Secrets About Festivals Celebrated In India
The list of top 20 festivals celebrated in India given on this Blog has been created after a long analysis of the traffic received during the last couple of years of Hindu festivals. Being a highly spiritual country (India), festivals are at the heart of people’s lives in India. Don’t miss these popular festivals in India for an unforgettable experience and unique way of seeing Indian culture at its best.
To give you a clear and fair idea about all the top 20 festivals celebrated in India in 2019, here is a quick list of the famous festivals of India. Before you begin, here is a piece of information that is essential for you!
- Makar Sankranti – 14th Jan (Monday)
- Pongal – Begins on 15th January (Sunday)
- Maha Shivratri – 4th March (Monday)
- Holi – 21st March (Thursday)
- Bihu – Begins on 13th April (Saturday)
- Baisakhi – 14th April (Sunday)
- Easter – 21st April (Sunday)
- Eid Ul Fitr – 5th June (Wednesday)
- Ratha-Yatra – 4 July (Thursday)
- Hemis – Begins on 11th July (Saturday)
- Rakshabandhan – 15th August (Thursday)
- Janmashtami – 24th August (Saturday)
- Onam – Begins on 1st September (Sunday)
- Ganesh Chaturthi – 2nd September (Monday)
- Navratri – From 29th September to 7th October (Monday)
- Durga Puja – 7th October (Monday)
- Dussehra – 8th October (Tuesday)
- Diwali – 27th October (Sunday)
- Gurupurab – 12th November (Tuesday)
- Christmas – 25th December (Wednesday)
The widely religious festivals celebrated in India
India is a country of 29 states and 7 union territories where a different type of religious followers (Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs, Jain and others) lives together with a vast cultural heritage.
1 Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti is a festival, famous for its sesame sweets and kite flying. This day is the real new year of North Indians and Sikhs which is celebrated just one day after Lohri. Makar Sankranti is also known as “The Harvest Festival” because this is the time when harvesting is complete and there are big celebrations. The animals in farms play a huge role in harvesting, so the day is for them and is called “Mattu Pongal”. The 1st day is for the Earth, the 2nd day is for us and the third is for the animals.
Significance: Beginning of the agricultural cycle.
Key attractions: Kite flying
Pongal is a harvest festival of South India specially dedicated to the Sun. This is a four-day long harvest festival of South-India is one of the famous festivals of India. People prepare special Pongal dish and wear their traditional attire.
Significance: It’s a festival of thanksgiving to the Sun and Mother Nature. It’s representing the first harvest of the year.
Key attractions: Cattle races, and the variety of Kolam designs
3 Maha Shivratri
Maha Shivaratri a Hindu festival celebrated annually and this Indian festival holds great reverence among the devotees of Lord Shiva. This festival is specially dedicated to Lord Shiva. This festival has a huge significance in Hindu mythology celebrated on the 14th day of the month of March (Phalgun).
Significance: Maha Shivaratri is a festival of devotion to Lord Shiva.
Key attractions: Worshipping of Lord Shiva, Fasting and bhang thandai.
Holi, often referred to as the “Festival of Colors” and a symbol of the triumph of good over evil, This year, the festival of colors will be celebrated on March 20 and March 21. Holi is Celebrated every year, on the day of Purnima (the full moon), in the month of Falgun over two consecutive days. The first day of Holi is known as ( Chhoti Holi ) or Holika Dahan and the second as Rangwali Holi. This year, this festival of colors will be celebrated on 20th and 21st March.
Significance: its symbol of the victory of good (Prince Prahlad) over evil (Holika) and the arrival of spring.
Key attractions: Playing with colors and water, Holika bonfire, and bhang thandai
Bihu is the national festival in the Assam a far North-Eastern state of India. Bihu, this Assamese festival occurs more than once a year. This mainly three different festivals (Rongali Bihu, Kaati Bihu, and Magh Bihu) and they always associated with farming.
Rongali Bihu or (Bohag Bihu) is the festival that refers to the Assamese New Year (April 14th of every year), which is the advent of seeding time. Rongali Bihu is celebrated over several days. At this time the Assam valley becomes colorful, vibrant, and the air is filled with the sweet fragrance of exotic spring flowers.
Kaati Bihu or Kongaali Bihu (mid-October) coincides with autumnal ‘equinox’. The Kaati Bihu marks the completion of the sowing season. At this time fields now become lush green. Saki (earthen lamps) is lighted and prayers are offered so that farmers are ensured a high-quality crop. Saki is also lighted around the base of the Tulsi (sweet smelling plant) in the courtyard of every household.
Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu mainly a thanks-giving Bihu (mid-January), is derived from the word ‘Bhog’ meaning ‘eating’. Magh Bihu marks the end of the harvesting period, when crops are harvested, fields are empty and Bhorals (barns) are full.
