Top 40+ Festivals Of India
Diwali or Deepawali
It is more commonly known as the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated by all Hindu sects across the country and abroad. It falls on the auspicious day of the ‘new moon’ or Amavasya in the month of Karthik that usually falls in October or November. There are several Hindu clerics who call it ‘Krishna Chaturdashi’. The ritualistic cleansing of the house or place of business and lightening them up is a way of celebrating the festival. Furthermore, people purchase new clothing and exchange gifts on the day.
There are several auspicious days that mark the coming of Diwali, i.e. the day before the festival is called Naraka Chaturdasi. This marks the win of Lord Krishna over the demon Naraka. The next day is the big day of Diwali or the day of Lakshmi Puja . This day is holy for two reasons: it is the day when Lord Rama came back to Ayodhya from his fourteen-year long exile to the forest. It signifies the victory of light over darkness.
During the Puja in the evening, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped, as she is the harbinger of wealth. This is to signify the emergence of Lakshmi from the sea during Picture of Goddess Lakshmi the ‘Samudra Manthan’. According to this myth, during the war between the demons and Gods, the oceans churned out several holy objects and Goddess Lakshmi was one of them. In Bengal, Goddess Kali is worshipped, as she is the patron Goddess for most of the Hindus living in this region.
Most households light up their houses during the festival. The day of Diwali is also known for the Chopad Puja as Lord Krishna preached the Karma Yoga to Arjuna in the battlefield in Kurukshetra. According to the Jain philosophy, this was also the day when Mahavira attained Nirvana.
This festival falls 15 days before Diwali and is related to the harvest season. It falls on the full moon night called the Navanna Purnima. The unique point about this festival is that people drink saffron coloured milk during the moonlit night and this ritual is called Kojagiri In some parts of India, this ritual is attached to the Goddess Durga. The idol of the Goddess is taken around the premises of the temple in a torch-lit procession called Chhabina.
It is called the ‘Festival of Colours’ and is celebrated across the nation with colour and vigour. It defines the culture of India and is celebrated by people from various religions and communities. The festival is celebrated in the month of Phalgun and falls during end of February and early March. It also marks the beginning of spring and the end of winter. It is celebrated on two days, Chhoti (small) Holi and ‘Rang’ or the Day of colour. According to the legend, the Chhoti Holi is also called ‘Holika Dahan’ or the day of burning demoness ‘Holika’. This burning signifies the win of good over evil and represents the burning of Holika and saving of Bhakt Prahlad.
Another legend attached to the main day of Holi is of the eternal love of Lord Krishna and Radha. The colours and festivity are representative of the ‘God of Love’ or Kama. Most people use ‘gulal or colour and water to play with each other. Now-a-days, people use chemical colours that cause skin diseases and are harmful for the eyes.
Holi has different versions in different parts of the country, for example, in Vrindavan and Mathura, Lathmar Holi is celebrated in which the women of the families come out and beat their men with sticks. It is done in a playful manner and is accompanied with lots of gaiety. It is called Rangapanchami in many parts of rural Maharashtra.
In West Bengal and parts of Assam it is called Basant Utsav or Dhol Jatra. Some people also indulge in Bhang or thandai which are Holi made of marijuana or a particular type of weed. In the evening after playing with colours, people dress up and visit friends and family
It is a festival dedicated to the Sun God, who is also considered to be the king of all planets. Makar Sankranti celebrates the movement of the Sun to the northern hemisphere. The words are also a mix of two Sanskrit words: Makar- Capricorn and Sankranti-transition. The festival is also bound to the agricultural cycle followed by most rural agriculture based communities. It is celebrated as a form of thanks giving to the Mother Nature for a good crop that brings prosperity and well-being to the community.
During this period, the holy day of Uttarayan is also observed in many parts of the country. It marks the end of winter as the days become longer and the nights become shorter. Many worshippers also take a trip to Ganga Sagar and Prayag to take a dip in the holy water. In some parts of the country, this day is considered auspicious for the buying of cattle and hence Cattle/Bullock fairs are conducted in many part of the country.
