Top 10 Festivals in India
India is a country with multiple customs and traditions that have given birth to various festivals in each tradition and every festival symbolizes its own custom, ways of celebration and rituals performed. For every occasion there comes a festival celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm. Though there are many festivals that falls in every integral part of the country, there are some common festivals that are Celebrated throughout the country at the same time with its own mythological, religious or historical significance.
The Top ten Festivals in India are as follows:
Makar Sankranti is one of the festivals that is dependent on the position of sun and is most famous occasion for the Hindus in India. Makar Sankranti festival is celebrated in almost all parts of the country with great devotion and joy. The name Sankranti is a deity who killed a demon Sankarasur on this day. Thus the name Makar Sankranti evolved.
Makar Sankranti is considered as festival of harvest and is the only festival that falls on the same day every year on 14th January. This festival is highly celebrated among Hindus from North to down South in different states with different names and traditions which signifies the light, that we should turn away from the darkness of illusion in which we live, and begin to enjoy a new life with bright light within us to shine brighter. We must begin to grow in purity, wisdom, and knowledge, even as the Sun does from the Day of Makar Sankranti.
The festival of Maha Shivratri is celebrated as the great night of Lord Shiva as it is the God’s favorite day. On this day Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and `bel’ leaves on Shiva Linga and people stay awake throughout the night and worship the Shivalingam by washing it every three hours with curd, milk, honey, ghee and water accompanied by hymns of the Mantra of Om Namah Shivaya.
The Maha Shivratri celebrations are hugely carried out in the temples of southern part of India. This festival falls in the month of February or March on the 13th night of the new moon which is known to be the day Lord Shiva rested after being pleased with the creation of the world.
It is also believed that on the day of Maha Shivratri Lord Shiva was married to Parvati Mata. So this festival is considered as an auspicious for married women who pray for their husbands’ well being and unmarried women pray for a ideal husband like an Lord Shiva.
Holi is a colourful of India that is celebrated with lots of colours by playing with colors smearing on each other’s faces to honor the mischief of Lord Krishna (Lord Vishnu’s avatar) who used to drench the village virgins in water and colours. The festival of Holi is celebrated as the significance to mark the triumph of good over evil. People of all religion and caste color each other with gulal on this occasion. Many interesting myths are associated with origin of Holi.
The festival of Holi falls on the full moon day in the month of March in spring season is celebrated in a big way throughout India and has become a symbol of Indian culture in various parts of the world.
The festival of Onam is a traditional ten day harvest festival of Kerala, which symbolizes the arrival of the mythical King Mahabali who was a benevolent ruler. The Onam celebrations are marked with a display of flower decorations where the young prepare a flower carpet before their houses to welcome the king on Tiruvonam on these day. The festivities begin with Atham.
On the main day of Onam festival, Tiruvonam, the members of every household gather wearing new cloths and begin in the celebrations. A traditional meal called Sadhya is made during the festival and a main course is offered to the home coming king. The festival is also celebrated feasts served on banana leaves, dancing, sports, games, and snake boat races.
The festival of Ram Navami commemorates the birth of Lord Rama. Devotees of lord Rama on the day of Ram Navami pray for the return of Ramrajya, the period of peace and prosperity. On the day of Ram Navami, Lord Rama and Sita get married, where the rituals are performed by priests.
Ram Navami is celebrated with great devotion across India with its regional significance. Devotees worship lord Rama with morning ablutions, chanting Vedic mantras dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and offering flowers and fruit to the god.
Ayodhya, Ujjain and Rameshwaram are the main places where the processions of with lord Rama, his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and the great devotee Hanuman, which are taken out in the streets of different states on Rath yatra.
The festival of Raksha Bandan is a great festival that brings out the love and affection between brothers and sisters. This festival is a promise to protect this sacred bond of brother and sister forever. Raksha Bandan festival falls every year on a full moon day in month of Shravana of Hindu calendar. On this occasion sister ties a rakhi or holy thread on wrist of her brother and prays for his long life and ask God to bless them with his blessings while brothers present their sisters with rakhi gifts and promise them to care till the end of their lives.
Not only blood relation siblings even people who share an affectionate brother-sister relationship can perform this ceremony.
In India people celebrate the birth day of Lord Krishna the eight incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Janmashtami. This is a two day festival of Govinda. The first day of this Janmashtami festival is referred as “Gokulashtami” and the second day as “Janmashtami” marking the birth of Lord Krishna. The Janmashtami festival falls in the months of August or Sravan according to Hindu calendar.
On Janmashtami day people play most cherished games like Dahi Handi with clay pots containing butter, curd, and money are strung up high above ground and young men form a human pyramid and compete with each other to reach the pots and break them open. This celebration represents Lord Krishna’s love for butter and curd.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in honour of the Hindu elephant-headed God, Ganesha who is known to remove hindrances to flow of good fortune. People al over India erect huge and beautifully decorated idols of lord Ganesha on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi in each locality and perform poojas for 9 or 11 days after. The Ganesh Chaturthi festival falls in the month of August. And on the respective days the lord Ganesh idols will be immersed in nearby water bodies with great joy and dances.
Dussehra is one of the festival in India that is celebrated throughout the country for nine days where the mother goddess Durga is worshipped in her nine different forms for nine days called Navratri and the tenth day, called Dussehra. The Dussehra festival falls in the months of September.
This festival is devoted to celebrating the defeat of an evil buffalo demon Mahishasura by Goddess, Durga. The day of Dussehra also coincides with the defeat of King Ravana at the hands of Lord Rama who abducted his wife Sita.
During the ten day long festivities huge idols of the goddess Durga are erected in each locality and poojas are performed every day and immerse the idols in water on the after the tenth day of Dussehra.
The festival of lights Diwali is celebrated throughout the country which is also named as Deepavali. The Diwali festival is marked as the beginning of the Hindu New Year. The festival of Diwali falls in the months of October to November. On the festival of Diwali Goddess Laxmi who is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity is worshipped and Special prayers are also offered to Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.
Diwali is a five day long process by lighting earthen lamps before one’s house to mark the triumph of good over evil. The great Indian epic Ramayana and is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana.