India is known for its ‘Unity in Diversity’ worldwide as it’s every state that has special culture and regional language. People in India celebrate a wide variety of festivals throughout the year with sheer devotion and enthusiasm. These famous festivals of India bring joy and happiness in the lives of individuals as they meet their families to create memories of happy moments.
Many of these festivals are shared by certain communities but due to internal migration within states of India, one can witness festivals being celebrated all around India. Here, is the list of 21 famous festivals in India. We will also provide comprehensive information on the importance of the festivals. To make sure, we don’t miss out on any important festival, we will provide information about festivals in the sequence of monthly calendar i.e. January to December.
Here, is the list of 21 famous festivals in India
Makar Sankranti is observed each year in the month of January. It is dedicated to our Sun god. This day marks the first day when the sun transits into the Makara which suggests the ending of winter and the beginning of spring which is the agricultural cycle for farmers.
This day is celebrated with devotion by North Indians and Sikhs just a day after Lohri. It is considered as a New Year of them. Gujaratis celebrate this day by the name of Uttarayan. People fly kites and have sweets like ‘Til Ladoo’ to celebrate this day. The best place to enjoy this day in India is North Region.
Pongal is one of the famous festivals of India celebrated in January month. It is a four-day long harvesting festival and each day is celebrated with some special feature. Likewise, on the first day, farmers offer prayers to Sun god and wish for good harvesting of their crops. They also discard their old belongings and celebrate new possessions. In Tamil language, Pongal means overflowing that signifies abundance and prosperity.
One day 2, they harvest new rice and prepare Pongal dish out of new rice and jaggery. On this day, they decorate their homes with beautiful rangolis at the house’s doorstep.
Day 3 is known as Maatu Pongal i.e Pongal for Cows, on this day celebrants bathe and decorate their cattle and cows. They offer prayer to cows and feed them Pongal. Feature of this day also includes games such as Jallikkattu. Day 4 marks as the ending of this festival, on this day people visit their relatives and hold reunions with families. This festival is celebrated by Tamilians in India.
Vasant Panchami is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, a deity of knowledge in Hindu religion. This day is celebrated in the months of January or February and it is marked as an important day for scholars and students as they worship the goddess of knowledge on this day. This festival is observed in Indian states like Punjab, Haryana, Assam, Odisha, and West Bengal.
Maha Shivratri means the great night of Shiva. On this day, people refrain from having food, others allow themselves one meal. People offer Bael leaves to Lord Shiva on this day. It is believed that whoever worships God on this day attains salvation. People celebrate this day with extensive singing and dancing at the night, and also consumes Bhaang (cannabis) as Prasad in the celebration. It is also considered as an important festival for unmarried and married women for attaining marital bliss. This festival is celebrated in the North Indian States.
Holi is the festival of colors usually celebrated in the month of March. On the eve of Holi, people light big Holika bonfire and sing, dance and offer prayers around the fire. This day signifies the victory of good over evil. On the day of Holi ( also known as Dhuleti), people gather in open areas and play Holi by applying wet or dry colors of multiple shades to each other and squirting each other with water guns and colored water-filled balloons.
Mahaveer Jamna Kalyanak is one of the important religious festivals of Jains. It marks the birth of Lord Mahaveer and it is celebrated in the month of March or April. On this day people observe fast and offer prayer. The statue of Mahaveer is given Abhisheka where it is bathed with milk and flowers. Even a grand procession of Lord Mahaveer’s Idol is carried out in the streets called as Rath Yatra.
Baisakhi is an ancient harvest festival celebrated across the North Indian state, especially in the state of Punjab. It is celebrated by the Sikh community of Punjab in the month of April. The Sikhs celebrate this day with a lot of excitement by performing their folk dances like Giddha and Bhangra. It is also considered as the Sikh New year and the day signifies as the day on which Khalsa Panth was founded by Guru Gobind Singh. The best place to celebrate this joyful festival in India is Punjab.
Bihu is one of the popular harvest festivals in India. It is observed in Assam in the month of April. People wear their traditional clothes and perform the Bihu dance in the open fields during the celebration. People also enjoy this festival by savoring their local cuisines. To enjoy a Bihu dance and celebrate Bihu, Assam is a must-go place in India.
Eid Ul Fitr
Eid is one of the important festivals of the Muslim community in India. It is observed at the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. In Urdu language, Eid means “festivity” while Fitr means “breaking the fast”. On this day, people wear new attires, attend community prayer in the morning and later visit the relatives and friends to exchange sweets and greetings. It is celebrated by all Muslims worldwide.
Hemis is one of the prominent festivals of India. It attracts a lot of foreign tourists to India. This day marks the birth anniversary of Padmasambhava who is the founder of Tibet Tantric Buddhism and spiritual leader. This day is usually celebrated in the month of June or July in Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir. The center of attraction of this festival is the masked dances also known as ‘Chham Dance’ that depicts the triumph of good over the evil. The dance is performed by Lamas on traditional music. Here, they are dressed up in long gowns, elaborate masks, and a headgear.
