India, the world’s largest democrat is rich in cultural heritage and is also known as the land of festivals. India celebrates festivals every month in one or different parts of the country. The country unites while celebrating the festivals irrespective of religion, region, caste and color Amongst many, the most significant and popular festivals celebrated in India are:
The famous Hindu festival Diwali is celebrated for five days and represents the commencing of New Year according to Hindu religion. Every year Diwali is celebrated either in the month of October or November. The occurrence of the festival depends on the cycle of the moon. Diwali is celebrated in honour of the victory of Lord Rama over the evil king Ravana. Ravana abducted Lord Rama’s wife Sita and after a significant battle, Lord Rama defeated Ravana. The day of beating Evil king Ravana and rescuing Mata Sita is celebrated as Dushhera and the day of Lord Rama and Mata Sita returning Ayodhya is celebrated as Diwali. On the night of Diwali, every house adorns lights and diyas to eliminate darkness and invite prosperity, health and wealth into life.
The colourful festival, Holi is celebrated every year in India in the month of March. Also known as “festival of colors , it is the most awaited festival in India celebrated for two days. The festival is celebrated honouring the victory of good over bad by burning the evilness named Holika. Lord Krishna, re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu celebrated the festival by playing water pranks on local village girls. Since then the festival is celebrated the same way with colored powder and water guns. Holi marks the end of the winter season and welcomes the harvesting season. ‘Bhang’ a traditional drink made from the paste of Cannabis plant is consumed during the festival.
Every year the festival of Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated in respect of the birthday of Lord Vishnu’s eighth incarnation, Lord Krishna. Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated either in the month of August or September. The occurrence of the festival depends on the cycle of the moon. The festival is celebrated with many names in different parts of the country. In Maharashtra, the festival is celebrated as Gokul Ashtami with great pomp and show. Krishna Janmashtami in Mathura is famous all over the world. The Dahi handi festival during Krishna Janmashtami attracts tourists from several countries to India. Human pyramids are formed by young boys also known as ‘Govinda’s and attempts are made to break the pots in one go. Prayers and chanting are performed in temples in honour of the birth of Lord Krishna.
The birthday of Lord Shiva’s and Mata Parvati’s son ‘Ganesha’ is celebrated as Ganesh Chaturthi. The elephant-headed god is considered to bring fortune, luck and prosperity in the family. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated every year for over eleven days. The festival arrives either in August or September and the occurrence depends on the cycle of the moon. It is celebrated with great zeal in the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Tamil Nadu. Lord Ganesha’s idol is installed in the house and rituals and prayers are performed. Special prayers and events are organised in temples in honour of Lord Ganesha. After a significant number of days, the idol of Lord Ganesha is immersed in the sea. It is believed that the idol of Lord Ganesha takes away all the problems and worries of the house and blesses the house with prosperity and happiness.