Usually, the festival of Makar Sankranti falls on 14th of January. Although the festival is related to harvesting, it is also celebrated across the country as a kite-flying festival.
It is the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna and is celebrated across the nation by the Hindu community. It falls in the month of Shravan (July/August) and the date is calculated according to the lunar calendar and the position of the moon. The festival is marked by the performance of Ras Leela or the playful acts of Radha-Krishna. Several Krishna Leelas are also performed, which depict the childhood and adolescence escapades of Lord Krishna.
In Dwarka, which is one of the major Dhams or religious places for the Hindus dedicated to Lord Krishna, this day is celebrated with lots of programmes and many people make pilgrimage to this town in Gujarat. Similar celebrations are seen in Mathura and Vrindavan which are associated with the birthplace of Lord Krishna.
In Maharashtra, this festival is called Dahi-handi and is celebrated by an elaborate manner. Each locality collects money and a matki (earthen vessel to hold water/ milk) is hung several feet in the air. Young men gather and make a human ladder and try to break the matki, that is representative of Lord Krishna breaking a matki to get butter. There is considerable monetary award attached to the breaking of the pot.
Dussehra is also known as Vijaydashami’ and is celebrated all over India in the honour of Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana. Before the culmination of the festival, Hindu in north India keep fast for nine days, which is called ‘Navratri‘. It is on the tenth day that the festival of Vijay-Dashmi or the Victory on the tenth day, is celebrated. The unique point about the Dussehra celebrations is the burning of the effigies of Ravana and his son Megha brother Kumbhkaran.
Usually, a child or a young boy is made to dress as Lord Rama and he points the arrows in the effigies which signify the act of Rama killing Ravana. In such public gatherings, version of ‘Ram-lila’ or Story of Lord Rama is also showcased to the public. It takes an episode from the life of Lord Rama as depicted in the Ramayana and they are shown to the enrapt public, Some major scenes are ‘Lanka Dahan’ or the Battle in Lanka and the Dialogue between Gods and Lord Rama. Fairs or ‘Melas’ are organised in all cities and towns in India.
In other parts of India, like Mysore, it is celebrated with great enthusiasm at the Chamundi Temple. In other southern states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Bommai Kulu (dolls), lamps and flowers are used to create elaborate decorations and these are preserved for a while after the ceremony is over. In the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh, the villagers perform the ritualistic ‘Natti Dance’ for nine days after worshipping Lord Raghunath (another name for Rama).
This festival is celebrated in honour of the birth anniversary of Lord Rama. The festival falls in the month of March/April or Chaitra. The festival is celebrated all over the country but the two special areas of celebration are in Ayodhya and Puducherry, as they are closely related to the story of Lord Rama. Thousands of pilgrims congregate to the Ram Janambhoomi/ Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and pay pilgrimage to the alleged birthplace of Lord Rama. In Puducherry, the Kanaka Bhawan Temple is the centre of all the rituals and celebrations on this auspicious day.
The festival of Dussehra has similarities to the festival of Durga Puja celebrated by the community of Bengali, Assamese, etc, This festival is celebrated in honour of Goddess Durga’s triumph over the demon ‘Mahisasura’. The festival falls during the month of September/ October every year and is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show. The festival is essentially the win of good over evil.
In Bengal, Maa Durga is worshipped for five days and festivities begin from ‘Shashti’ (oh dav) onwards and culminates in the famous ‘DurgoPujo’ on the tenth day, ‘The unique ntual attached to the Bengali Durga Puja is that on the last day of the Pujo, the massive idol of the Durga made of clay is immersed in the sea or the river. This immersion of the idol signifies the return of Goddess Durga to the home of Lord Shiva who is her husband after her ten day stay at her parental home,
In other parts of India like Mysore, it is called ‘Dasara’ and in Gujarat, people refer to the festival as ‘Navratri’ and celebrate it with dances like Garba and Dandia, In Tamil Nadu, the festival is celebrated for nine days and the first three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the next three to Goddess Durga and the last three days are spent in the worship of Goddess Saraswati.
