In India every region and every religion has something to celebrate. The festivalsreflect the vigor and life-style of its people. Vibrant colors, music and festivity make thecountry come alive throughout the year. This galaxy of festivals that exist do contribute in inter-spicing Indian life with gaietyand color as also in giving the country the distinction of having the maximum number of holidays. Indian Festivals, celebrated by varied cultures and through their special rituals, add tothe colors of the Indian Heritage. Some festivals welcome the seasons of the year, the harvest,the rains, or the full moon. Others celebrate religious occasions, the birthdays of divine beings,saints, and gurus (revered teachers), or the advent of the New Year. A number of thesefestivals are common to most parts of India. However, they may be called by different names invarious parts of the country or may be celebrated in a different fashion. Every celebration is centered around the rituals of prayer, seeking blessings,exchanging goodwill, decorating houses, wearing new clothes, music, dance and feasting.
One of the most celebrated and widely popular festivals in India is Diwali. The actual word has its originfrom the phrase “rows of lights”, for which the term in Sanskrit language is “Deepavali”. This day is considered tobe very auspicious among other Hindu festivals and is a way to appreciate the victory of Lord Rama overRavana, which is termed as a defeat of evil by good. Lord Rama defeated Ravana to get back his wife Sita, who was kidnapped by Ravana. As per India’stradition, this festival is also filled with many rituals, customs and celebrations. It’s a five day long process, whichincludes Vasu Baras, Dhan Teras, Naraka Chaturdashi, Lakshmi Puja, Bali Pratipada and Govardhan Puja. Thepopularity of the festival can be estimated by the number of weeks, that people take to prepare ahead of time.People adorn their houses with lights and lamps from the walls to the doors to the windows, thus presenting a vividimage at night. The lamps used are the traditional clay lamps, which are oiled and fed with cotton to light them. The legend says that Goddess Lakshmi descends on earth that day and honours to enter the house ofsomeone that is the brightest and clean. So people not only clean and illuminate their houses and streets, but alsoadorn themselves for the event. Both Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi are celebrated this very day, which endswith an exchange of sweets, fruits and other corporate gifts. The illumination is not just limited to lamp lights. Smallfireworks are used as children’s favourite pastime. The day ends but the celebration doesn’t. Diwali celebrationscontinue for next few days still exploring the festivity of the good’s victory over evil.
Gods worshipped during Diwali in India Decorating with LightsDiwali Crackers Dipavali Celebration
Holi is the most widely celebrated event in India. It has become a representation of Indian culture inall over the world. It celebrates the human habitat in full bloom, i.e. spring season. Nothing could be a betterrepresentative of spring other than beautiful amalgamations of colours. Holi is the name of that amalgamation. It’snot only a symbol of spring but also acts as an equalizer between different socioeconomic communities. In anutshell, Holi eliminates differences, and brings people closer to each other. There have been few gablesattached with the legendry history of Holi. It’s believed that there used to be an evil ruler called Hirnakashyip. His pride and strength hadoverpowered himself so much that he started to believe that he was more powerful and worth worshipping evenmore than Lord Vishnu. So he casted a kingdom wide order of punishment of any person who is caught worshippingLord Vishnu. Certainly there are perennial rituals attached to Holi: the first is smearing of coloured powder oneach other, and throwing coloured and scented water at each time. On the first day of this festival, Hindusparticipate in a public bonfire. Prior to the event, men prepare for this by collecting extra wood. The fire itselfis lit near midnight, as the moon rises. The main custom of Holi is the use of the colored powders and water onothers. This is why Holi is given the name “Festival of Colors.”
Children at the eve of Holi Holi with Dry Scented PowderHoli celebrations in localities Holi colours selling in the market
One of the festivals widely celebrated in India, especially Northern and Eastern parts ofIndia, is Durga Puja. Its most common in Bengal, Bihar,Tripura, Jharkhand, and Orissa. One of the notablementions is Bengal, where the festivities take a huge prominence. Puja reaches its full moon within the lastfour days from Maha-Shashti to the day when the idols take a water dip, which is held on the eve ofDashami. She arrives on the sixth day (shashthi) and leaves on the tenth day (Dashmi). The wholefestival is ten day long. The preparation of the festivities starts weeks before the actual event wherepeople clean up their houses and adorn them as a welcome sign. The historic legacy of the Puja pointstowards a religious basis, but the turn of time has transformed this festival into something much more thansacred praying ritual. It’s a social event where people from eastern and northern states of India participatefully to enjoy the four days of the celebration. The most popular state is Bengal with its city Calcuttatotally renewed into a celebration venue. Like other events, Durga Puja marks its own taste of culture.The dance, the celebration feast, the melody and music, all signify the importance of the event. On thesocial side of the event, the youth competes to bring forth their taste in fashion and style. In a way, thecitizens find a way to give air to their sensibilities through a multidimensional event.
