List of Festivals of India


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Festivals in India – An analysis and narrative

India is a big country with different religion, culture and language. India is a land of different fairs and festivals. In India we celebrate many types of festivals like national, regional, local, religious or seasonal festivals. Each month comes with many festivals and adds special colors, joy, brotherhood, humanity and happiness in our lives, and each festival in India has different colors and unique rituals. During the harvest, the rain, the full moon, the birthdays of divine beings, we grab all these moments and indulge in celebration and spread the message of our vivid and rich cultural inheritance. Indian Festivals are celebrated across the world because Indians have their presence everywhere in the world.
However Navaratri has its maximum presence in West Bengal. Holi is celebrated with utmost intensity in North India. Regional Festivals like Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Onam in Kerla, Cart festival in Orissa, Ganesh puja in Maharashtra have their greatest presence in these states compared to that in other parts of the country.

Here is the list of Indian Festival that we celebrate.

No.

Festival

Religion

Significance

1

New Year’s Day

ALL

International New Year’s Day. New Year’s Day is the first day of the year. It is celebrated on January 1. It is a public holiday in all countries as per the Gregorian calendar*, the main calendar for the year, with the exception of Israel. Often it is being celebrated with fireworks at the midnight when the new year starts. Some churches celebrate the feast of the Circumcision of Christ on January 1.

*Gregorian calendar –  the system used since 1582 in Western countries of arranging the months in the year and the days in the months and of counting the years from the birth of Christ.

2

Republic Day

ALL

Festival of India (National Pride Day).  The Republic Day of India memorializes the date on which the Indian Constitution came into force replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India on 26 January 1950. It is one of the three national holidays in India. Republic Day Parade takes place at the Rajpath, in the national capital new Delhi. Even the state capitals also celebrate this day with enthusiasm.

3

Independence Day

ALL

Independence of India from Britain on August 15th, 1947. 15th august is celebrated by all Indians because on this day in the year 1947 India got independence from the British rule.

4

Buddha Jayanti

Buddhism

This is the birthday celebration of Gautama Siddhartha – The Buddha.

5

Easter

Christianity

Easter is a Sunday in March or April when Christians remember the death of Christ and his return to life. Easter is an important festival for Christians. 40 days fast is followed by Good Friday and Easter. On this day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Easter eggs and Easter bunnies are a major attraction during Easter.

6

Christmas

Christianity

Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ on 25th December every year and it is an indispensable part of Christians all over the country and the world. On this day Santa Claus, an imaginary old man with red clothes and a long white BEARD brings them presents, cakes, cookies at Christmas. The beautifully decorated Christmas tree with a midnight mass depicts the beginning of Christmas.

7

Dassera, Dusshera, Vijayadashami

Hinduism

Dusshera is a ten-day Hindu festival, held in the month of Ashvina (September – October). It is one of the most auspicious days of the Hindu calendar. It marks the victory of good over evil. On that day lord ram killed the evil Ravana. On dusshera an effigy of Ravana is burnt at many places. Ramlila the theatrical enactment of the life story of Lord Rama is staged in various places with great enthusiasm. Effigies of the 10-headed Ravana along with Meghanada and Kumbhkarna are burnt with firecrackers in open areas.

8

Makar Sankranti

Hinduism

Makar Sankranti is one of the widely celebrated festivals in India. It is being celebrated all over the country with different names. It brings with it different sort of celebrations all over the country. The festival coincides with the Sun’s northward journey (Uttarayan) when it enters the sign of Makar (Capricorn). Hindu mythology states that anyone who dies on this day escapes the birth and death cycle, consequently In Mahabharat War, Bhisma waited until this day to die.

Makar Sankranti is called Pongal in South India. It is called Lohri in North India. In Western India particularly in Gujrat it is being celebrated by flying colorful kites. Hindu devotee assemble in large number in auspicious places and pray to the Sun God.

