20 Most Famous Festivals in India

by Travexcell Staff
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30 Most Famous Festivals of India

India is characterized by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. India is famous for its dynamic culture in whole world. All festivals is unique in its way. To experience each of them you pay a visit to the country is a great chance to explore the prosperity of Indian culture and heritage. 

1. Dewali “The Festival of Lights”

Dewali also called “Deepavali” is the Hindu festival of lights, usually lasting five days and celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika in October and November every year. Dewali is One of the most popular festival in India, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil Dewali festival is widely associated with Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity, but regional traditions connect it to Sita and Rama, Vishnu, Krishna, Durga, Kali, Dhanvantari, or Vishvakarman. On this day People enjoy the festival of lights by beginning the day with an auspicious and in the evening renovating, and decorating the homes and workplaces. people wear tradional clothes, sweets and glowing deeyas.

2. Holi

Holi is one of the most popular ancient Hindu festival and most celebrated festivals of India. Its celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March. People throw colored water and powders on one another, and, on this one day only, license is given for the usual rankings of caste, gender, status, and age to be reversed. In India every corner and street the celebrations are often marked by ribald language and behavior. Holi is popularly known as the Indian “festival of spring”, the “festival of colours”, or the “festival of love”. Participants meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships.

3. Dussehra

Dussehra Celebrations in India

Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami or Dasara) is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. It is a national holiday in India, which is marked on the 10th day of the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of the month of Ashvin (Ashwayuja), according to the Hindu calendar. Dussehra celebrates the Hindu god Rama’s victory over the king Ravana “the demon king of Lanka” and the triumph of good over evil. Ramayana story tells the Lord Rama who wins the lovely Sita for his wife, only to have her carried off by Ravana. Dussehra is a 10 days festival based on a lunar date with many important days and also because it has many different names in the various regions in India, it is difficult to determine when each region has a holiday.

4. Eid-Ul-Fitr

Eid-ul-Fitr translates from Arabic as, ‘the festival of the breaking of the fast’. There are two celebrations in the Islamic calendar every year that have the name of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. Both of these festivities are important dates; Eid-ul-Fitr takes place on the first day of Shawwal, following the conclusion of the Holy month of Ramadan, while Eid-ul-Adha follows the annual Hajj pilgrimage and is a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah (SWT). The celebration which traditionally takes place over a three-day period. The festival of Eid holds great importance in Islam religion and is a time for loved ones and communities to come together. Eid al-Fitr has a particular salat (Islamic prayer) that consists of two rakats  generally performed in an open field.

5. Navratri: The Nine Days Of Fasting, Faith, & Devotion

Navratri festival is one of the popular and famous festivals in India celebrated to worship the Goddess Durga. It is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian. It is nine day long festival where different nine forms of the Devi Durga (Goddess) are worshiped. During these nine nights days, nine different forms of the goddess are worshiped. The festival is celebrated in the bright half of the Hindu calendar month Ashvin, that falls in the months of September and October. Among fasting customs are observing a strict vegetarian diet and abstaining from alcohol and certain spices. Dances performed include Garba, especially in Gujarat. 

6. Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi, Ganesh Puja is majorly a national festival in India. Its 10-day festival marking the birth of the elephant-headed Ganesha, the god of prosperity and wisdom. It begins on the 4th day (chaturthi) of the month of Bhadrapada (August–September), the sixth month of the Hindu calendar. Lord Ganesha is known as the God of wealth, knowledge, wisdom and prosperity. Most Hindus remember him and seek his blessings before starting any work. Lord Ganesha is known by 108 different names like Gajanana, Vinayaka, Vighnaharta among others. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great devotion through out India. People bring home murtis (Idols) of Lord Ganesha and celebrate the festival by worshiping the Lord in a special way for a day and a half, 3 days, 5 days, 7 days or 11 days depending on the family tradition and commitment of each individual.

7. Christmas

Christmas in India

Christmas, the birthday of Jesus Christ, is celebrated on December 25 every year. Christians constitute about 5% of India’s population, Christmas is a popular festival in India. People of all religions join in this festivities. You’ll be able to find traditional Christmas cheer in many parts of India. Christmas in India is much about eating, international renowed luxury hotels serve up a variety of Christmas buffets.Roasted meat, veggies, and deserts are also served.One can also attend Midnight Mass at churches in Catholic-dominated areas of India.Best place to celebrate Christmas is Goa with its large Catholic population,It is one of the best places to have a traditional Christmas in India,because it has many beautiful old Portuguese-style churches.. Christmas decorations adorn houses, streets, and market places.The fountainhas latin quartr in Pajim is the place to enjoy Christmas celebrations in Goa.