The festival is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, It falls on the fourth day of the month of Bhadra (August/September). While it is a national festival, it is extensively celebrated in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Lord Ganesha, is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is said to have the face of an elephant and is the first God to be worshipped amongst the pantheon of Hindu Gods.
It is said that the festival was initiated by Shivaji to promote Hinduism in his reign as opposed to the Mughals. The modernist national movement thinker Bal Gangadhar Tilak who wanted to bring people together under the spirit of nationalism and fight for independence from the British who imposed a ban on public gatherings of any kind, revived the festival in 1893.
During the festival, most people bring an idol of Lord Ganesha and establish him temporarily in their house. He is worshipped and ritual food offerings are made on daily basis. On the last day of the festival or the Chaturthi, thousands of people make a procession to carry the idols to be immersed in the nearest waterbodies.
This immersion of the idol is called ‘Visarjan’. Currently, the toxic nature of these idols harm the waterbodies and lead to deaths of the water creatures and creates a problem of drinking water.
This is a festival celebrated by Hindu women all over the world as it is related to the wellbeing of their husbands. Karva Chauth falls on the fourth day after the full moon in the month of October or November, which is also known as Karthikki Chauth. The festival was stituted to ensure the well-being, long life and prosperity of the husband.
The fast starts before sunrise where women take Sargi, a ritual food offering from their nothers-in law and after consuming this, they have to remain without water and food for the entire day. It is only with the sighting of the moon that they are allowed to partake any food. The women try to see the reflection of the moon in a plate full of water and invoke the Goddess ‘Gaur Mata’ during their puja before breaking their fasts.
Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath
This is one of the biggest festivals of the state of Odisha. The Rath Yatra or the Chariot festival of Lord Jagannath takes place once in a year in the holy town of Puri, the Neelachal Srikshetra. The festival falls on the second day of the month of Ashadha (June/July). The festival is dedicated to three main deities Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra and Lord Jagannath.
|Name of the Ratch||Name of the God|
During the festival, the three idols made of wood representing Lord Krishna, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra are taken on a cart. These three idols are taken out of the Sri Mandir and put on heavily decorated carts that are dragged by millions of visitors. They take it to the Shri Gundicha temple, where the idols are kept for a week on a sojourn.
The return journey or the Bahuda Yatra is also very grand and commences on the ninth day or Wooden idols of Lord Balabhadra Mag the Asadha Sukla Dasami. Some scholars argue Subhadra and Lord Jagannath (left to right) that the Rath Yatra predates the construction of the current temple at Puri and were celebrated as early as in the 9th century.
This festival is celebrated annually in the honour of Lord Shiva. Maha Shivratri is the day to rejoice and pray to the almighty for wellness. It falls on the fourteenth day of the month of Magha that according to the Gregorian calendar falls in February or March. As Lord Shiva is eternal, this day is significant of the fact that on this day he manifested himself in the form of a huge flaming lingam, which is called Jyotirlinga.
This day is also significant as Lord Shiva is said to have performed the Tandava or the ritual dance that signifies the creation, preservation and destruction of the earth. The devotees take holy water from the Ganga and walk to far away temples where they can make the ritual offering to the Shivalinga. Furthermore, all devotes keep a fast during the day and maintain a vigil in the night. It falls on the darkest day of the month.
Chhath is a popular Hindu festival celebrated since the Vedic times. It is dedicated to the Sun God (Surya) who sustains all life on Earth. It is celebrated on the sixth day of the lunar fortnight of Kartik month i.e, six days after Diwali. It is the State festival of Bihar and is observed for a period of four days with rigorous fasting. It includes a holy bath and making offerings to the rising and the setting Sun. Chhath is celebrated in the northern and eastern parts of India along with Nepal.