Durga Puja in Kolkata A Brahmin worshipping Goddess Durga Vijaya Dashami
India’s Independence Day falls on the 15th of August. This country was founded in 1947, andevery year Indian citizens celebrate the birth of a huge nation. This was the time when Indians gotindependence from British, who reigned over them for more than 200 years. Independence Day carries itsown charm with it. It’s a national holiday, so all government institutions are closed. The whole country isdecorated with lights, paper flags and big fabric flags. The markets start selling patrioticbadges, posters, stickers and flags weeks before 15th august. There is a huge excitement component associated to Independence. People gather in the morning inevery city to listen to a Government official’s speech, and sing anthem at the end of the day. Many more sitin their comfort zones at home, and watch the hoisting of Indian flag by the prime minister at Red Fort inDelhi on the television. School children sing patriotic songs, and martyrs from the fight for independence areremembered. There are several patriotic shows arranged to pay homage to those who struggled forindependence. Politicians and people from religious and academic disciplines come together and make plans onhow to improvise on current Indian economy, defence, education, and so on, and so forth.
Independence Day Parade Child in Independence Day Air Force in Independence dayFlag Hoisting during Independence
Ganesha Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday (rebirth) of Lord Ganesha, the son ofShiva and Parvati.It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. It is the day Shivadeclared his son Ganesha as superior to all the gods, barring Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati. Ganesha is widelyworshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new ventureor at the start of travel. The festival, also known as Ganeshotsav ("festival of Ganesha") is observed in the Hinducalendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usuallyfalls between 19 August and 20 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth dayof the waxing moon period). Two to three months before Ganesh Chaturthi, artistic clay models of Lord Ganesha are made for sale byspecially skilled artisans. They are beautifully decorated and depict Lord Ganesh in poses. The size of these statues mayvary from 3/4 of an inch to over 70 feet. Ganesh Chaturthi starts with the installation of these Ganesh statues in colorfully decorated homes andspecially erected temporary structures mandapas (pandals) in every locality. The pandals are erected by the people or aspecific society or locality or group by collecting monetary contributions. The pandals are decorated specially for thefestival, either by using decorative items like flower garlands, lights, etc. or are theme based decorations, which depictreligious themes or current events.
70 feet Ganesh Idol in Vizag Anant Chaturdashi Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai,IndiaGanesh Idols being sold
Christmas is definitely one of the oldest and popular festivals across the world. It is way beyond theconfinements of cast, creed, religion, ethnicity, race and colour. This festival is truly one of the most excitingand celebrated one in all the parts of the world. Celebrated on 25th of December, ever year, Christmas isnotable as the birthday of Jesus Christ. There are several customs associated with this festival and each ofthem is unique and special in its own way. The most exciting part about Christmas is that it is also celebrated byother religions. Such is the universal appeal of this occasion. One must have come across several movies, serialsand Santa Claus showcasing the popularity of Christmas during the month of December. Also known as Xmas or Christmas Day, the festivities last no less than ten days during this period.The Christmas period also celebrates New Year Day on 1st of January. Festivities are held across thechurches, streets and houses in form of prayers, lighting, exchange of gifts, decorations at home, Christmastrees, Santa Claus etc. This festival is even more special for kids as they look forward to receiving gifts fromtheir favourite Santa Claus. For adults and elders, it is a much anticipated reason to socialise and shower wellwishes. There is lot of activities taking place around the world during Christmas. One will come across deliciouscakes, balls, decorated Xmas trees and Santa Claus during this festival. There is lot of socialization that takesplace during this occasion. Masses are held in churches commemorating the occasion.
Jesus Christ Decorating Christmas TreeChristmas Tree Santa Clause with Gifts
Eid-ul-fitr, most commonly referred to as Eid, is one of the two most popular religious occasions accordingto Islamic calendar. It’s celebrated by not just one community, or country but Muslims all over the world, and that’sone of the key reasons behind a strong Muslim brotherhood. Eid is a celebration. A celebration of the month ofRamzan. According to Islamic calendar, Ramzan is the most sacred month of the year. Eid-ul-fitr marks the end ofRamzan. It’s a way to thank God for his blessings, and for giving Muslims the month of Ramzan where they could notonly regulate their lifestyles but were also forgiven for their past sins. It’s a celebration of Muslim devotion. Eid falls on the first day of the next month, i.e. Shawaal. Muslims start the day by performing the mostfamous Eid prayer. It’s done in massive congregations. Muslim men gather in the mosque to establish the Eid prayerand listen to Eid sermon, and later on hug and wish everyone a joyful eid. These mosque gatherings are a special waywith which God connects His people together on one platform and let them forget all their socioeconomic differences.Eid is celebrated both in cultural and religious manners. Traditionally a dessert is made for all the guests who willvisit the household to wish Eid. There is another cultural tradition attached to the event, where elders give money or gifts to children.This is called “Eidi”. Eid gains even more significance, because in the month of Ramzan, God revealed His message inthe form of Holy book, i,e, Quran to his messenger Prophet Muhammad, and finally he declared that Eid would becelebrated after the end of every Ramzan to mark the significance of this holy month.
Jama Masjid during Eid ul Fitr celebrations BrotherhoodNamaz during the Ramzan Month Muslim boy reading Quran
WEBSITES :www.preservearticles.comwww.festivalsofindia.co.inen.wikipedia.orgGoogle ImagesSOFTWARES USED :Microsoft PowerPoint 2013Photoshine