Indian Fairs And Festivals
India is a rich land, which has attracted invaders from Central Europe and Asia who left their imprint on this land, its religions and its lifestyles over 40 centuries. As a result, today, Indian celebrates more festivals than any other country. Nonetheless, Indians are known to celebrate all the festivals with great fan fare and importance.Festivals in India are determined by the Solar & Lunar positions & they may fall in a different month as specified here.Fairs are the focal point of socio, economic activities and attract people from far and near - a camel to be sold – like the Pushkar camel cattle fair, a land deal to be negotiated, a marriage to be fixed- a meeting place is necessary & fairs are ideal! The Fairs and Festivals in India celebrated round the year showcase the resplendence of its arts and crafts tradition. Two cycles of the moon per month, 365 days in a year - there is a fair, a festival in some isolated corner, perhaps unnoticed elsewhere - all the same a celebration! Some of these functions make a pleasant interlude for visitors who chance upon them, while others are worth the effort of a special trip! The Indian calendar is a long procession of festivals in India; if you can find yourself in the right place at the right time, it is possible to go through your visit with a festival each day ! Pongal, the harvest festivals of the South India the immersion of Ganesh in Mumbai, Ratha Yatra, the car festival of Puri, snake-boat races in Kerala, Republic Day celebrations in Delhi….. every region, every faith has something to celebrate.
Let us look at them month wise
Republic Day: - 26th January of every year - A spectacular March Past by armed forces/cultural tableau/folk dances
Beating The Retreat Ceremony - 28th January of every year - A poignant event at Sun set with the back drop of the Presidential building.
14 January: Makar Sankranti: International Kite Festival of India: - at Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
Bikaner Festival in India: - in Rajasthan.
Pongal: or Harvest Festival of India - Mainly in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka - usually on 15th Jan every year.
Vasant Panchami: - the advent of Spring celebrated mainly in Eastern India.
Float Festival of India: - elaborately illuminated barge carrying decorated temple Deities at Madurai and few other temple towns of South India on the Full moon of jan/ feb
Surajkund:- Craft Mela (Surajkund near Delhi), from 1st to 14th February of every year.
International Yoga Week:- (Rishikesh).
Desert Festival of India:- (Jaisalmer, Rajasthan), full moon of January/ February every year.
Taj Mahotsav:- (Agra - Uttar Pradesh).
Nagaur Fair:- (Nagaur - Rajasthan).
Deccan Festival:- (Andhra Pradesh).
Maha Shivratri:- (worship of Lord Shiva, Special celebrations at Chidambaram.
Kalahasti:- in South India, Khajuraho,Varanasi and Mumbai), new moon of February / March of every year.
Holi:- Mainly in North India, full moon of March of every year. Popularly called the festival of colours. Advent of spring. Lively festival with much throwing of colored water and powders. (Public Holiday).
Gudi padwan , Ram Navmi, Hanuman jayanti
Mardi Grass:- Goa, mainly three days before the commencement of Lent.
Khajuraho Dance Festival: - (Khajuraho).
Mahavir Jayanti:- National; Jain festival in India, birth of Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara, full moon of April every year.
Good Friday, Easter
Baisakhi:- Northern India, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu; Hindu Solar New Year.Known as Bihu in Eastern India - Orissa and Assam. Ushering Summer Celebration and Dances Almost always on the 14th of April every year.
Pooram:- Trichur, New Moon of April/May. Spectacular sight of large number of elephants carrying ceremonial umbrellas going round the temple; midnight firework display.
Id-ul-zuha:- (Bakri id), Muslim, National.The most celebrated Islamic festival in India, commemorating the sacrifice of Issac by Abraham.
Id-ul-fitr:- (Ramzan id), Muslim, National. Celebration to mark the end of the holy month of Ramzan, (the above two festival of india will vary according to the muslim calendar).
Meenakshi Kalyanam:- Madurai, Marriage of Meenakshi with Lord Shiva.Colourful temple festival. Deities borne by colossal chariot. Ten day festival, ending with the float festival In April May accordiong to the constellations.
Fair Rajasthan, Urs Ajmer Sherif:- Ajmer, 6 days religious, cultural and commercial extravaganza dedicated to the Sufi.(this date will also vary according to the muslim calendar)
Rath Yatra:- Mainly Orissa. Greatest festival in honour of Lord Jagannath (Lord of the Universe). Three colossal chariots drawn from Puri temple by thousands of pilgrims.Similar festivals, on a smaller scale, take place at Ramnagar (near Varanasi), Serampore (near Calcutta) and Jagannathpur (near Ranchi).Mostly in July
Teej:- Rajasthan - Particularly Jaipur, Procession of the Goddess Parvati to welcome monsoon; elephants, camels, dancers, etc. Women wear colorful clothes.
Raksha Bandhan:- Northern and Western India. Legendary reenactment, girls tie 'rakhis' or talisman on the wrist of their brothers for protection. Full moon of July/August
Amarnath Yatra:- Lidder Valley, Kashmir on the full moon of July/August.Pilgrims visit the place where Lord Shiva explained the secret of salvation to his consort Parvati.
Nehru Trophy Boat Race:- Kerala, 2nd Saturday of Aug.
Independence Day:- 15th August of every year. The Prime Minister of India addresses the people of India from Red Fort, Delhi.
Janmashtami:- Eight day after the full moon of August celebrated all over India particularly in Mathura and Brindhavan the supposed birth place of Krishna.
