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Home :: Fairs & Festivals of India

Fairs & Festivals of India

HoliThe ancient tradition of celebrating festivals goes back to the Vedic times of the Aryans. Ancient Indians used to express these occasions through the words SAMAJA (a gathering of people), UTSAVA (a festival) and YATRA (a pilgrimage or temple chariot procession). And today we use the word MELA (meaning a fair) rather than a SAMAJA. The Vedic scriptures and literature give many references to festivals when celebrations were carried on to honor gods, rivers, trees, mountains, the coming of monsoons, the end of winter or the first flush of spring. The celebrations not only include fasting & prayers, but also equally events of social & cultural significance, Performances of music, dance and drama took place side by side with more rugged physical activities. Even today, festivals are symbolic of a link between the home, the villages and a larger outside world. Colour, contribution, enthusiasm, prayers and rituals are the characteristics of the Festivals of India. The travellers are attracted to the scale and elaboration of the merrymaking that populate the cultural scene of the country. The various festivals in the country can be categorized on the national, regional, local, religious, seasonal and social grounds. The popularity of Indian fairs and festivals are spread far and wide and attract a large number of foreign tourists.
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The Indian Festivals
Makar Sankranti, Return of the Sun to the North - This is the time of the year when the Sun enters Capricorn in the month of Magha (January-February). It's a time of great festivities throughout the nation with people taking a dip in the holy rivers and seas. In Gujarat particularly, it is the time to witness and extravaganza of Kite flying in what has become an International Kite Festival.

Pongal -mainly held in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. A 3-days colourful Tamil harvest festival.

Shiva Ratri, the Great Night of Shiva -Jubilated on the new moon night in the month of Phalguna (February-March), this Hindu festival is committed to Lord Shiva.

Holi, The festival of colors -the most lively of all Hindu festivals, which falls on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun (March) according to the Hindu calendar. It heralds the end of the winter and the beginning of the spring and marks the rekindling of the spirit of life. This festival is also associated with legends of Lord Krishna.

Ramanavami, the Birth of Lord Rama -This Hindu festival goes on for nine days where it is celebrated in the bright fortnight in the month of Chaitra (March-April) and commemorates the birth of Lord Rama who took birth to annihilate the demon King Ravana.

Kumbha MelaKumbha Mela -the oldest and most important of the Hindu festivals. It takes place every three years, at one of the four great holy cities - Nasik (Maharashtra), Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), Prayag or Allahabad and Haridwar (both in Uttar Pradesh). It is attended by millions of pilgrims who take a holy dip in the holy rivers.

Hanuman Jayanti, the Birth of Lord Hanuman, the Monkey God - celebrates the birth of the monkey god, Hanuman, during Chaitra (March-April).

Baisakhi -celebrated mostly in North India, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, this marks the Hindu Solar New Year.

Pooram -celebrated in Trichur, in the State of Kerala, it marks the New Moon. The main feature of the festival is the spectacular sight of large number of elephants carrying ceremonial umbrellas going round the temple and the midnight fireworks display.

Id-ul-Zuha - or Bakr-id -is a Muslim festival celebrated on a National level. It commemorates the martyrdom of Abraham and is marked by the sacrifice of lambs.
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Id-ul-Fitr -is a Muslim festival that marks the end of the month of Ramzan, a month long period of fasting.

Raksha Bandhan -is celebrated mostly in North and West India. It's a legendary reenactment of sisters tying colourful 'rakhis' (bracelets or talisman) on their brother's wrists.

Krishna Janmashtami, the Birth of Lord Krishna -Krishna Janmashtami falls during the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadra (August-September) and is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Krishna to bring an end to the injustice of Kansa.

Ganesha UtsavGanesha Utsav -This is a ten-day festival, jubilated during the bright half of Bhadrapad (August - September), celebrates the birth of Ganesha.

Dussehra( Vijay Dashmi), the trimph of good over evil - falling on the last day of Navaratri or Durga puja arrives in the month of October. Dussehra literally means that which takes away ten sins. This Hindu festival is celebrated all over India to mark the defeat of Ravana by Lord Rama. Dussehra symbolises the triumph of good over evil. The 'Ramlila' - an enactment of the life of Lord Rama, is held during the nine days preceding Dussehra. On the tenth day, larger than life effigies of Ravana, his son and brother -Meghnath and Kumbhakarna, are set alight.

Durga Puja, The Victory of Good over Evil -Celebrated in the month of Ashvina (September-October) in the state of West Bengal, Durga Puja is a nine-day festival (of which five days from Sashthi to Dashami are the most celebrate one in West Bengal) of the Hindus. It highlights the winning of Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura after a long battle, bringing forth the victory of good over evil.

Diwali, the Festival of Lights -This is one of the oldest and the most important Hindu festivals falling in the month of Kartik (October-November), which celebrates the return of Rama to Ayodhya after an exile of 14 years. Diwali or Deepawali also marks the beginning of the New Year and is celebrated with the lighting of lamps, burning of crackers.
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Guru Nanak Jayanti -Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh faith, was born in the month of Kartik (October/November), and his birthday is known as Guru Nanak Jayanti. He was born in 1469 A.D. at Tolevandi some 30 miles from Lahore. The anniversaries of Sikh Guru’s are known as Gurupurabs (festivals) and are celebrated with devotion and dedication.

Christmas, the Birth Anniversary of Jesus Christ -The most important and the most rejoiced festival of Christians is Christmas celebrated on the 25th of December. The festival marks the birth of lord Jesus and is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the country.

The National Holidays
Republic Day -Every year, a grand Republic day parade is held in New Delhi, India's capital city to observe the anniversary of the Indian Republic. This is the National Holiday. The Government of India spends a lot of energy and resources to put up a good show and the various government agencies spend the several months planning for the event.

Independence Day -Celebrated on 15th August every year marks the day when India got her Independence. It's marked by celebrations throughout the country. In Delhi the Prime Minister delivers his annual address to the nation at the historic Red Fort.

Gandhi Jayanti -This is a National holiday that marks the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation.


Some of the fairs of India are as mentioned below :

» Goa Carnival Festival
» Pushkar Festival
» Desert Festival of Jaisalmer
» Hemis Festival of Ladakh
» Ladakh Festival
» Khajuraho Festival of Dances
» Elephant Festival
» Gangaur Festival
» Jagannath Rath Yatra
» Sonepur Cattle Fair



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