This is one the festivals celebrated by the Muslim community worldwide. The festival falls on the last day of the holy month of Ramadan (Ramzan), which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During the month of Ramadan, people fast for the entire day, beginning from the sunrise to the sunset. This process of fasting is ordained in the Muslim law or the Sharia. The date of the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr is calculated after a complicated process, it is set to be on the first day of the month of Shawwal and after the appearance of the moon at the end of the month of Ramadan.
According to the Muslim traditions, the Holy Quran was revealed on one of the odd nights during the last days of the holy month of Ramadan. It is usually calculated to be the 27th day of the Ramadan month. This month is also important for the Muslim calendar because historically Prophet Muhammad achieved victory during the Battle of Badr that led to the victory of the city of Mecca. Furthermore, the martyrdom of the prophet’s son-in-law, Ali occurred on the 21st day of Ramadan (Ramzan).
Id-ul-Zuha or Id-ul-Azha
This is also known as Bakr-Eid or the Id that involves the sacrifice of a goa or bakra. This is celebrated on the tenth day of the tenth day of the Dhu-al-Hijab, that is the twelfth month of the Islamic Calendar. It is celebrated in honour of the Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah, which was tested when god asked him to sacrifice his son. It is said that Ibrahim readily agreed to cut off his son’s head but God was merciful and took the sacrifice of a goat’s head.
Hence, on the day of Id-ul-Azha, a ram’s head is sacrificed and the meat is distributed as ritual offerings amongst the family members and neighbours. 1/3rd of the sacrificial meat is also given to the poor. This Eid also marks the beginning of the sacred period when many people undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca, which is called Hajj.
This festival is also known as the Barah-wafat and is the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad. According to the Quran, the Prophet was born on the twelfth day of Rabi-al-Awwal, which is the third month of the Muslim calendar. The day of his birth is called Milad-un-Nabi or Mawlid-un-Nabi. This is also supposed to be the day when the Prophet departed the earth and hence, the celebrations on this day are very subdued.
The day is part of the cache of national holidays. It is celebrated with deep reverence and solemnity. People gather to the mosques where the Holy Quran is read out. In some special gatherings, the religious scholars recite the Qasida al-Burda Sharif, the very sacred poem by Arabic Sufi Busiri written in the 13th century. They also sing Nats, which are traditional poems written in honour of the Prophet and illustrating his good deeds.
The festival is called Barah (twelve) wafat (death) as it signifies the twelve days of sickness that led to the Prophet Muhammad’s death. It holds special significance in places like Kashmir, where the relics of the Prophet are displayed in the Hazratbal Shrine, which is situated in Srinagar. Thousands of devotees flock the area and take part in the procession.
The festival of Muharram is a sad one, as it is associated with the death of Hussain, son of Ali. The festival falls in the first month of the Islamic calendar that is called Muharram. Incidentally, the Islamic New Year falls on the first day of the first month of the Islamic calendar. The tenth day of the month of Muharram, is known as the Yaum-al-ashura, which is observed as the day of mourning by the Shia Muslims all over the world.
It is observed in the memory of the martyrdom of Hussain Bin Ali, the grandson of the prophet in the war at Karbala in 61 Hijri (680 AD). In India, people take out processions called Tajia and beat themselves with chains to replicate the pains taken by Hussain. In most parts of India, people wear black clothes and distribute sherbet or juice to everyone.
It is also known as the ‘Night of Emancipation‘ and is observed on the night falling between 14th and 15th day of the month of Shaban. According to the Muslim tradition, the destiny of every person is determined on this night. Most Shia Muslims, celebrate the arth day of Shaban as the birth anniversary of Imam Muhammad Al-Mahdi who was the 16th imam. He is credited with ridding the world from oppression and injustice.
Shab-e-Mirajt shab-e-Miraj means the “night of Ascent”. It was believed that the Holy Prophet continues his journey and reaches to the nearness to Almighty. This took place on 27th day or Rajab, 2 years before Hijra. The journey was not with a physical body. It was on this journey, that five daily prayers were made obligatory upon Muslims.
