India, known as a country of festivals, celebrates way more festivals than any other country in the world. There are lots of people with different cultures and religions in this country. And the festivals and their celebrations are something that binds these people together with an invisible thread of love.
In India, people celebrate almost everything (such as colour, nature, friendship, etc.), and that is the reason why India has so many festivals.
The passionate celebrations of prophets and saints, gods and goddesses, culture, and history occur almost every day throughout the country.
We have prepared a list of some of the festivals that are celebrated in India in the winter season.
Let us have a look at all those festivals.
Navaratri is known to be the longest Hindu festival that is celebrated in India. It lasts for nine consecutive nights. People celebrate this festival throughout the country with immense joy and happiness.
The goddess Durga is honored on the first nine days, and a tribute is paid to Lord Rama on the tenth day. People of different religions celebrate this festival with diversity.
If you want to see the difference, you may visit Bengal, Gujarat or Tamil Nadu during the nine days of the festival.
West Bengal- This festival is often called ‘Durga Puja’. West Bengal is very famous for the celebrations of Durga Puja. On the sixth day of Navaratri, the puja starts. It lasts till the tenth day of Navaratri. ‘Pandals’ and idols of goddess Durga are made, the pandals are decorated, and the cultural programs are held as well.
Gujarat- if West Bengal is known for its Durga Puja, then Gujarat is known for its Dandiya and Garba dance. Cultural programs are held throughout the festival and people perform ‘Garba’ and ‘Dandiya’ for nine consecutive days.
This nine-days festival is celebrated with such joy that it will leave you amazed and spellbound.
In the Malayalam calendar, it falls on the month of Chingam. There are two reasons for which this festival is celebrated- one is the homecoming of the King Mahabali and the celebration of the Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Onam is among the three primary Hindu festivals of Kerala. Despite that Onam is a festival of Kerela, it is also celebrated among Malayali communities with the same joy and happiness.
However, in the Georgian calendar, the dates of this festival keep rotating. Muharram is celebrated by Shia Muslims in the memory of martyred Hussein ibn Ali.
This festival is considered as a peaceful festival by Sunni Muslims. However, Shia Muslims believe it as a mourning month.
The mourning starts on the first day of the month, and it continues until the next two months and eight days. Shia Muslims take out a parade with banners in the streets on the 10th day. Besides, Sunni Muslims consider it as a fasting month with is then followed by fabulous feasts.
Moreover, this day is also celebrated in the memory of Lord Rama and his wife Sita, who returned from 14 years of exile after defeating Lord Ravan.
Though the festival depends on the lunar cycles, it generally occurs either in the month of October or November.
Decorating houses, shops, and neighborhoods with lights and ‘Diyas’ distributing sweets, fireworks, etc are some of the highlights of this festival.
If you want to experience something unusual, you must visit the “Pink City” (Jaipur) during Diwali. The city exhibits the most beautiful markets decorated with lights during the festival.
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Ran Utsav- Kutch festival
There is a common saying about Ran Utsav in Kutch of Gujarat “Kutch Nahi Dekha, to Kuch Nahi Dekha”. This line means that if you haven’t seen Kutch, you haven’t seen anything then. The values of this festival are summed up by this tagline.
Ran Utsav is one of the significant festivals in Kutch of Gujarat that starts from the end of October and lasts till February.
Some of the highlights of this festival include activities such as bird watching, camel riding, traditional dances, horse riding, giant chess, different games, paramotoring, net cricket, etc.
You can get a chance to experience diversity in hospitality and traditions of the Kutchi people once you visit Kutch during the Ran Utsav.
Bhai Dooj is a festival that is celebrated in India to show the unique understanding and the love between a brother and a sister. Bhai Dooj strengthens the bond between brothers and sisters.
It is tough to decode the emotions, feelings, and love between siblings (brothers and sisters).
On this day, sisters pray to God for the well-being, long life, and prosperity of their brothers. Bhai Dooj occurs just two days after Diwali (one of the major festivals of India).
Brothers gift their sisters with sweets, ornaments, or whatever they want.
As per the Gregorian calendar, Bhai Dooj falls on the second day of the Shukla Paksha of the Kartika month (between October and November).
Guru Nanak Jayanti or Gurupurab
Prominent Sith festivities centre around the birth of their ten Sikh mentors (gurus). These mentors helped in shaping the belief in divinity.
The name of the festival itself suggests that the festival is celebrated in the memory of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
He was known to be the founder of Sikhism and was the first mentor of Sikhs. This festival will fall on 12th November in 2019, and it will mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
This festival is celebrated just after the 15 days of Diwali. It is celebrated more likely as Diwali.
Major highlights of this festival include decoration of houses with lights and oil lamps, floating diyas in rivers, carrying out a parade of decorated idols in the streets, etc.
Numerous tourists are attracted to this festival as it exhibits a beautiful and incredible view of millions of earthen lamps on the ghats.
If you travel to Varanasi during this festival, you will be able to experience the enormous Arti at the Dashameshwar Ghat by twenty-four girls and twenty young priests.
This festival is celebrated on the 12th day of Rabi-ul Awwal which falls in the third month of the Islamic calendar. This festival is a day of happiness and mourning as well.
Despite the fact that the Prophet Muhammad’s birth is celebrated on this day, he died on the 12th day of Rabi-ul Awwal also.
Visiting mosques, distribution of sweets, singing, mourning, spending time with family, Barah Wafat, lectures, etc are some of the major highlights of this festival.
Thought this festival is celebrated all over India, the roots of this festival are connected to the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and the country fo Nepal.
Being the only festival which is devoted to the Sun God and Chhathi Maiya, the rituals and traditions of this festival are complicated to follow.
One has to do strict fasting in which he/she cannot even drink water during the whole process, take dips in rivers, stand and offer prayers to the Sun, and offer ‘prasad’ to the Sun at sunset and sunrise.
In 2019, this festival falls in November.
Hornbill Festival, Nagaland
This festival is organized in Nagaland every year by the government of Nagaland to promote and encourage the cultural heritage and inter-tribe interaction of Nagaland.
This festival is conducted in the first week of December.
You can visit Kohima to experience the charm of this festival between 1st to 10th of December every year.
Every single tribe of Nagaland takes part in the Hornbill festival which is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, that is not more than 12 km from Kohima.
Food stalls, Naga wrestling, fashion shows, beauty contest, flower sales and shows, etc are some of the highlights of this festival.
Christmas is the festival of the Christian community and not only in India, but this festival is celebrated throughout the world. This festival is celebrated in the memory of the birth of Jesus Christ.
In the Gregorian calendar, Christmas is celebrated on 25th December, which is also considered as the birth date of Jesus.
People visit churches, spend time with their family, distribute sweets, wear new clothes, and eat a festive meal on the occasion of Christmas. People exchange gifts in order to spread happiness.
Some of the highlights of Christmas in India include-
- Oil burners and small electric lights
- Decorations made of mango leaves or banana.
- Actors playing the role of Santa Claus by distributing sweets and gifts.
- Artificial pine trees that are decorated with Christmas themed elements.
This day is celebrated by a national holiday which is marked by parades, fireworks, etc. People celebrate picnics and spend time with their families to make this day a memorable one.
Here are some of the general traditions and resolution of New Year all over the world-
- Making goals or resolutions in order to improve one’s lifestyle.
- A standard view is that people want to spend the first day of the year clean so that they can spend the whole year in the same way. Common resolutions include exercise, concerned diets, quitting bad habits, etc.
- People gather around their loved ones and families, perform parades, fireworks, eat healthy foods, and enjoy as much as they can.
Lohri marks the harvesting season in Punjab. According to the English calendar, this festival falls on the 13th of January every year.
Lohri is celebrated on the last day of the month of Paush, which is also known as Makar Sankranti in major parts of the world.
The preparation of Lohri starts way before than the actual day of Lohri. People start collecting dry branches and twigs to make a massive bonfire on Lohri.
On a more significant day (Lohri), people set the bonfire after the setting of the Sun and start dancing and singing.
In the Lunar calendar, Magha means January and the Assamese people in India welcome their harvest by celebrating this festival named ‘Bihu’.
Bihu is a significant festival of winter season which is celebrated in Assam during Makar Sankranti, and it lasts for seven days. Bonfire and feasts are the major highlights of this festival.
Some traditional Assamese games (such as buffalo fighting and Takeli Bhonga/pot breaking) are also included as a part of this festival.
During the time when Sankranti is celebrated in the west and the central, Bihu is celebrated in the east, and Lohri is celebrated in the north, it is the time when people celebrate Thai Pongal in the South of India.
Due to the reason that Thai Pongal is also an agricultural festival, related to harvesting, the ideas for celebrating it are as much same as for Bihu and Lohri.
According to the Tamil calendar, this festival is celebrated on the first day of the month Thai. In the Christian calendar, this festival is generally celebrated between 12th and 15th of January every year.
Pongal is a dish which is made up of a sweet mixture of moong dal, rice, milk, and jaggery.
Thai Pongal is celebrated by all the Tamil population in the world irrespective of any differences. This is the reason why people often call it “Festival of the Tamils”.
January is known to be an important month of the year due to the reason that people celebrate different festivals at different places at the same time.
Apart from Bihu, Pongal, or Lohri, one more prominent festival of Hindus is Makar Sankranti which is celebrated majorly in the western and central part of India.
The word Makar Sankranti means the evolution of the Sun into the Zodiac sign of Capricorn (also known as Makar Rashi).
One of the major traditions of this day is kite flying. This festival is celebrated with enormous joy in the significant parts of Gujarat.
Big and bright kites cover the entire sky, and the glimpse seems outstanding. It generally falls on the 14th and 15th of January every year.
In a nutshell
India has a lot of festivals and experiencing them all at a time is not possible. If you are a citizen of India, you must feel lucky.
If you want to visit India to experience one of these festivals (or all of them), every festival is a chance to plan an unforgettable trip.
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