India is a land of diverse cultures and religions. It is the only country that willfully withstands the slogan “Unity in Diversity”. India is one of the most religiously diverse nations of the world with each individual free to follow his own rites and beliefs, major religions, and minor religions to play an important role in the lives of the people. Information about Indian Festivals Celebration is as:
Diwali or the festival of lights is the most significant festival in India celebrated by millions of Indians. Diwali is considered a Hindu festival but also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs too.
North India celebrates Diwali as the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya. After 14 years of exile, Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Laxman returned home. Since it was a new moon day and was dark, his subjects lit diyas across the kingdom that day.
In South India, the celebration of Diwali varies even among the states. Kerala generally does not celebrate Diwali. Many speculate that this may be because King Bali, a virtuous demon king was killed that day. The other three states celebrate the occasion in honor of Lord Krishna’s consort Satyabhama, killing the demon king – Narakasura and freeing thousands of girls in his captivity. It is celebrated a day before Diwali, and the occasion is called Naraka Chaturdashi.
In West India, Diwali is considered as the start of a new year and is predominantly about worshipping the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.
The festival of colors, Holi, is the most vibrant of all Hindu festivals. It marks the end of winter in India and welcomes the spring season. On this festive day, people play with colors, meet and greet one another and create new beginnings.
It’s said that the Holi Festival was originally a ceremony for married women to spread prosperity and goodwill on their new family. One of the main focuses of the Holi Festival is a celebration of the victory of good over evil.
In North India, the Dussehra festival is celebrated as the day when Lord Rama killed the demon king Ravana in Lanka. It’s also called Dasara or Vijayadashami. According to the Hindu calendar, the Dussehra festival is celebrated in the month of Ashvina and it falls on the tenth day. This festival is celebrated after the conclusion of the nine-day Navratri.
In some parts of India, it signifies the day on which Goddess Durga killed the demon Mahishasur. That is why all the nine avatars of Goddess Durga are worshipped on the Navaratri. It is also said that Goddess Durga immersed in water with the devotees who signifies the departure of Goddess Durga from the material world after maintaining Dharma.
In South India, the Dussehra festival mainly, in Mysore, Karnataka is celebrated as the day when Chamundeshwari, another avatar of Goddess Durga, killed the demon Mahishasur.
Krishna Janmashtami is the birthday of Lord Krishna which is celebrated with great fervor and zeal in India during the monsoon month. According to the Hindu calendar, this religious festival is celebrated on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksha or the 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadrapada (August–September) in Mathura. The number eight has another significance in the Krishna legend in that he is the eighth child of his mother, Devaki.
The largest celebration of this Hindu festival takes place in Mathura and Vrindavan, where Lord Krishna is believed to have been born and spent his growing up years, respectively. Since He was born at midnight, devotees observe a fast and sing devotional songs for him as the clock strikes twelve. Devotees then break their fast and share food and sweets.
The sole reason for celebrating this festival is bringing people together so that principles of unity strengthen. Dahi Handi is another important aspect of this festival that is observed on the second day of Janmashtami. As a kid, Lord Krishna was named “Makhanchor” or the one who steals butter.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated annually to mark the birth of Lord Ganesha, the God of new beginnings and a fresh start. The festival falls in the month of Bhadra, according to the Hindu calendar, and in August/September according to the Gregorian calendar.
Ganesh Chaturthi assumed the nature of a gala public celebration when the Maratha ruler Shivaji (c.1630–80) used it to encourage nationalist sentiment among his subjects, who were fighting the Mughals. In 1893, when the British banned political assemblies, the festival was revived by the Indian nationalist leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Today the festival is celebrated in Hindu communities worldwide and is particularly popular in Maharashtra and parts of western India.
Guru Nanak Jayanti or Guru Nanak Dev Ji Gurupurab is the festival where Sikhs celebrate the birth of their first guru “Guru Nanak”. The literal meaning of the word Gurupurab is ‘the day of Guru’.
Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated every year as Guru Nanak is the founder of Sikhism. He is worshipped by the Sikh community and his birth is a celebration of the great life he lived. The Sikh community celebrates the birth anniversary of all the 10 Sikh Gurus but this one is on a larger scale as he is the first guru and also the founder of this religion. Not just in India, celebrations are held in other parts of the world as well where the Sikh community resides.
Eid or Eid al-Fitr or Meethi Eid marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a period of fasting, kindness, and good deeds. It is an important religious holiday for Muslims and when they are not permitted to fast. It is an auspicious day that sees Muslims around the world come together to praise, glorify and gratify Allah (SWT), celebrate, and rejoice in the completion of the holy month (Ramadhan).
Moreover, it also marks the conveyance of substantial charity to the poor, destitute, and needy in order to enable the rejoice, happiness, and tranquility to reach all households.
Onam festival is celebrated to honor the kind-hearted and much-beloved demon King Mahabali, who is believed to return to Kerala during this festival. According to Vaishnava mythology, King Mahabali defeated the Gods and began ruling over all three worlds. King Mahabali was a demon king who belonged to the Asura tribe.
The word Onam originated from the Sanskrit word Shravanam which refers to one of the 27 Nakshatras or constellations. In South India, Thiru is used for anything associated with the Lord Vishnu and it is believed that Thiruvonam is the Nakshatra of Lord Vishnu who pressed the King Mahabali to the underworld with his foot.
Vamana started to grow in size and his first feet covered the Earth and his second feet covered the sky. For the third feet no place was left, and then Mahabali requested Vamana to place the third feet on his head, thus, burying himself into the underworld. However, by seeing the devotion of Mahabali, Lord Vishnu was impressed and told him that he could return to earth once a year to visit his people and his kingdom during Onam. And so, every year during this period the Onam festival is celebrated.