Festivals Of India
India is often described as a land of many
religions and languages, but it might as well be described as a
land of festivals. Some festivals are observed throughout the
country; others have specific regional associations. India
celebrates holidays and festivals of almost all the faiths in
the world. In one region or the other, festivals happen almost
every day, each with a specialty of its own. Each festival in
each region has its own particular foods and sweets appropriate
to the season and crops, and days are spent in their careful
There are three National holidays:
This is celebrated on 15th August as
India gained independence from British rule on this day in
This is celebrated on 26th January.
On this day India became a republic.
This is celebrated on 2nd October
which is father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.
Following are some of the major festivals from
Deepawali literally means an array of lamps is
the Festival of Lights. Depawali is the occasion of joy and
jubilation for one and all in the entire Hindu world. All the
illumination and fireworks, joy and festivity, signifies the
victory of divine forces over those of wickedness. Deepawali
symbolizes the victory of righteousness and the lifting of
spiritual darkness. Depawali is a festival that lasts 5 days.
In North India, Depawali is associated with the
return of Sri Rama to Ayodhya after vanquishing the demon
Ravana. The people of Ayodhya, overwhelmed with joy, welcomed
Rama through jubilation and illumination of the entire capital.
In South India, Diwali is celebrated to
commemorate the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon
To the Jains, Depawali has an added
significance to the great event of Mahavera attaining the
Eternal Bliss of Nirvana.
Though, Diwali is mainly a 5 day festival but
people start preparing for Diwali weeks ahead by cleaning and
decorating their households. It is said that Lakshmi, Goddess of
wealth roams the earth on this day and enters the house that is
pure, clean and brightly illuminated.
It is also the beginning of the new financial
year for the business community. For More information on Diwali
Bhaiya Duj is the festival that is celebrated
on the fifth day of Diwali and it falls on second day after
Diwali that is on 'Shukla Paksha Dwitiya' in the Hindi month of
'Kartik'. 'Dwitiya' means 'Duj' or the second day after the new
moon. This festival is popular in different regions with
different names such as 'Bhai-Dooj' in north India, 'Bhav-Bij'
in Maharashtra, 'Bhai-Phota' in Bengal and 'Bhai-Teeka' in
Nepal. On this day sisters perform 'aarti' of their brothers and
apply a beautiful 'Tilak' or 'Teeka' on their forehead. Then
they offer sweets to them. Then the brothers and sisters
exchange gifts with each other. Sisters are lavished with gifts,
goodies and blessings from their brothers. For More information
on Bhaiduj Click Here
Dussehra or Vijayadashmi:
Dussehra or Navratri
is one of the most popular festivals of India. Dussehra is the
anniversary of the victory of Goddess Durga over the
buffalo-headed demon, Mahishasura, giving the goddess her name
Mahishasura-Mardini (the slayer of Mahishasura). Dussehra also
commemorates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana of Lanka. The
theme of this festival is the victory of good over evil. For
more information on Dussehra
Ganesh Chaturthi, the
birthday of Lord Ganesh, is celebrated in August-September.
Ganesh is the elephant headed son of Goddess Parvati, consort of
In Maharashtra, it is most important festival
and is celebrated for 10 days. It is celebrated from 4th
to 14th day of bright fortnight of Bhadrapad month.
In Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, images of Ganesh
made of unbaked clay are worshipped on this day in every house.
A special sweet called Modak is prepared on this occassion. To
mark the end of the festivities, the clay idols are immersed in
The full-moon day in February-March is
celebrated as Holi, the festival of colors. Holi is a festival
of fun and gaiety for people of all ages. Bonfires are lit and
people smear colors on each other. Holi signifies the start of
spring and end of winter. People celebrate the new harvest and
return of color in nature.
The mythological origin of this festival varies
in North and South India.
In the South, especially in Tamil Nadu and
Kerala, it is believed that Kama Deva, the God of love, aimed
his arrow at his wife Rati. The arrow hit Shiva by mistake. Kama
was burnt to ashes by the fire coming out of the third eye of
the enraged Lord Shiva. Rati, was so grief-stricken that Shiva
relented and granted her the power to see Kama deva but without
a physical form. In Tamil Nadu, the festival known as Kaman
vizha, Kaman pandigai, or Kama Dahanam commemorates the burning
In the North, it is believed that a mighty King
Hiranyakashipu ordered his people to worship him as a God. But
Prahlad, his only son, refused to accept his father as a God,
because he believed only in Lord Vishnu. The King tried to kill
his son, but every time Prahlad was saved as he uttered the name
of Vishnu. Finally, Prahlad's aunt Holika, claiming herself to
be fireproof, took the child in her lap and sat in the fire to
burn him alive. When the fire subsided, the king found, the
child alive while Holika had perished.
In North India, grains and stalks saved from
the year's harvest are offered to Agni, the God of Fire. Holi
fire is a symbol of destruction of all filth and impurity be it
physical or mental. For more information on Holi