India is a nation that demonstrates Unity in Diversity while having varied cultures, religions, languages and festivals make it an extraordinary place to live. People call India “the land of festivals“. The word ‘festival’ literally means an event celebrated by a community of people of a particular religion or by all the citizens. Of course, for me, the word festival means a plethora of joy and happiness. The national holidays or festivals are the days off from the monotonous work life for most people. Let’s join hands with Travliv360 to know the best festivals of India. So, let’s begin!!
Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of the Hindus new year, falls on the next day of Lohri. It also marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of the spring season. On this day, there is a tradition of flying kites and having a mouth-watering dish known as ‘Bajre ki khichdi’ or the famous ‘Til ke Laddu’. In Gujarat, people celebrate Makar Sankranti in the name of Uttarayan. Therefore it is one of the best festivals of India to celebrate.
REPUBLIC DAY: A PRIDE OF INDIA
Republic day is a gazetted or a national holiday in India. On this day in the year 1950, the constitution of India came into effect. The President of India unfurls the Nation Flag at India Gate, New Delhi. Further, all the states display their tableau in the Parade. The Ministry of Defence also showcases its military prowess. The President honours the brave soldiers by giving Parmvir Chakra, Ashok Chakra and Vir Chakra. The most amazing thing to notice about Republic Day is the march in Lutyens Delhi.
This festival falls in January or February. The scholars and students mainly worship the Goddess Saraswati on this day. Moreover, people dress in yellow to mark the flowering mustard fields and prepare yellow coloured snacks and sweets. Flying kites is another fascinating ritual performed on Basant Panchami. Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Punjab, and Haryana are the states which celebrate Basant Panchami.
Maha Shivratri means ‘the day when Lord Shiva performed the heavenly dance’. The Shaivism tradition of the Hindu religion worship Lord Shiva on this auspicious day. Further, Maha Shivaratri falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun (February or March). Many people do fasting to honour Lord Shiva. Hence make it to the list of the best festivals of India.
HOLI: RANGO KA TYOHAR
Holi is one of the most significant festivals of the Hindus, celebrated all over India with a lot of zeal. People call it ‘the festival of colours’. A day before Holi, Holika Dahan takes place when people dance and sing around the huge Holika bonfires. On the day of Dhulandi, people apply colours to each other, and children carry water guns and water balloons filled with coloured water. Further, people also go to Mela and drink the famous milk-based drink called Thandai, with Bhang. Last but not least, ‘Gujiya’ is the main thing I love about Holi. Lol!!
Baisakhi is one of the famous religious festivals of India, celebrated mainly by the Sikh community. It commemorates the harvest season of rabi crops. People on this day perform Bhangra and Giddha with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. Further, this day marks the beginning of the Sikh New year. Sikhs on this day pay tribute to Guru Govind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru. It also demonstrates how India is still unified with diversity.
Eid-ul-Fitr or Eid is the primary festival of Islam. It celebrates the culmination of the holy month of Ramadan, known as the month of fasting. In addition, people wear new clothes and attend a special community prayer in the morning, called the morning Eid Namaz. They visit friends and relatives and exchange sweets. Sewaiyan is the main dish of this festival. Last but not least, there is a custom of giving Eidi to younger ones on this day. Being a secular state, India celebrates all the festivals with joy & happiness.
Rakshabandhan is among the famous festivals of the Hindus. Also, this festival signifies the bond of brother and sister, in which the sister prays, applies tilak and ties rakhi on her brother’s wrist and wishes his well being. Moreover, the brother vows to protect his sister. Both of them exchange sweets or gifts in cash or kind. I like Raksha Bandhan because humari to Chandi ho jati h. Hahaaa!!
JANMASHTAMI: THE BIRTHDAY OF KANHA
This festival marks the birth of the mighty and mischievous Lord Krishna. It falls in August or September. People keep fast throughout the day, and in the evening, break it with a special meal. The houses and temples showcase the ‘Jhakis’ of Lord Krishna. Moreover, the little ones dress up as Lord Krishna. Furthermore, Braj Bhoomi, situated in Uttar Pradesh, is a glimpse of the best Janmashtami celebration.
Independence Day is celebrated every year on 15th August. It marks the independence of our country India from the shackles of the Britishers. Moreover, The prime minister of India hoists the national flag at Red Fort, Delhi and thereby sings the national anthem to signify the sacrifice of the freedom fighters. Travliv360 salutes to all the freedom fighters who played their role to be a free India.
It is a ten-day-long festival celebrated to mark the birthday of Lord Ganesha. Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with zeal and cheer. People install the handcrafted Murtis or idols of Ganesha in homes or public pandals. The priest conducts aarti and puja both in the morning and evening. ‘Visarjan’ is the dipping of ‘murti’ in a water body that takes place on the last day. At some places, different cultural activities also take place. Hence, it is one of the best festivals in India.
Onam is an important festival in South India. It celebrates the homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali. Some key attractions of this festival are the spectacular Snake Boat Race ‘Vallamkali’, the Kailkaottikali Dance (clap dance), the Kathakali dance, and the Elephant procession. Houses get adorned with Pookalam (floral decoration), and people wear traditional clothes. Also, it is a tradition of preparing Onasadya, a meal of about 13 dishes served on the banana leaf.
As the name suggests, Navratri means ‘nine days celebration of Garbha and Dandiya nights. People get dressed in colourful traditional Dandiya dresses and Chaniya choli. Gujarat celebrates this festival with a lot of pomp and show. Many people fast during these nine days and have Gujarati cuisines like Potato wafers, Sabudana khichadi, Singhada ki kheer and many more. Moreover, these days of Navratri represent the celebration of Goddess Amba or Durga in nine forms.
Dusshera is also known as Vijayadashami. Initially, Ramlila gets staged for ten days. During the last four days- Lanka Dahan, Meghnath Dahan, Kumbhkaran Dahan and finally, Ravan Dahan takes place. Above all, Dussehra marks the triumph of good over evil. It is celebrated all over the country with a lot of pomp and show. Therefore, we compile it in the list of best festivals of India.
DIWALI: THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Diwali is known as the festival of lights. It is one of the most famous Hindu festivals of India. The festival marks the return of Lord Rama after the exile of 14 years. It is a five-day festival that begins with Dhanteras, Narak Chaudas or Choti Diwali, Diwali, Goverdhan Puja and finally culminates with Bhai Dooj. Also, people dress up in traditional wear, burst crackers, share sweets and attend the family puja. People decorate their homes with lights, candles and diyas.
CHRISTMAS: THE BIRTH OF CHRIST
Christmas commemorates the birthday of Jesus Christ. This festival is celebrated all over the country with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. In addition, People decorate their homes with Christmas trees and depict the birth theme of Jesus. Lights and candles get lit up in the churches. People go to church for special prayer and to attend carnivals. Above all, the states of Goa, Pondicherry and Kerala witness the best Christmas celebration.
There are countless festivals celebrated in India. Moreover, these festivals give you a gist about India’s rich and varied heritage and the religious attitude of the people. I hope this list of the best festivals to celebrate in India will urge you to travel to India and partake in these grand celebrations. If you are an Indian or fond of Indian Culture? Then comment down your list of favourite festivals and the reason behind it.
Thanks for Reading!!!
Story By: Manshi Gupta