Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Festivals of India (Part 1)

India will amaze you. This has been said too often but not without a reason. The Vast oceans and great rivers in the plains; the enchanting sea beaches and the calm back waters of the south; the Jungles and the snow capped mountains of the north; the ancient Temples, Churches, Mosques and Gurudwaras; a melting pot of nearly all the religions and various cultures; rich with flora and fauna and technically forward country, India is a traveller’s dream come true. A visit to India will change your life. 

The Indian calendar is full of festivals starting form the birthdays of Deities, saints and prophets to celebration of various seasons and mythological stories. Some of the festivals are celebrated as national days.

The huge subcontinent has ancient civilization and is an inheritor to a rich and diverse cultural tradition. Festivals and Fairs play a definite role to add to the enchantment, and help exploring the rich 4000 year old culture of India. The Fairs and Festivals celebrated across the length and breadth of the land present a fascinating pageant and showcase the resplendence of its arts and crafts tradition. Some festivals are of religious nature, others are linked with the lives of the people, change of seasons and harvesting. Each festival is unique in style and is characterized by color, gaiety, enthusiasm, feasts and heterogeneity of prayers and rituals. And although each religion celebrates their own festivals, they also participate in the other festivals with equal enthusiasm and fervor making the festivals typically Indian. Last but not the least, although most of the Indian festivals carry legends behind them, there is some scientific reason attached to them. Like Holi, which marks the end of winter and therefore splash of water is necessary. Diwali, which is the darkest and the coldest night, is lighted up with innumerous lamps all over, so on and so forth. Each festival in the Indian calendar carries a legend and a reason behind the celebration, which also includes the food that is eaten during the particular festival.

India is a vast country with different demography hence every region and state have their own ways of celebrating their festivals. Some of them are celebrated in a common way while some are very regional festivals.

1. Common festivals:

Although normally the Indian calendars are based on the moon and the New Year begins sometime around March – April,  we shall see the festivals from January.

The month of January is very cold in the northern region of India where the temperatures vary from 10 degree Celsius to 10 degrees below the freezing level. But the rest of the India enjoys the most pleasant climate during this time of the year.

Keep reading more to come on my next post....

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