The mosques are decorated and lighted with lights and candles and all the Muslims engage themselves in singing hymns and praising Holy prophet. The spiritual stories of Holy prophet is narrated in detail. Muslims give money in charity and also distribute food among the poor. The devoted ones spend the whole night in the remembrance of God.
This day is celebrated all across the world as the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ. It falls on the 25th of December every year. The celebrations begin with the Midnight mass that is held at all the churches on the night of the 24th – 25th December, which signifies the birth of Christ at midnight.
People visit the church where several programmes are arranged for the devotees to remember the good work of Christ. People visit each other’s houses and exchange gifts. The two rituals attached to the festival are of the Christmas Tree, which is set in everyone’s house. It is decorated with lamps, lights and holly. The other myth is of Santa Claus who is supposed to be a harbinger of gifts. People sing carols and distribute sweets and cakes on this day.
Easter & Good Friday
this is the day celebrated for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, three days after Jesus was crucified, he was resurrected and hence, Easter is supposed to signify the triumph of life over death. There are some similarities in the Christian and Jewish traditions on the occasion of the Easter. For example, during the early years of Christianity, the Jewish Christians celebrated Easter the 14 day of the Jewish month of Nisan.
But the ordinary Christians celebrated it on e Sunday closest to the 14th day of Nisan. This confusion was solved after the historic Council of Nicene held in 325 AD fixed the date of Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal Equinox, which roughly falls on the 21st March or the Paschal full moon.
The festival of Good Friday is to commemorate the day of crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It falls in the month of April each year. The death of Jesus is considered necessary for his rebirth and hence, it is good sign and gives hope to human beings. It also shows Jesus’s love for the mankind. Masses are held in all the churches in the country. eld in all the churches in the country.
The Sikh community all over the world celebrates it. Although Gurpurabs are celebrated for the birth anniversaries of all the 10 Sikh gurus but the most important are the Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh. Other important Gurpurabs are to commemorate the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur, who lost their lives to the Mughals in service to the Sikh dharma.
The Sikh community celebrates Guru Nanak Jayanti on the occasion of Guru Nanak’s birthday. All the Gurudwaras hold special services and langar is distributed to people on this day. All the Gurpurabs are cause for celebration and remembering the lord.
Hence, Akhand Path is held and people take out Prabhat Pheris or congregational singing of shabds or hymns that praise the lord. The festivities are concluded by carrying the Guru Granth Sahib in a procession on a decorated floral float that is led at the front by the fivearmed guards carrying Sikh flags (Nishan Sahibs). These five men are representatives of the Panj Pyare or the ‘five beloved men’ to the Guru Gobind Singh.
Parkash Utsav Dasveh Patshah
This festival is celebrated on the birthday of 10th Sikh guru Guru Gobind Singh. It also means the birth celebration of the 10th Divine Light or divine knowledge. This occasion is widely celebrated by the Sikhs on 31st January every year.
It is the seasonal gathering of the Sikhs and it is celebrated annually. It is celebrated in Muktsar in the memory of forty Sikh martyrs (Chalis Mukte) who fought with the Mughals. The 10th Guru Govind Singh died while fighting with Wazir khan, the mughal emperor in 1705. The Sikhs take a procession to the site of this Sikh – Muslim War and take a bath in the sacred water of Muktsar. It is celebrated on 14th of January every year.
It is the big festival event for the sikhs and also the beginning of the Sikh New Year. It often takes place in the month of March on the second day of the lunar month Chett and held in Anandpur Sahib. It was started by Guru Govind Singh for mock battles and military exercises followed by kirtan and other poetry competitions. It is also known as “Sikh Olympics” for the events and competitions of horse riding, swordmanship, etc.
It’s a religious festival celebrated on 13th or 14th April every year. This festival is the celebration of sikh new year and birthday of Khalsa Panth. This is the spring harvest festival for the Sikhs. Gurudwaras are decorated and hold kirtans. Sikhs take a bath in the sacred river, visit temples, meet friends and party over festive foods.