Bihu Significance: It’s the traditional New Year celebration of Assamese.
Key attractions: The Bihu dance and the local snacks – called ‘Pithas’ such as Til, Ghila, Sunga, Monda, Tekeli Pithas and Larios (different kind of snack made out of rice flour, coconut, molasses or sugar).
6 Baisakhi (Vaisakhi)
Baisakhi ranks among the popular festivals in India and it’s a famous festival in the state of Punjab. Baisakhi is a festival celebrated with huge fanfare and excitement by the Sikh community of Punjab and those around the world. Baisakhi is a festival for welcoming of the harvest season for the rabi crops. Baisakhi happens on the lucky day when the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, founded the Khalsa Panth in 1699.
Baisakhi in Punjab is held every year, the time of the festival falls on April 13 or April 14 as per the Indian solar calendar. People celebrate Baisakhi all over Punjab by going to Gurudwaras and distributing Prasad ‘Kadaa‘ among family members, friends, and relatives.
Significance: Welcoming the harvest season
Key attractions: Punjabi feasts, Folk dance like Bhangra and Giddha, decorations in houses and Gurudwaras
Easter is a festival celebrated by Christian’s community to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with much fervor and great religious solemnization in different parts of the country. The date of Easter is not fixed. This festival celebrated on the first Sunday of a full moon day after March 21. It is a holy festival which is celebrated by churches around the globe. People are involved in charitable causes on this day often and sing happy prayers in the church.
Significance: Resurrection of Lord Jesus
Key attractions: Easter eggs, cakes, chocolates, Folk songs, and dance, street decorations
8 Eid al-Fitr
The Eid al-Fitr, “The Festival of Fast-Breaking” is an important religious festival celebrated by all Muslims around the world that marks the end of Ramadan (Ramzan), the Islamic holy month of fasting, charity, compassion, and reflection. It is one of the major festivals of India for the Muslim community. Eid al-Fitr reminds all of us to maintain the spirit and lessons of Ramadan throughout the year. As you spend this special holiday with loved ones, I wish you peace and prosperity in the coming year. Eid Mubarak.
Significance: It celebrates the conclusion of the holy month of fasting called (Ramzan), Ramadan.
Key attractions: The beautifully decked up markets and mosques, the morning Eid namaz at the mosques, and the sweet dishes.
Rath yatra also referred to as Chariot festival celebrated annually in Jagannath Puri, the state of Orissa where Lord Jagannath along with his sister Subhadra and elder brother Baladeva paraded throughout the streets of the city. Ratha Yatra is a major Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath and celebrated every year in the month of July with great excitement and enjoyment all over the beach city.
The Puri Rath Yatra is world famous and attracts millions of pilgrims every year, not only from India but also from the different parts of the world. Rath Yatra, in other words, the Chariot Festival is a symbol of equality and integration.
Significance: This festival is celebrated to commemorate Lord Jagannath’s visit to Gundicha Temple through Mausi Maa Temple in Puri.
Key attractions: deities are decorated with gold, puja, and festivities in the temples and the road.
Hemis also spelled Hamis, a village in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Hemis is the two-day religious festival from Ladakh, is one of the most important festivals of India. It is also known for the “Hemis Monastery” that was established in 1672 AD. Hemis attracts a lot of locals and foreign tourists each year. The festivities include the most unique types of a festival where the dancing priests dress up in elaborate brocade outfits and masks.
Significance: It’s the celebration of the birth anniversary of spiritual leader Padmasambhava, founder of Tibet Tantric Buddhism.
Key attractions: The scenic Hemis monastery and the Cham dance done by the priests
11 Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan, “Rakshabandhan”, is a popular, traditionally Hindu, famous festivals of India. Rakhi is celebrated among Hindu. Raksha Bandhan Signifying the love bonding between brother-sister. During Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi), sister performs Aarti (prayer), applies tilak, and ties a rakhi (a sacred thread) on the brother’s wrist wishing his well being.
The brother, in return, promises to protect the sister. The festival is made up of two words, “Raksha” and “Bandhan.” As per the Sanskrit terminology, Rakshabandhan means “the tie or knot of protection” where “Raksha” stands for the protection and “Bandhan” signifies the verb to tie.
Significance: This festival symbolizes the eternal love of brother-sister relationship
Key attractions: The brightly decked up markets showcasing a colorful variety of rakhis and sweets and the ritual of Rakhi.
12 Janmashtami (Govinda)
Krishna Janmashtami, also known as “Govinda”, and the entire world celebrates the divine appearance of Lord Sri Krishna with much fervor. On the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami, devotees visit temples to offer prayers and bhog to their beloved deity. People mostly prepare kasar (panjiri mixed with dry fruits and nuts), kheer, poori, chhole and enjoy the festival with the family. The celebration of Janmashtami takes place at midnight as Sri Krishna is believed to be born in a prison.
