When: 10th day of Ashwina shukla paksha according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to September or October of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Kolkata and the metros are the best places to be in India during Durga Puja celebrations
Ganesh Chaturthi, another one of important Hindu religious festivals of India, is a 10-day affair of colorful festivities. Huge handcrafted Ganesh idols are installed in homes or outdoors, in public pandals. Pujas are performed in the morning and the evening. The last day is the day of Visarjan – immersion of an idol in a water body. Cultural activities of singing, dancing, and theater, and free medical and blood donation camps are held.
Significance: It’s the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God.
What To Expect: The beautifully crafted life size idols of Ganesha, and the immersion ceremony
When: The 4th day of the first fortnight (Shukla Chaturthi) in the month of Bhadrapada of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to August or September of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Celebrated in the states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh with fervor and gaiety
On the most important Sikh festival of India, special assemblies on the lives and teachings of the gurus, and langars (community meals) are organized in the gurudwaras. Karah Prasad is distributed among all, and hymn chanting processions are held in the city. People light up their homes with lamps and candles and burst crackers to celebrate Gurpurab.
Significance: It is the celebration of the anniversaries of the ten Sikh Gurus.
What to Expect: The soulful Bhajan-Kirtan (hymns), Gurbani in the Gurdwaras, the Langar and the Karah Prasad
When: The full moon day in the month of Kartik of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to November of the Gregorian calendar.
Where: Celebrated by the Sikh community all over the world, especially in Punjab.
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