9

Pongal

Hinduism

Pongal is a Dravidian festival of Spring celebrated in South India after the winter solstice.  This is a 3 day festival of prayer with the 4th day for outdoor activities.  The name of the festival comes from the Tamil word meaning “to boil”. People eat a special ‘pudding’ of boiled milk, rice, dal, nuts and saffron. It is offered first to the gods, then to the cows, and then to family members. Cows are especially respected during Pongal ceremony. They are garlanded with flowers and fruit, taken in procession.

10

Kumbh Mela

Hinduism

Kumbha Mela is the largest religious gathering on Earth. Millions of pilgrims participate in the Kumbh Mela every 12 years in the town of Allahabad (Prayag) referred to as the ‘king of all tirthas’ at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers for 42 days. The Kumbh Mela takes place in four locations: Nasik, Ujjain, Prayag and Hardwar.

11

Vasant Panchami

Hinduism

Vasant Panchami is a Spring Festival. Vasant Panchami means five days of Spring. Goddess Saraswati is worshiped and people decorate with yellow colors since yellow flowers bloom in Spring.

12

Maha Shivaratri

Hinduism

Maha Shivratri is a festival of worshiping Lord Shiva. It falls every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha of the month of Maagha (as per Shalivahana or Gujarati Vikrama) or Phalguna (as per Vikrama) in the Hindu Calendar. Shiva temples are decorated. The festival is mainly celebrated by offerings of Bael (Bilva) leaves to the Lord Shiva, all day fasting and an all night long vigil.

13

Holi

Hinduism

Holi is a festival of Sprint, that is celebrated by all casts and communities. It’s a festival of colours. Everyone goes out into the streets and gets each other colored with brightly colored powders. People play happily with coloured water and everywhere one hears the yell of “Holi-he! Holi-he!”. It is like the April Fool day of the Europeans. Holi is spread over 16 days in Vrindavan and Mathura, the two cities with which Lord Krishna shared a deep affiliation.

One of the most memorable rite of Holi in many places is the bonfire made of small dry pieces of wood, which represents the burning of the demoness Holika (or Holi), sister of Hiranyaka-shipu.

14

Ram Navami

Hinduism

Ram Navami is the celebration of the birth of Lord Rama, the noblest character embodied in the epic Ramayana. Rama is the supreme righteousness in the life of every human being.

15

Ganesh Chaturthi

Hinduism

Ganesh is regarded is the remover of obstacles. He is being worshiped by every Hindu with utmost devotion. Hindu community devoted to the worship of the elephant-headed Ganesha (also called Ganapati, Lord of the People) as the supreme deity has its supreme faith in him. Every year Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with ample enthusiasm in major parts of India. Numbe of Ganesh idols are made of all possible sizes, people place him in their houses as a divine guest for one and a half, five, seven, or ten days, after which the idol is taken out in majestically procession and immersed into the river, lake or sea. The yell “‘GANPATI BAPPA MORYA, AGLE BARAS TO JALDI AA”, – father Ganpati, next year come again, with loud music fills the streets and roads during this special moment of immersion.

16

Rakhi

(Raksha Bandan)

Hinduism

The festival Rakhi Purnima also called Raksha Bandhan (Raksha means “Protection) celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. Rakhi is tied round the wrist of brothers by the sisters as a protection from evil and she offers him sweets. Brothers give sisters gifts.

17

Krishna Janmashtami

Hinduism

On Krishna Janmashtami festival Hindus celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna (this should fall about 8 days after Raksha Bandan).

18

NavRatri

Hinduism

Worship of Goddess Durga for 9 nights ‘Nava Ratri’ – who took 9 avatars (incarnations) and killed 9 evil forces (Asuras).  Idols of the goddess Durga, with one leg on each side of the lion, attacking the demon king, Mahishasura, are placed at various pandals and temples and worshiped with devotion.

