India: Land of Festivals and Fairs
India, the land of varied cultures and traditions is a land of festivals and fairs. It is a land of festivity – religious as well as folkloristic. Whether you go to the East or the West, North or the South you ‘would be able to enjoy every month a festival or a fair. Be it cultural or religious, it gives everyone an opportunity to enjoy and join the festivity.
Festival is the time to rejoice and have fun. Many festivals celebrate the various harvests, commemorate great historical figures and events, while much express devotions to the deities of different religions.
Every celebration centres around the rituals of prayer, seeking blessings, exchanging goodwill, decorating houses, wearing new clothes, music, dance and feasting.
In India, every region and every religion has something to celebrate. The festivals reflect the vigour and lifestyle of its people. Vibrant colours, music and festivity make the country come alive throughout the year.
The emphasis laid on the different festivals differs in different parts of the country. For instance, Navaratri is celebrated with maximum fervour in West Bengal as compared to that in other parts of the country. Holi is celebrated with gusto in the north, and although it is also observed in the western and eastern parts of India, in the south it is almost unknown.
There are also a few regional festivals like Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Onam in Kerala and the various other temple festivals devoted to the specific patron Gods and Goddesses of the temples, which are celebrated exclusively in those areas which may be limited to one or a few villages.
The galaxy of festivals that exist does contribute to inter-spicing Indian life with gaiety and colour as also in giving the country the distinction of having the maximum number of holidays. In this chapter, you would find a selection of the major festivals. But there are countless others not included in the list. For further information, please contact the Indian Tourist Office. The Indian calendar is a long procession of festivals; if you can find yourself in the right place at the right time, it is possible to go through your visit with a festival each day.