India is a big country and home to people from different religions, caste, creed, and ethnicity. The festivals are significant aspects of the people’s lives and are a window to their culture, customs, traditions, and beliefs. Head to any tourist destination in India on a festive season and try experiencing the unique charm of the place.
No wonder India is one colorful country full of festivals and cultural events that bind the whole country together and not just preserve but also exhibit the culture and traditions that have been in practice for centuries. The calendar is full of festivals and religious or cultural events with each being unique and possessing the elements of harmony, goodwill, longevity, and last but not the least, fun! Even, one particular festival is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. Each state has its own particular way of celebrating a festival with a touch of the state’s own culture, religion, and customs. For example, Diwali, one of the biggest and most significant festivals in India, is celebrated in numerous ways in different parts of the country.
In Northern India people lit up their houses with light and diya, buy gifts and sweets, visit relative’s home and celebrate the festival with the loved ones, while kids enjoy cracking fireworks, whereas, in Eastern India, particularly in West Bengal, Lakshmi Puja is celebrated prior to Diwali. The nights are marked with worshiping the fierce goddess Kali and you’ll find a number of Pandals all over the places. Also in Orissa, Diwali is associated with the calling of the spirits of a family’s forefather. An indigenous custom here includes burning stem jutes during the festival, which are believed to light up the path that the forefathers’ spirits take to reach heaven. Similarly, people in South India have their own way of celebrating the festival starting with taking an oil bath before sunrise, followed by eating sweets and putting on new clothes. In Tamil Nadu, the newlyweds celebrate their first Diwali after their marriage in the bride’s maternal home. They also burst the first crackers, take blessings of the elders, and savor sweets that are reserved just for them.
Similarly, the harvest festival of India is a pretty big festival and celebrated throughout the country in different ways and even at different time intervals. The festival is basically related to harvesting and represents a way of thanking the gods for a good harvest year and praying for yet another good harvest year. The most popular harvest festivals in the country are Makara Sankranti or Lohri, Baisakhi, Rongali Bihu, Onam, Kut, and Tokhu. Makara Sankranti is celebrated in the month of January and known by different names and celebrated in numerous ways across the nation because of the large diversity of cultures. In Punjab, Delhi, and other states of northern India it is celebrated with lighting fires and dancing and singing around it. Eating peanuts and sweets are a custom. In Gujarat, people celebrate the festival by flying kites.
Onam is basically a festival of south India. It is a ten day long festival of feasting, song, dance, performances, melas, boat races, etc. During the ten days floral decorations are put at the entrance of every house, houses are cleaned, earthen mounds are put on the dung plastered courtyards, new clothes are worn, and people go to the temple and give thanks for the good harvest.
To summarize all the festivals are significant aspects of any city, town, or village in India. They are the perfect ways to understand and experience the culture, tradition, religion, and people. Try visiting a tourist destination in a festive season; it will help you gain some new experiences.