19

Karawa Chauth

Hinduism

Karawa Chauth (4th day of month, Karawa) is a Hindu festival observed by women. On this day women fast and pray for their husband’s long life and that they may get their husbands again in the next life.  They break the fast when the see the full moon.

20

Diwali, Divali, Deepavali

Hinduism

Diwali also spelt deepavali (‘Row of Lamps’) is one of the major religious festivals in Hinduism. It is celebrated in India over a five-day period from the thirteenth day of the dark half of the lunar month Ashvina to the second day of the light half of Karttika. Earthen  lamps, candles are lit and placed in row along the edge of roof, entrance etc. People decorate their houses with garlands, colorful lighting bulbs, visit friends and relatives, wear new cloths and exchange sweets. Goddess Lakshmi, the epithet of wealth and prosperity is worshiped widely. Goddess kali is worshipped in Bengal on this day. In North India people celebrates the return of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana to Ayodhya. This day is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi in Tamil Nadu, for Krishna killed Narakasura on this day. Jains celebrate this day to commemorate the passing into Nirvana of Mahavira.

21

Guru Purnima

Hinduism, Buddhism

Guru Purnima is a festival traditionally celebrated by Hindus and Buddhists. On this day, followers offer their worship and pay respect to their Guru for spiritual guidance. It falls on the day of full moon, Purnima, in the month of Ashadh (June-July) of the shaka samvat, Indian national calendar. Customarily the festival is celebrated by Buddhists in the honor the lord Buddha who gave his first sermon on this day at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India. Hindus celebrate it in the honour of mythological sage Vyasa, who is seen one of the greatest gurus in ancient Hindu traditions. This day is dedicated to the expression of gratitude towards the teacher by his/her disciple too.

22

Hajj

Islam

Pilgrimage Muslims take at least once in their life to Mecca, Saudia Arabia.

23

Mawlid an-Nabi

Islam

Mawlid an-Nabi is a special holiday in the Muslim faith. It is celebrated to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. It occurs in Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar. The term Mawlid is also used in some parts of the world, such as Egypt, as a generic term for the birthday celebrations of other historical religious figures such as Sufi saints.

24

Id-ul-Fitr

Islam

Marks the end of fasting in the month of Ramadan and is celebrated with public prayers, official receptions and private visits. Friends greet one another, exchange gifts, wear new clothes.

25

Id-ul-Adha (Muharram)

Islam

Muharram is manifested by mass expression of grief, pilgrimages to Karbala, and presentation of passion plays about Hussain and other martyrs. Muslims, especially Shias observe Muharram with immense enthusiasm, by fasting, praying, reciting Quran, wearing black clothes and suspending all celebrations.

26

Ramzan Id

Islam

Ramzan Id is the most important festival in the Muslim calendar. A month long fasting and prayers is followed by Ramzan Id. It is believed that during this month all the prayers and wishes of an individual come true.

27

Mahavir Jayanti

Jainism

Birth of founder of Jainism – Mahavir.

28

Guru Nanak Jayanti

Sikhism

Guru Nanak Jayanti – or Gurpurab is the birthday of Nanak, the founder of the religion of Sikhism.

29

Baisakhi

Sikhism/

Hinduism

Baisakhi festival falls on April 13th or April 14th and marks the beginning of the solar year. People of North India, particularly Punjabi express thanks to God for good crop and visit to Gurudwaras. Vaisakhi processions and traditional ceremonies are the attractions of the day. Baisakhi has special significance for Sikhs. It was on this day in 1699 that the last Guru Gobind Singh organised the Sikhs into Khalsa. He eliminated the differentiations of high and low and recognized that all human beings were equal.  For Hindus, it is the start of the new year, and is celebrated with obligatory bathing, partying, and worshipping.

30

Parsi New Year

Zoroastrianism

Parsi New Year is one of the most important days in the Parsi community. It marks the beginning of a New Year filled with joy and prosperity.

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