India celebrates so many festivals in a year, and it is fit to be called the ‘Land of Festivals.’ Almost every day, there is a festival or an observance in India. Indian festivals are celebrated wonderfully and are very colorful.
These festivals act as a way of bringing people together and helps building unity. They always showcase the diverse nature of India. Some of the Indian Festivals like Deepavali, Maha Shivaratri, Navaratri, and Krishna Janmashtami are known all over the world.
Below is a list of the popular Indian Festivals
1.Deepavali: Unarguably the most popular Indian festival, it is christened as ‘Festival of Lights. It is celebrated as the victory of good over evil. People believe the Demon king Narakasura was killed on this day, and in some places, the day is celebrated as the return of Lord Rama from exile. Deepavali is celebrated based on the Indian panchanga (Almanac) and usually falls during October or November. People buy new clothes, cook and buy delicacies, burst crackers and spend time with family and friends.
2.Maha Shivaratri: Similar to Deepavali, Maha Shivaratri is also a popular festival of India. This festival is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva, an important Hindu deity. On this day, the devotees of Shiva stay awake the whole night, perform pooja to Lord Shiva and visit his temples. Maha Shivaratri has great spiritual significance and is celebrated with great devotion. It generally falls in March or April.
3.Navaratri: Navaratri festival is celebrated for nine long days and is important in India but is celebrated with great fanfare in West Bengal and Assam. On Navaratri, Devotees worship Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi, the three primary goddesses of Hinduism. Large idols of the Goddesses are installed, and puja is performed for ten days, and then the idols are immersed in the seas. This festival falls in September or October every year.
4.Ganesh Chaturthi: Ganesh Chaturthi is the birthday of Lord Ganesh, an important God of Hinduism. The devotees buy the idols of Lord Ganesh and do pooja for three days at home and offer him sweets, fruits, and milk. Once the festivities are over, the idols are immersed into the sea to bid goodbye till next year. The festival falls in August or September every year.
5.Krishna Jayanthi: Popularly known as Janmashtami, this festival commemorates the birthday of Lord Krishna, an important incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Devotees throng Krishna temples, organize Krishna Leela plays and sing bhajans on this day. Dwaraka, Mathura, Puri, Brindavan, Udupi, and Guruvayur are places where Krishna Jayanthi is celebrated grandly.
6.Rama Navami: This is the birthday of Lord Rama, another primary avatar of Maha Vishnu. Ramayana, the greatest Indian Epic, contains his story. On Ram Navami, people pray to Rama, listen to Ramayana discourses, and chant the Rama mantra. This Ram Navami festival celebrated at Ayodhya is very special as it is the birthplace of Lord Shri Ram.
7.Skandha Shasti: Celebrated widely in Tamil Nadu, this festival belongs to Lord Muruga or Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva. It is a six-day long festival and celebrates the victory of Muruga over the Asura king, Surapadma. On the penultimate day, the divine marriage of Lord Skanda is also performed. Devotees fast on all six days and end their fast on the last day after worshipping Lord Muruga.
8.Hanuman Jayanthi: The birthday of Anjaneya, a vanara and the ultimate devotee of Lord Rama, is celebrated as Hanuman Jayanthi. It is a popular festival in North India and the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. On this day, devotees read Ramayana and chant the name of Shree Rama.
9.Guru Purnima: Guru Purnima is the marked day to pay your obeisance to your Guru. It is a perfect day to receive initiation or blessings from the Guru.
10.Makara Sankranthi: It is a harvest festival observed all over India and is the marked day to pay respects to the Sun God. Astrologically, the day signifies the change of direction of the Sun.
Hope you got to know about the ten major festivals of India. There are many more festivals unique celebrated in India. Hopefully, details of them will be covered in the next article.