Significance: It is the annual celebration on the occasion of the birthday of Lord Krishna.
Key attractions: Janmashtami fast, puja and festivities in the temples and the road ‘jhaankis’ of Lord Krishna.
Onam is an important holiday and festival with origins in the state of Kerala in India. This festival is celebrated in memory of the golden era of King Mahabali. On this occasion, people adorn houses with Pookalam (floral designs), wear traditional wear, and prepare Onasadya (elaborate meal of about 13 dishes).
Significance: It celebrates in memory of the legendary king Mahabali.
Key attractions: The enigmatic Kaikottikali dance, the spectacular Snake Boat Race, and the Elephant procession.
14 Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesha Chaturthi is a ten-day long festival celebrated with great passion and devotion to honor God Ganesha’s birthday. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is one of the most awaited festivals in Mumbai. As per Hindu calendar, this auspicious festival is celebrated on Chaturthi (fourth day) of Bhadrapad (between August and September).
Significance: It’s celebrated on the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God.
Key attractions: The immersion ceremony of beautifully crafted life size idols of Ganesha.
Navaratri is nine holy nights and worshipping nine different aspects of Goddess Durga. This festival celebrated by all people throughout India in different ways every year. Navratri festival is celebrated twice a year with extreme passion and fervor, though the one that is celebrated in September or October is well-known and celebrated. In Gujarat, it is a nine-day celebration of Garba nights and highly energetic Dandiya Raas dances.
Significance: It is dedicated to nine forms of Goddess Durga.
Key attractions: The nine holy nights and worshipping nine different aspects of Goddess Durga, observing fast, eating festive food, singing bhajans.
16 Durga Puja
Durga Puja, also called “Durgotsava”, is one of the important Hindu festivals of India. Durga Puja is celebrated during September or October by Bengalis, throughout the country. It is particularly popular in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Bangladesh and in Nepal where it is called “Dashain”. The 10 days of fast, and worship of Goddess Durga are accompanied by cultural songs, dances, and dramas.
Significance: It is a celebration of 10 days of fast, and worship of Goddess Durga.
Key attractions: Incredibly beautiful ten armed Durga idols, Plush pandals, and the puja
Dasahara is also known as “Vijayadashami” is the most famous major Hindu festival celebrated at the end of Navratri every year. Ramlila is held everywhere for 10 days. Dussehra is commemorated as the day Lord Ram defeats Ravana. After kidnapping Sita from the forests, Lord Ram along with Hanuman travel across states to rescue the Goddess from the clutches of the evil rules.
After emerging victorious, this day is celebrated across the nation with large Ravana effigies constructed that are eventually destroyed with a bow and arrow, exactly how Lord Ram defeated Ravana “The King of Lanka”.
Significance: This Festival celebrates the death of the demon king Ravana at the hands of Lord Rama.Key attractions: Ram-Leela acts, Hustle bustle of the decorated markets, and the big event of the burning of effigies of Ravana, Meghnath, and Kumbhkaran
Diwali, or “Deepavali” is also known as “The festival of lights”, which is one of the most prominent and biggest Hindu festivals of India. During this festival, houses are decorated with countless candles, clay lamps, firecrackers are set and gifts and sweets are shared. If there is a time to experience India, it’s time during Diwali.
Diwali is also linked to the celebration of Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and wife of Lord Vishnu. In fact, this part of the celebrations is so important that many businesses, as it’s believed the goddess will help people make a fortune
Significance: The festival marks Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana and returns of Lord Rama, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, after a long exile of 14 years.
Key attractions: Homes decorated with fancy lights, countless candles and clay lamps (diyas), and fireworks and cracker.
Gurpurab, also known as “Gurpurab” or “Guru Nanak Jayanti”, celebrates not only in India but across the globe. This day holds a great significance among Punjabis, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was the first Sikh Guru and founder of Sikhism. People light up their homes with lamps and countless candles and burst firecrackers to celebrate Gurpurab.
Significance: It is the celebration of the anniversaries of the ten Sikh Gurus Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Key attractions: Gurbani in the Gurdwaras, The soulful Bhajan-Kirtan, the Langar and the Karah Prasad
20 Christmas Day
One of the most famous and awaited festivals in the world, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is an annual festival and happens to be of sheer significance for elders and children alike. All the churches and homes are lit up and decorated to celebrate the birth of Lord Jesus. Children wait for this day specifically for the surprise gifts from Santa.
Significance: Commemoration of the birthday of Lord Jesus.
Key attractions: Christmas tree decoration, Gift-giving, prayers, social gatherings, etc.
Hope the above list of Festivals help you. Celebrate the festival with fun but take good care and don’t cause any damage to anyone’s sentiments. Wishing all of you in advance.