India is a land that has a multicultural affinity and it is the most culturally diverse Nation on the planet. It is so culturally diverse that the food of North India might be almost alien to the food of South India and the language of Wonder state might not even be understood why its neighboring state. All these cultures come together to form The Wicked spectrum of the fabric of Indian Culture that is best exemplified in a lot of facets including but not limited to food, architecture, art, literature and more importantly, the festivals!
There is never a time in India is not festive exclamation point there are a lot of festivals that are celebrated throughout the vast expanse of the subcontinent that makes the mood of the neighborhood quite vivid and celebrated. However, in all of these, there are a few festivals that stand out from the rest in being the cultural signatures of India. Let us look at a few of these festivals in detail.
It is quite obvious that the list of festivals in India would surely start with Diwali. Diwali literally translates to be in the festival of lights. It is a festival that symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It is the day, according to the Hindu Legend, that Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after killing Ravana. It is also the day when Lord Krishna triumphed over the demon narakasura. To commemorate these kinds of events, the Hindus of India celebrate Diwali, but given the fact that India is culturally inclusive, people of all religions celebrate Diwali with great pomp and show. Diwali celebrations are characterized by the lighting of earthen lamps affectionately called as Deepam or Diya in India. These earthen lamps symbolize the light which again symbolizes the victory of light over darkness.
Indian people light firecrackers during celebrations of Diwali, the festival of lights, in Siliguri on November 11, 2015. Hindus decorate the entrance of their homes and business centers with marigold flowers, banyan trees, and light firecrackers during the Diwali festival which marks the victory of good over evil and commemorates the time when Hindu God Lord Rama achieved victory over Ravana. While The Spiritual path of Diwali might be symbolized by the earthen lamps, the celebration part of Diwali is trumpeted loved and right by the crackers. You can hear the sound of the bursting of crackers right from the morning of Diwali, and sometimes even days before! The evening of the Diwali is when most of the Metropolitan cities have quite a bit Skyline! Diwali also includes practices that show Brotherhood and togetherness. People cook traditional snacks in their homes and distributed to their loved ones and neighbors.
This festival might be celebrated as Makar Sankranti throughout India. However, in Tamil Nadu, this festival has a very special connotation. In Tamilnadu, this festival is celebrated as Pongal and is also designated as ulavar thirunal, which literally translates to the holy day of the farmer. This is the day when agriculture, which is the main occupation in the state of Tamilnadu, is given a lot of respect. It is not about just this job but also about the minor elements that make this possible! There is a day that is dedicated to the discarding of the old and welcoming of the new which is designated as Bhogi. There is another day that is dedicated to giving thanks to the Sun god for making the crops grow so well. This day is the Surya Pongal. The third day of Pongal is dedicated to giving thanks to the cows and the bulls that make the flowing of fields and the milk yielding possible. The last day is very special and is called the kaanum Pongal which is dedicated to local sightseeing. The beaches of Chennai and the zoo at Vandalur can be seen at its big best crowd on this particular day!
Dussehra false about 20 days before Diwali and this festival might not be as magnificent and pompous as Diwali is. However, there are two places in the Indian subcontinent where Dussehra is celebrated with a bigger than Diwali. One is Mysore where it stands as a day when the Maharaja Wodeyar of Mysore will show his greatness and Granites in a grand procession that happens on the streets. The streets have some activity or the other that happened on this particular day which could range from roadside shops to park-like activities. People from all over the world drop into Mysore to experience the extravaganza of Dussehra.
The other place obviously, has to be Kolkata. Kolkata might not know Dussehra as a festival but they surely know Durga Puja which falls on the same day. The Durga Puja in Kolkata is so famous that the streets of Kolkata bear are very festive mood and the drink that is made of marijuana called Bhang is distributed to all the people around.
Special mention has to be made about the town called Chengalpattu near Chennai where again Dussehra is celebrated as a bigger festival than Diwali.
Ganesh Chaturthi commemorates the birthday of Lord Ganesha or Vinayaka or Pillayar, however, he is known in the localities of India. This might not be a great festival to honor but is surely a great festival to celebrate. The Chand Ganpati Bappa Morya Echoes all through the streets of all the Metropolitan cities and the pujas are held with this particular happening as a reason. In addition to that, the immersion ceremony that happens 6 days after is a Grand Affair and the procession that happened through the streets are the main attractions for the youth of the area in partaking in religious activities.
India has a lot of other celebrations that can be given a national status in addition to the celebrations of the Independence Day, the Republic Day and the Gandhi Jayanti. However, it is these religious festivals that make India a vibrant cultural fabric. Next time you are on a package tour to India, make sure that you include these festivals as a part of your experience!