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India is well known all over the world as a country of cultural and traditional festivals as it has many cultures and religions. One can enjoy the festival celebration in India every month. As it is a secular country full of diversity in the religions, languages, cultures and castes, it is always crowded with the people involved in the fairs and festivals celebration. People from each religion have their own cultural and traditional festivals. Each and every festival is celebrated uniquely in different ways according to the rituals, beliefs and its significant history behind. Each festival has its own history, legend and significance of celebration. Indian origin people in the abroad also celebrate their cultural festival with the immense passion. The mains Festivals of India are:
HOLI : It is One of the major festivals of India, Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar.
Entire country wears a festive look when it is time for Holi celebration. Market places get abuzz with activity as frenzied shoppers start making preparations for the festival. Great excitement can be seen in people on the next day when it is actually the time for the play of colours. Shops and offices remain closed for the day and people get all the time to get crazy and whacky. Bright colours of gulal and abeer fill the air and people take turns in pouring colour water over each other. Children take special delight in spraying colours on one another with their pichkaris and throwing water balloons and passers by. Women and senior citizen form groups called tolis and move in colonies - applying colours and exchanging greetings. Songs, dance on the rhythm of dholak and mouthwatering Holi delicacies are the other highlights of the day.
Diwali : "Diwali", the festival of lights, illuminates the darkness of the New Year's moon, and strengthens our close friendships and knowledge, with a self-realization.
Diwali is celebrated on a nation-wide scale on 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month (October/November) every year. It symbolizes that age-old culture of India which teaches to vanquish ignorance that subdues humanity and to drive away darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. Diwali, the festival of lights even to-day in this modern world projects the rich and glorious past of India.
Every year on the dark nights of Diwali the sound of firecrackers announces the celebration of the favorite festival of Indians. Homes are decorated, sweets are distributed by everyone and thousands of lamps are lit to create a world of fantasy. Of all the festivals celebrated in India, Diwali is by far the most glamorous and important. Enthusiastically enjoyed by people of every religion, its magical and radiant touch creates an atmosphere of joy and festivity.
On the day of Diwali festival, doorways are hung with torans of mango leaves and marigolds. Rangolis are drawn with different colored powders to welcome guests. The traditional motifs are often linked with auspicious symbols of good luck. Oil diyas are arranged in and around the house. Because of these flickering lamps, the festival has acquired its name : Dipawali or Diwali meaning 'a rows of lamps'. On this day, people buy something for the house or some jewelry for the women of the house. It is auspicious to be buy something metallic, such as silver.
Whatever may be the fables and legends behind the celebrations of Diwali, all people exchange sweets, wear new clothes and buy jewelry at this festive time.
DEV DEEPAVALI: Dev Diwali or Dev Deepawali is the ‘Festival of Lights, of the Gods’ or ‘Diwali celebration of the Devas or Devtas or Gods’.
It is observed on the full moon day (Purnima) in the month of Kartik, as per the traditional Hindu calendar. It is also called as Kartik Purnima / Poonam and Tripurari Purnima.
Dev Diwali is celebrated to honour the victory of Lord Shiva over the demon named ‘Tripurasur’. For this reason, this festival is also known as ‘Tripurotsav’. It also coincides with the Jain light festival and Guru Nanak Jayanti.
To mark the occasion and also to showcase the cultural heritage of Varanasi, the Uttar Pradesh Tourism department organizes a four-day Ganga Mahotsav around this period. A large number of Hindu devotees start assembling from the day of the Prabodhini Ekadasi (the eleventh day of the fortnight) itself. The official celebration is usually held on the Dasaswamedh Ghat. On the occasion of the Ganga Mahotsava, reputed artists and performers from all over the country come and perform, making the celebrations more eventful.
On the eve of Kartik Purnima, the number of pilgrims begins to increase manifolds and most of the pilgrims camp by the riverside. In the evening, pilgrims and local people decorate the entire riverbank with tiny earthen lamps ('Diya'). These lamps are lit as a mark of welcome to the Gods as they descend on earth. The little sparks of fire flicker elegantly and is a wonderful sight to watch. The 'Ganga-Aarti' is an important event in the evening. Almost all Ghats organize their own ceremony. Huge lamps are set ablaze and the priest holds forth the lamp as the multitude chants the hymns.
Pushkar Camel Fair: Pushkar Mela, conducted in a town called Pushkar in Rajasthan over a period of five days, is the largest camel and livestock fair in the country. With around 50,000 camels being gathered in one place, this is the largest camel fair in the world. These animals are brought together to be bought and sold as well as exhibited. Although livestock trading is one of the primary purposes of this fare, religious pilgrimage is the other. Moreover, since the tourist value of this fair is really high, Rajasthani, as well as Gujarati traders (who come into town explicitly for this festival), bring with them a variety of items such as paintings, clothes, jewelry, shoes etc. to be sold at the fair.
Today, thousands of devotees make their way to Pushkar from across the globe to participate in the festivities as well as observe their religious customs. While some tourists also observe the religious customs, others throng to this fair for the unique, Indian experience.
The costumes worn by the traders as well as other locals who visit the fair are Rajasthani interspersed with Gujarati. Women from both states wear a skirt known as the lehenga or the ghaghra (depending upon its length) along with an odhni which is a long, rectangular piece of cloth that is draped over the head and a top that is known as the choli. Men from both states usually wear a dhoti which is a long piece of cloth draped around the waist with gathers that fall around the legs, accompanied by a long or short jacket or kurta. However, there are subtle differences in the cuts and styling of these outfits as well as the embroidery done on them. There are slight but distinct differences in the accessories as well.
Gangaur Festival: Every year around March end and beginning of April the city of Udaipur goes in festival mode for a long span of 18 days to welcome spring season in its own unique way. As soon as the celebration of Holi gets over across the country, this festival begins in full swing across the city.
Gangaur festival is an occasion where the people, especially women assemble to offer prayers to goddess Gauri for a better and happier life. Newlywed couples as well as matured unmarried girls fast for 18 days in order to get a bliss full married life. On the last day of the festival women dressed in exclusively bright clothes coupled with glorious ornaments glittering to their very best march toward the famous Gangaur ghat of Udaipur carrying the clay idols in their head. People distribute Ghewar, a popular Rajasthani sweet item among friends, relatives, neighbours and close ones.
On the last day during the procession various devotional songs in local languages are sung by women describing Goddess Gauri’s departure to her husband’s place. The Gangaur ghat is decorated like a princess prior this event and the lovely view of the ghat drenched in color is a treat to the eyes. Over the years this unique Rajasthani festival has gained immense attention from people all over the country. Even the foreign tourists who come to witness this festival takes back with them some unforgettable memories to cherish.
The origin of this festival dates back to the ages of kings and warriors. Over the centuries this festival has been celebrated by various generations in the same enthusiasm and energy. If you are planning to visit rajasthan during this time of the year do make sure that you attend the festival at least for a day. The vibrant color, the melodious folk songs and enchanting dances, the traditions and the devotion of people are worth seeing.