This occasion is celebrated on 13th of January in the month of Magh, a day before Makar Sankranti. Lohri celebrates fertility and the spark of life. People gather around the bonfires, throw sweets, puffed rice and popcorn into the flames, sing popular songs and exchange greetings. It also signifies the victory of light over the darkness.
It is one of the main fairs of Punja and it is organized to pay homage to baba Sodal, a great soul. Each year, the Mela is organized in the month of Bhadon (September) in Jalandhar.
The followers of Sikhism consider this day, a very auspicious one. The fair takes place on the Samadhi of the Baba, where his painted portrait is placed decorated with rosaries and flowers. A holy tank is there in the name of Sodal ka Sarovar. People take a dip in the holy waters of the Sarovar and present offerings to the Samadhi.
The Jain community celebrates the festival. It is held to celebrate the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira who was the 24th Tirthankara and one of the founders of Jainism. It falls on the thirteenth day of the month of rising moon called Chaitra. The festival is celebrated with great pomp and all the Jain temples are decorated with the saffron flag. The idol of Mahavira is washed with milk and given a ceremonial bath (abhishek). It is then carried in a procession.
On this particular day, the Jain devotees visit the sacred spots of Jainism; worship their religious teachers and tirthankaras. The festival has special relevance in Jain shrines like Parshvanath Temple in Kolkata, Hastinapur in Uttar Pradesh and Pawapuri in Bihar. Other major sites for celebration are in Gujarat and Rajasthan where a vast majority of Jain population resides.
The annual festival of Jains is called Paryushana. It is celebrated for eight days in the month of Bhadrapada (August/September) by the Svetambara sect. The Digambara sect celebrates the festival for ten days. The festival marks the movement of the nomadic Jain monks to their retreats because of the torrential rain and monsoon showers that makes their residence in forests and caves to be impossible.
The festivities include the ritual visit to the temples or the Upashrayas and listening to the discourses on the Kalpa Sutra. Most devotes are asked to perform the Pratikraman or the meditation kriya. The festival ends with the celebration of Kshamavami (forgiveness day). Forgiveness is asked by saying “Micchami Dukkadam” to others. It means if I had hurt you knowingly or unknowingly in word or action, then I seek your forgiveness.
It is one of the Jain festival held once in twelve years in the town of Shravanabelagola in Karnataka. This festival is the holy bathing ceremony of 57 ft high statue of Siddha Bahubali, son of Rishabhdev. The concentrated water is sprinkled by the devotees carrying specially prepared vessels. The statue is bathed with milk, sugarcane juice and saffron paste, and sprinkled with powders of sandalwood, turmeric, and vermilion. Offerings of petals, gold and silver coins, and precious stones are made.
The fifth day of Kartika is known as “Gyana Panchami”. It is considered knowledge day. On this day Holy Scriptures are displayed and worshipped.
Varshi Tapa or Akshay Tritiya Tapas
This festival is related with first Jain Tirthankara Rishabhdev who went for a fasting of 13 months and 13 days continuously. His fasting came to an end on 3rd day of the bright fortnight of Vaishakh month of Jain Calendar. People who perform this fasting are known as Varshi tapa.
This occasion is celebrated on 11th day of Magshar month of Jain Calendar (October/ November). On this day, complete silence is observed and fasting is kept. Meditation is also performed.
The nine-day Oli is a period of semi-fasting. During this period, Jains take only one meal a day of very plain food. It comes twice a year during March/April and September/October.
The Buddha Purnima or the Buddha Jayanti is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. It falls in the month of April/ May and is celebrated widely in the parts of Northeast India. It is called Saga Dawa (Dasa) in Sikkim and Vishakha Puja in the Theravada tradition. The main areas of celebration in northern India, is in Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh and Bodh Gaya in Bihar.