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated to cherish the brother-sister bonding. This is one of the famous festivals celebrated in India, celebrated in August month. The name of Raksha Bandhan refers to ‘a bond of protection’. On this day, brothers make a promise to their sister to protect them from all harm and sisters pray to god to protect their brothers from all the evil. Sisters apply a saffron tilak on their brother’s forehead and tie a decorated thread called Rakhi on their brother’s wrist.
Krishna Janmashtami is one of the significant festivals of India. The birth of Krishna is celebrated on the eighth day of a lunar fortnight in the month of August-September, hence the name is Janmashtami (Birth + Eighth Day). People fast throughout the day and break it with a special meal after the evening. In midnight, people sing bhajans, dance, and pray as part of the celebration. Often, kids are dressed up as Lord Krishna on this day and take part in the drama that depicts Lord Krishna’s life story. One of the feature events of this festival is Dahi Handi. Mathura and Vrindavan are popular places to experience Janmashtami celebration.
Onam is one of the prominent festivals of Kerala. This harvest festival falls between August-September. This celebration marks the homecoming of mythical King Mahabali, and it shows the state’s culture and heritage. People in this 4-5 days long festival decorate their homes with floral arrangements and women wear beautiful white and golden border sarees. The festivity comprises folk music, elegant dance like Kaikottikali (clap dance) and Kathakali dance, energetic games such as Vallamkali (snake boat race) and Pulikali procession.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with the utmost excitement and enthusiasm in the state of Maharashtra. This festival reveals the joy of homecoming of Lord Ganesha and it lasts for 10 days. The handcrafted idol of Ganesha is placed at house or at the open pandals. The idols or statues are worshiped and Puja is performed in morning and evening. The last day is the day of Visarjan – on that day they are paraded through the streets, accompanied by much singing and dancing and then immersed in the water body. The best place to experience it is Maharashtra
Navratri is celebrated with much fervor and excitement among the Gujaratis. This nine-day festival honors the mother goddess Durga in all her incarnations. It is the celebration of nine nights, where on each night, all over the state, villages, cities gather in open areas wearing traditional attires to celebrate feminine divinity, referred as Shakti. Every night, Goddess Amba is worshiped and after that, dances like Garba and Dandiya Raas begin that continues till midnight or early morning.
As Gujaratis are found in every corner of the world, they organize a Garba event for their communities. Albeit, the best place to celebrate Navratri is Gujarat.
Durga Puja is a major festival for Bengalis in India. The colorful and high energy festival is celebrated by decorating huge pandals where in between a beautiful heavily statue of goddess Durga is placed. These 10 days of celebration is marked by fasting, feasting, singing, dancing, and wholesome enjoyment. Celebrations of Durga Puja in Kolkata is a MUST-WATCH sight, it is a lifetime experience to witness a festival in the heart of its existence.
Dussehra is an important religious festival in India. This Festival is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Rama and monkey god Hanuman over the demon king Ravan. It also coincides with Goddess Durga’s triumph over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura.
It culminates with Ravan Dahan where the effigies of Ravana, Meghnath, and Kumbhkaran are burnt and it is followed with loud cheers from the crowd that celebrate the symbolic feat. In some parts of India, Dussehra is marked with the help of Ramlila (A street play of 10 days that portrays the entire Ramayana).
Diwali is the most famous festival in India. This festival of lights falls between the months of October or November. The entire country, irrespective of different culture and societies celebrate this festival with vigor and excitement. People decorate their houses with Diyas (clay lamps), candles, lights and rangolis at the doorstep of their homes. People wear new attires, make a delicious feast, visit their families and friends, and exchange greetings and gifts.
Chhath Puja is a four-day festival in India that begins on the sixth day after Diwali. This festival considered as one of the most difficult festivals as it requires women to fast without food and water for long durations during these four days. It is celebrated to offer thanks to Sun god and his wife Usha for sustaining life on Earth. The third day holds prominence in this four-day festival, as on that day the devotees fast without water and go to the river bank and offer ‘argha’ (offering of fruits and sweets in winnow) and Surya Namaskar to the setting sun followed by the next day. Then, the fast comes to the end and people visit their relatives and exchange greetings and wishes.
The Environmentalists claim that Chhath Puja as the most eco-friendly Hindu festival. This festival is celebrated in the Indian States of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh.
Gurupurab is one of the important festivals of the Sikh community. People assemble at gurudwaras to celebrate the anniversaries of the ten Sikh Gurus. Special assemblies on the lives and teachings of gurus and langars are arranged as well as Karah Prasad is given to all in gurudwara. Sikh march processions through towns and cities chanting holy hymns. People light up their homes with lamps and candles and burst crackers to celebrate the religious festival.
The birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated with happiness and wonderful joy throughout the world on 25th December every year. This time is for the religious and cultural celebrations of Christians. People decorate the Christmas trees, bake the cakes, and exchange gifts among families and friends. The churches are decorated with lights to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Hope you enjoyed reading the prism of Indian festivals. Celebrate each of them to bring your life into a state of exuberance. We bet you won’t regret!