Festivals are very important aspect of the cultural ethos of a diverse country like India. Each festival has an unique form of celebration , and the diversity is compounded as each festival is celebrated in an a unique fashion by the different communities. Because of the rich diversity, festivals are known by different names in different region. Here are some of the more widely celebrated festivals. For a more detailed look into the various festivals of India, please click here.
Diwali: Deepawali, also called Divali, is the Festival of Lights. Deepawali is the occasion of joy and is celebrated with great pomp throughout India and the Hindu world. The legends of that go with the festival are different in different parts of India. Even though, Deepawali is a festival that lasts 5 days people start preparing for Diwali weeks ahead by cleaning and decorating their households. It is also the beginning of the new financial year for the business community.
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Holi: The full-moon day in February-March is celebrated as Holi, the festival of colors. Holi also welcomes the spring and the harvest season. There are a number of legends that sorround Holi. The festival is one of unrestricted joy and celebrated with dancing, singing, and throwing of powder paint and coloured water. To read more about Holi please click here.
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The festival has a two parts to the celebration. At night bonfires are lit and some grains burnt as an offering to the fire. The next day, people of all ages go into the streets for fun and paint-throwing. Special food and sweets are prepared during the day. However, over the years the celebration of Holi has taken an ugly turn with people forcing themselves and the festivities even on those who do not wish to partake. Unfortunately the celebration has become an excuse for harassment.
Dusehra: Dussera or Vijayadashami, is the anniversary of the victory of Goddess Durga over the buffalo-headed demon, Mahishasure. The festival also commemorates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana of Lanka. The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. It is also during Dusehra that people engage in the Ramlila, a play of the epic Ramayana. The play narrates the acts and deeds of the Lord Ram. To read more about the Ramlila please click here.
In Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, families arrange dolls (Bommai Kolu) and arte facts with decorative displays of lamps and flower. Women traditionally exchange gifts of coconuts, clothes and sweets. For more details on Dusehra please click here.
Kumbha Mela: Kumbha Mela is the biggest congregation of humans in the world. It takes places at the banks of the “Sangam