The celebrations include ritualistic prayers and listening to sermons on the life of Gautam Buddha. The day also includes chanting of Buddhist scriptures, worshipping the image of Buddha and the Bodhi tree and meditation. Different sects follow different rules like:
- Mahayana Buddhists organize a large procession with gyalings and rabdungs. They also read Kangyur texts.
- The Theravada Buddhists only concentrate on offering ceremonial prayers to the idols of Buddha.
This Buddhist festival is observed as like a spring cleaning. It is celebrated for several days quring the middle of April. The people clean their house, wash clothes and enjoy sprinkling perfumed water on the monks.
This festival is celebrated on Buddha’s first moment of enlightment when he was 7 years old and he went with his father to watch ploughing. This is celebrated in the month of May, and the two white oxen pull a gold painted plough, followed by four girls dressed in white who throw rice seeds from baskets.
This occasion is celebrated from the first to the fifteenth days of the eighth lunar month. It is believed that the gates of Hell are opened on the first day and the ghosts may visit the world for fifteen days. Food offerings are made during this time to relieve the sufferings of these ghosts. On the fifteenth day, Ulambana or Ancestor Day, people visit cemeteries to make offerings to the departed souls.
The festival is held at the Hemis Gompa Monastery in Ladakh to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava). In order to protect his people, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Guru Padmanasambhava fought the evil forces and this festival celebrates the victory of good over evil. The main attraction of the festival is the mask dance performed by the Lamas. Numerous musicians play the traditional music using four pairs of cymbals, large-pan drums, small trumpets and large size wind instruments.
It is one of the main festivals celebrated across Arunachal Pradesh as it marks the Tibetan New year that resonated with the large Tibetan and Buddhist communities that inhabit the region. It is usually celebrated by the tribes who believe in the Mahayana sect of Buddhism like the Sherdukpens, Khamba, Memba, Monpa tribe, etc. The festival is spread over three days and begins on 11 February every year. There are specific tasks and events assigned to each day, like:
- On the first day, the priests make ritualistic offerings to Palden Lhamo or the Dharampala, who is considered to be the High priest. All the people visit each other and wish them best of luck or Tashi Delek.
- The second day is called the ‘Gyalpo Losar, where the national leaders and past and present kings of the community are remembered and honoured.
- On the final day, people offer spiritual observances to the elders of the community and make offerings to the Dharampala. This day is called the ‘Choe-Kyong Losar’ and is a very cheerful part of the festival as people tie prayer flags to their rooftops and the entire locality is filled with color.
It is the festival of the Sindhi Community. It’s a forty day fast observed by the Sindhis in the months of July-August. They pray to Lord Jhulelal for forty days and after the fast is over they celebrate the occasion as Thanks Giving Day. Mirkshah Badshah, a Muslim invader of Sindh troubled the people of Thatta and wanted them to convert to Islam. The Hindus prayed to Varun Devta or the God of Water by observing penance on the banks of the river for forty days. On the fortieth day, Varun Devta heard their prayers and promised them to save them from the tyrant. The answer to the prayers of Hindus was Jhulelal.
This is the occasion of Sindhi New Year and it is celebrated all around the world. It is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra. Cheti Chand is celebrated in honour of the birth of Jhulelal, the patron saint of the Sindhis. It is celebrated with pomp and gaiety by the Sindhi Community. Many people take Baharana Sahib consisiting of Jyot, Misiri, Phota, Fal, Akha to the nearby river. An idol of Jhulelal Devta is also carried along.
Parsi Festivals (Zoroastrian)
The festival of Navroz is to celebrate the festival of New Year for the Parsi Community. It falls on the Roj Hormuzd or the first day of the first month (MahFravardin) as shown by the Shehanshahi calendar. It is supposed to be the beginning of the Universal Dawn as this is the end of winter and the beginning of the New Year.
Traditionally Parsis pay respect to Khorshed and Meher Yazads who are the two divine beings that are the harbinger of Sun. People visit each other and visit the Fire Temple. Other festivals of the Parsis are: