Festivals of India

1 . Baisakhi

Baisakhi, is celebrated mostly in north more associated with the state of Punjab. This festival is associated with the harvest of Rabi crop. The festival also marks the birth anniversary of Khalsa Panth. Held on the first day of the Vaisakh month usually referred as month of April and May, this festival heralds atmosphere of enjoyment, lots of jubilance and fun. This festival is important for both Sikh and Hindus.

2 . Diwali

Diwali is the most celebrated and widely popular festivals in India. This day is considered to be very auspicious among other Hindu festivals and is a way to appreciate the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana, which is termed as a defeat of evil by good. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Rama defeated Ravana to get back his wife Sita, who was kidnapped by Ravana. The festival is also filled with many rituals, customs and celebrations. The festival is so popular that it is celebrated not only in India but also in the whole world.

3 . Durga Puja

Durga Puja is widely celebrated especially in Eastern parts of India, One of the notable mentions is Bengal, where the festivities take a huge prominence. Puja reaches its full moon within the last four days from Maha-Shashti to the day when the idols take a water dip, which is held on the eve of Dashami. The legend talks about the descent of Goddess to earth on Shashthi. She arrives on the sixth day (shashthi) and leaves on the tenth day (Dashmi). The whole festival is ten day long. The preparation for Durga Puja starts weeks before the actual event where people clean up their houses and adorn them with a welcome sign.

4 . Dussehra

A very popular Hindu festival is Dussehra, this is a celebration for victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. The ?Vijay? (victory) is celebrated on Dashmi ?tenth day?, thus the festival is termed as ?Vijaydashmi?. This festival is mostly concentrated in the Northern parts of the country. The legend of the actual fight between Lord Rama and Ravana is dramatized with enactments of Rama, his brother Lakshmana, Sita, Ravana, his brother Kumbhkarna, and son Meghnath. The plays consists of the climax of the famous battle. The climax takes a further turn with the shooting of the effigy of Ravana by a fireball. Excitement and applause from the crowd is seen as the climax turns into a full blown celebration.

5 . Holi

Holi is a colorful festival of India celebrated during spring season. The festival acts as an equalizer between different socioeconomic communities by eliminating differences, and bringing people closer to each other. Its believed that there used to be an evil ruler called Hiranyakaship. His pride and strength had overpowered himself so much that he started to believe that he was more powerful and worth worshipping even more than Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipus own son, Prahlada, was a devotee of Vishnu. He ordered young Prahlada to sit on a pyre in the lap of Holika, Prahlada readily accepted his fathers order, and prayed to Lord Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, Prahlada survived unharmed while everyone watched in amazement as Holika burnt to death. The salvation of Prahlada and burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi.

6 . Janmashtami

Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in India in the month of July or August. According to the Hindu calendar, this religious festival is celebrated on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksh or the 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadon.

7 . Karwa Chauth

Karwa Chauth is a world renowned tradition, representing India as a country full of love and traditions. Married Hindu woman fasts on this very day from the break of dawn till they see the moon at night. Women pray for their husbands long life and well being. This ritual has its basis on strengthening bonds between husbands and their wives. Women dress up in traditional way and gather in a common place to offer prayers and listening to the legend of Karwa Chauth. Finally after seeing the moon through the sieve and worshipping it, women take their first sip of water and first bite of food by their husband hands.

8 . Ram Navami

Ram Navami marks the birth of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Ram was born in Ayodha Kingdom which is an ancient Indian city. Ram Navami is the day that marks the end of nine day long festival called Navratri. On Ram Navami devotees of Shri Ram observe fast and visit temples and perform special prayers. Religious processions and special readings of Ramayana are also arranged. Bhajans and Kirtans also take place where thousands of devotees sing in appreciation of Lord Ram.

9 . Navratri

Navratri, as the name suggests is a celebration of nine days to worship Goddess Durga also known as Goddess Lakshmi in her protective form and Goddess Saraswati for disseminating knowledge. These three divine aspects are worshipped during the festival of Navratri. The festival is celebrated with this order, first Goddess Durga destroys all the evil after which Lakshmi imbibes divine qualities in the minds of devotees and finally Goddess Saraswati bestows true knowledge. Thus Goddess Durga which symbolizes the destructive aspect of the divine mother is worshipped during the first three nights of the festival the next three nights, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and on the last three nights, the Goddess of knowledge, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped. The tenth day known as Vijaya Dashami, generally the day where victory of knowledge wins over evil.

10 . Guru Nanak Jayanti

One of the major religions and also the youngest of all the worlds four great monotheistic religions, in India is Sikhism. Often associated with progression and philosophy, Sikhism is a way of life. Founded in the 15th Century by Guru Nanak Dev, its origin comes from the word Sikh which refers to a Punjabi word that means “disciple”, Guru Nanak was quite critical of blinds rituals followed by Hindus and Muslims. He focussed on understanding and love. There were nine more successive Gurus after him and the last Guru was Guru Gobind Singh.

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