Apart from food, what brings together the whole of India are the festivals that are celebrated here with so much zeal and enthusiasm. All religions have their own festivals and are celebrated in different parts of the country. Other than the major festivals in India which are Diwali, Christmas, Eid, Navratri and Ganesh Chaturthi which are celebrated on a grand scale throughout the country by various sects and clans; there are state festivals as well like Pongal, Onam, Baisakhi and Sankranti which are celebrated by every individual in the state irrespective of their religion and beliefs
1. Diwali or Dipawali – Â
Celebrated on massive scale throughout the country, the festival of lights is the most famous of all. Diwali is a five-day festival that represents the start of the Hindu New Year whenÂ Lord Rama came back from exile with wife and brother after fourteen long years. These lights are said to represent the victory of good over evil, and brightness over darkness.
2. Eid-ul-Fitr â€“
Eid-ul-Fitr also meaning breaking of fast, is one of the most widely celebrated religious occasions not only in India but across the world and marks the most important day for the Islamic World. The day celebrates days of dawn-to-sunset fasting in the month of Ramadan and is concluded by worshiping moon on the 29th day. Among the celebrations, exchanging gifts, buying new clothes is popular in the Asian context. Another tradition involves for children to be given small sums of money, also called Eidi, by their elders.
3. Ganesh Chaturthi â€“
The spectacular eleven day Ganesh Chaturthi festival honors the birth of the beloved Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha. Ganesh Chaturthi celebration begins with installation of idols of Lord Ganesh in temples. At the end of the festival, the statutes are paraded through the streets, accompanied by much singing and dancing, and then submerged in the ocean.
4. Christmas â€“
December 25 marks the birth of Christ and is much celebrated around the world. Family reunions and the exchange of gifts are the stock features of the festival. Christmas carols, cards and Santa Claus are some of the popular derivatives of the festival that I have grown up hearing about in my school and have become a crucial part of Christmas celebrations.
5. Holi â€“
Holi is a two-day festival and is commonly referred to as the “Festival of Colors”. The survival of a holy figure in Indian mythology, Prahlad and burning of Holika, is celebrated as Holi. People celebrate by throwing colored powder and water all over each other, have parties, and dance under water sprinklers. Bhang (a paste made from cannabis plants) is also traditionally consumed during the celebrations.
6. Onam â€“
Onam is ten-day harvest festival celebrated by the people of Kerala that marks the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. People strikingly decorate the ground in front of their houses with flowers arranged in beautiful patterns to welcome the King. The festival marks public holiday of four days for its celebration. On this day people of Kerala also participate in an enormous boat riding competition.