8. Baisakhi

Baisakhi Celebrations

Baisakhi is celebrated by Sikhs and some sections of Hindus as well. This harvest festival is celebrated especially in the state of Punjab by the Sikh community. For Sikhs, this festival celebrates for the new harvest and also the birth of Khalsa. Baisakhi Festival has significant religious significance as it was on a Baisakhi Day in 1699, that Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru laid the foundation of Panth Khalsa the Order of the Pure Ones.Baisakhi is usually celebrated either on 13th or 14th of April. People generally go to Amritsar to visit The Golden Temple. The folk dance of ‘bhangra’ is also performed by the people as a marker of their joy and happiness on the occasion of Baisakhi.Baisakhi Festival falls on the first day of Vaisakh month April-Mayaccording to Nanakshahi or Sikh Calendar. For this reason, Baisakhi is also popularly known as Vaisakhi.The farming community of Punjab and Haryana celebrate Baisakhi as New Year’s time as it is time to harvest rabi crop. On Baisakhi, farmers thank god for the bountiful crop and pray for good times ahead.

9. Durga Puja

Durga Pooja Celebrations

Durga puja is nothing less than a five day long carnival in Bengal celebrated with religious associations.The festival is celebrated in the Indian calendar month of Ashwin, which corresponds to the months of September–October in the Gregorian calendar, and is a ten-day festival, of which the last five are of significance.It is also called as Navratri, held in the honor of Goddess Durga.It is an annual Hindu festival originating in the Indian subcontinent.This puja is a festival which witnesses a lot of preparations for months in advance. Setting of decorative pandals and preparing for number of cultural activities are a part of this famous festival.Navratri is Celebrated in veneration of the Goddess Durga, it serves as one of the favourites of all festivals of Hindus. This festival is observed as per the movements of sun and moon and therefore, is celebrated either in September or October. In order to mark the festival, Ramlila is organised in North India to offer insights into the life of Lord Ram and inspire the people towards inculcating moral values.The People from Gujarat regards Navratri as one of the most important festivals and celebrates all its nine days.

10. Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan

It is also known as Rakshabandhan, it is a popular Hindu annual rite, or ceremony, which is related to a festival of the same name, celebrated in India, Nepal and other parts of the subcontinent.On this day, sisters of all ages tie a talisman, or amulet, called the rakhi, around the wrists of their brothers, symbolically protecting them, i that they receive a gift in return. Raksha Bandhan is observed on the last day of the Hindu lunar calendar, which typically falls in August.

11. Krishan Janamashtmi

Krishan Janamashtmi Celebrations

It is the birthday of Lord Krishna and is celebrated with great  enthusiasm in India in the month of July or August.
Sri Krishna is considered as the one of the most powerful human incarnations of the Lord Vishnu. He was born around 5,200 years ago in Mathura. The sole objective of Sri Krishna’s birth was to free the Earth from the evilness of demons. He played an important role in Mahabharata. The actual celebration of Janmashtami takes place during the midnight as Sri Krishna is believed to be borned on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule and violence of his uncle, Kansa.
To celebrate the day, Krishna temples are decorated; processions are taken out, while religious sites dedicated to the Blue God see a host of bhajans and kirtans taking place along with satsangs.

12. Pongal

Ponal Celebrations

It is also referred to as Thai Pongal and is a multi-day Hindu harvest festival of South India.Pongal is the four-day-long harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu. The festival is celebrated as a thanksgiving to nature. Falling typically on the 14th or the 15th of January, this festival has different rituals for each of the four days. One of the famous festivals of India, it is celebrated with vigor and enthusiasm. Pongal is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Tamil people in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in India. Pongal is named after the ceremonial “Pongal”, which means “to boil, and refers to the traditional dish prepared from the new harvest of rice boiled in milk with jaggery (raw sugar).To mark the festival, the pongal sweet dish is prepared, first offered to the gods and goddesses (goddess Pongal), followed sometimes with an offering to cows.

13. Lohri

lohri Festival Celebrations

Lohri is a truly Punjabi folk festival, Lohri is celebrated primarily by the Sikhs and Hindus of the Punjab region. Having a trail of legends behind it, this festival is primarily a thanksgiving day for farmers, where the harvest of the Rabi crop is celebrated. The main celebration of the festival involves lighting a bon fire and throwing in foods like gajak, chikki, puffed rice, popcorn and sugarcane in it, to pay homage to roots. It is celebrated on 13th of January every year.
Like most other festivals in India, Lohri is also related to the agricultural activities of the farmers. It marks the harvesting season in Punjab and the end of the winter season.

14. Kumbh Mela

Kumbh-Mela-India

Kumbh Mela is one of the most famous festivals of India, Kumbh Mela starts in January and is regarded as one of the largest gatherings of pilgrims across the world. The Prayagraj Kumbh Mela, the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha, Haridwar Kumbh Mela and Ujjain Simhastha are the four fairs that are recognised as Kumbh Melas. These melas are periodically held at states Varanasi, Allahabad, Haridwar and Ujjain in every three years. During these occasions, devotees from all around the world take a dip in the holy river to cleanse all their sins and purify their souls. Religious discussions, devotional singing and mass feeding are some of the activities that pilgrims can indulge into at the festival.
Kumbh Mela is celebrated only 4 times in every 12 years. The religious celebration site keeps rotating in between four pilgrimages. These respective pilgrimages are located on the banks of the most sacred rivers of Hinduism.

15. Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri

A famous Hindu festival, Maha Shivratri, is celebrated either in February or March to worship Lord Shiva. It is believed that this festival overcomes darkness and ignorance and therefore, is celebrated with religious faith on Deity Shiva. In order to mark this day, people keep a day long fast and wear new clothes. In Kashmiri and Himalayan regions, this day is seen as the anniversary of God Shiva and Goddess Parvati and hence, the Mandi Fair is organised to commemorate it. Temples in Varanasi and Somnath are also visited in large numbers. There is a Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month’s 13th night/14th day, but once a year in late winter (February/March, or phalgun) and before the arrival of Summer, marks Maha Shivaratri which means “the Great Night of Shiva.

16. Onam

Onam-Celebrations

It is one of the biggest festivals of the state of Kerala which is celebrated for around ten days during the Malayalam month of Chingam (August – September). Onam marks the commemoration of the ‘Vamana’, the avatar of Vishnu. It is a rice harvest festival which is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The lighting of Nilavilakku, an Aarti that involves waving flowers over the Bible, forms an important ritual of the festival. According to legends, the festival is celebrated to commemorate King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam. In kerala there are public holidays  every year for the festival,this year there will be days off for Keralites from September 10 to September 13.

17. Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja is celebrated by the people of the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Chhath Puja is dedicated to worshipping the Sun God. Also known as Dala Puja, it is celebrated in the month of either October or November. On this day, people wear new clothes, keep fasts and gather by rivers to mark its celebrations. Also, lamps are lit and folk songs are sung by people in honour of ‘Chhat Maiya’. After sunset, courtyards of houses are lighted with  ‘diyas’ and the festive mood is enjoyed with mouth-watering dishes. Usually , this festival is celebrated twice a year, once in the summers and the second time during the winters. The Karthik Chhath is celebrated during the month of October or November and it is performed on Kartika Shukla Shashti which is the sixth day of the month of Karthika according to the Hindu Calendar. Commemorated on the 6th Day after Diwali, another major Hindu festival, it generally falls during the month of October-November.

18. Gurupurab

Gurupurab Celebrations

Guru purab also known as  Guru Nanak Dev ji jayanti celebrates the birth of the first Sikh guru,Guru Nanak.This is one of the most sacred festivals in Sikhism or Sikhi. The year 2020 marks the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the first of the 10 Sikh gurus. A three-day festival, Gurupurab celebrations begin with Prabhat Pheris  (early morning processions) at the gurudwaras and then proceed to the localities with Sikh devotees singing hymns. It is led by Panj Pyaras or Nagarkirtan (the five beloved ones), who carry the Sikh flag, known as the Nishan Sahib and the palanquin of Guru Granth Sahib. traditionally two days prior to Gurupurab, an Akhand Path or the 48-hour non-stop reading of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy text where the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev are preserved  is organised at the Gurdwaras.
Gurpurab is considered auspicious and important but the special significance is accorded to the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, as the Sikhs believe that Guru Nanak brought enlightenment to the world, hence the festival is also called Prakash Utsav which means bright light.

19. Natyanjali

Natyanjali Dance Celebrations

Natyanjali is an annual classical Indian dance festival. It denotes to the dance festival at Chidambaram Natarajar temple. Originally, was introduced at the Chidambaram temple, but nowadays also organized at many other temples in  Thanjavur, Chennai, Nagapatinam, Mayavaram, Thirunallar, Thiruvanaikoil. Natyam means dance. Anjali means to offer. The Natyanjali festival dedicated to Lord Shiva is celebrated every year during February-March for five days in the temple premises. For the practitioners of ‘Natya’ ,such an offering is the most eloquent ‘Anjali’. It begins on the auspicious occasion of MahaShivarathiri. During Shiva rathiri, there will be special poojas in the temple during the whole  night. Dance teachers and Gurus of all styles will offer their chosen art form at the feet of Lord Nataraja. Leading dancers from all over the country congregate and dance in the temple as an offering to Lord Nataraja. Many dancers think it is a blessing to be able to perform on this auspicious occasion.

20. Ram Navami

Ram Navami

Rama Navami is a Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Rama on the ninth day of the Hindu month of Caitra, which usually falls in March or April. Rama is the first son of King Dasaratha and Queen Kausalya of Ayodhya and is believed to be the seventh incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.Ram Navami is a gazetted holiday in several Indian states but may be celebrated on different days. Houses are thoroughly cleaned on Rama Navami and a family shrine may be decorated with small statues of Rama. Offerings of flowers and fruit are placed on the shrine and prayers are recited after an early bath in the morning on this day, followers of Hinduism may fast or restrict themselves to a specific diet and won’t eat certain foods like onions, garlic, and wheat products. The celebrations at key places associated with Sri Rama, such as Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh and Ramesvaram in Tamil Nadu can attract thousands of devotees. In some parts of India, there is a tradition of tying an earthen pot full of money on top of a tree and local youths form teams to try and claim the pot. It may seem easy but the base of the tree is covered with soft mud. And while the teams try to reach the top of the tree by forming human pyramids, the onlookers are shooting water jets at them.It is similar to vutti which takes place during Janamashtami.

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