Onam:- Kerala's Harvest Festival; spectacular snake boat races in many parts of Kerala, full moon of August/September
Ganesh Chaturthi:- Fourth day after the New Moon of August. Celebrated all over India particularly in a grand manner particularly in Maharashtra.
Dussehra:- The most popular festival in the country, celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. In the north and particularly in North India, where it is known as Ram Lila, plays and music recall the life of Rama; in Kullu considered the land of Rama, the festival is an equally colorful celebration. In Bengal and many parts of Eastern India it is known as Durga Puja, and in the South as Navratri - the nine nights dedicated to the Mother Goddess.
Fair, Himachal Pradesh:- Kullu Valley to coincide with Dussehra (10 days),
Gandhi's Birthday:- Mahatma Gandhi's birthday - 2nd October of every year.
Diwali:- One of the most lively and colourful festivals in India. In some parts, it marks the start of the Hindu New Year. In Eastern India, the goddess Kali, the destroyer of evil is particularly worshipped. Elsewhere, it is Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, who is venerated. Everywhere there are magnificent illuminations and fireworks.
Sonepur Mela:- (Sonepur-Bihar),
Hampi Festival:- (Hampi-Karnataka),
Muharram:- Muslim. Commemoration of Imam Hussain's Martyrdom. Tiger dancers lead processions of colourful replicas of martyr's tomb. Colourful, particularly at Lucknow. (dates change according to the muslim calendar)
Cattle Fair, Bihar:- Largest cattle fair in the world; lasting one month in Sonepur, Patna; on banks of Ganges. Full Moon of November.
Pushkar Mela:- Pushkar, near Ajmer, Rajasthan. Important and colourful. Camel and cattle fair attended by people from miles around. Camel races and acrobatics etc.Full Moon of November.
Shilpgram Crafts Mela:- Udaipur-Rajasthan - dates are announced annually.
Kurukshetra Festival:- Kurukshetra, Haryana - dates are announced annually.
Konark Dance Festival:- Konark-Orissa- dates are announced annually.
Gurpurab:- The birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhism spiritual teacher or preceptor of Sikhism,. Full moon of November.
Christmas Day:- Celebrated all over India on 25th December every year.
Special Events/Fairs
Kumbh Mela:- The oldest and most important of the Hindu festivals. It takes place once in three years, at one of the four great holy cities; Nasik on the banks of river Godavari, in Maharashtra, Ujjain on the banks of River Sipra in Madhya Pradesh, Allahabad on the banks of the confluence of rivers Ganga and Yamuna ,and Haridwar on the banks of the river Ganga . Allahabad and Haridwar are in Uttar Pradesh. Kumbha Melas are attended by millions of pilgrims who take a holy bath in these sacred Rivers The fascinating fairs and festivals of India reflects the expression of joy and happiness.
Akshaya Tritiya, whole India celebrate this Tithi, according to hindu calender:-
The third tithi of Shukla Paksha, the waxing or bright half of the moon, in the month of Vaisakh. Astrologically, it is one of three most auspicious tithis in the year, the other two being the first tithi of the Shukla Paksha of Chaitra, celebrated as the New year, and the tenth tithi of the Shukla Paksha of Ashvina celebrated as Vijay Dashami.
Guru Purnima
The full moon day of Ashad is celebrated as Guru Purnima, in honour of the birth of Maharishi Veda Vyasa. Sri Vyasa compiled and codified the four Vedas Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda and Sama Veda. He authored the Brahma Sutras, which contain the essence of Vedanta. Comes around july.
Bihu in Assam
Bihu or Bohag Bihu is the biggest festival of the people of Assam. It is a festival that transcends all religious and class barriers bringing people together in a free and uninhabited manner. The Assamese observe not one but three Bihus. Bohag Bihu, which is celebrated in mid-April, the Magh Bihu, which is held in mid-January, and the Kati Bihu which is celebrated in mid-October. The three are connected with the spring, winter and autumn seasons respectively.
Port Blair
sland Festival, Port Blair (March) and Ossuary Feast (Pig Festival).
The Goa Carnival
The colourful three-day Goan festival, celebrated just before the Lenten fast, is an integral part of the Portuguese heritage of Goa and epitomizes the fun-loving culture, characteristic to Goa. The carnival was originally introduced as a naughty celebration in which flour, eggs, oranges, mud, dirty water and other liquids was aimed at passersby. It was also an occasion for unchecked eating. Even the convents distributed cakes and pastries. The present-day carnival in Goa has retained the core of these festivities, while adapting and amalgamating it with the local culture. A king of chaos called King Momo (the Greek god of satire and laughter) is elected, who presides over the three-day festivities during which street plays, songs, dances, and impromptu farces mocking the establishment are performed before an enthusiastic audience. Carnival in Goa reflects the natural resources, cultural heritage, artistic genius and sensitive ethos to make it an exotic pageant of colour and mirth of unrivalled beauty and exuberance. The Carnival attracts visitors from all over India and abroad. (February), International Sea Food Festival(Nov/Dec) and Feast of St.Xavier (Jan/Nov).
North India events
Shigmo:-It is a social festival of Goan Hindus. It is theGoan counterpart of the Holi in the rest of India.
Haryali Festival:-This festival announces the onset of the monsoon rains.
Lahaul Festival:-The Lahaul festival is celebrate during July in the Lahaul Valley.
Lohri or Maghi:-The festival of Lohri is celebrates in the most areas of Himachal Pradesh in the month of January to commemorate the last sowing of Ravi crop.
Thaipusam :- Mostly a Tamil festival, commemorating the birth of Lord Murugan. Late Janurary - Early Feburary.