India is probably the only land where people belonging to different religions live with peace and harmony. It is because Indian culture is all about inclusiveness where the majority of the people follow Hindu religion. India is a country with rich culture and colorful festivals. As we all know, Hindus have more festivals than any other religion in the world. They believe in celebrating the functions with full excitement and fervor. There are many Hindu festivals celebrated throughout the year, but here are some of the major celebrations:
Diwali – The Festival of Lights
Diwali is one of the most popular Hindu festivals celebrated in India. It is the festival of lights. It is known to be the day when darkness was conquered by light, awareness over unawareness, good over evil and hope over despair. Diwali is a holiday even in Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Figi, Myanmar and many other countries where Hindu population exists. The day before Diwali, people clean their offices and houses to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. They renovate the house/office, if required, and do the decorations. On the night of Diwali, people wear new dresses and light earthen lamps all over the house and office. You can see the lights on top of each house and the entire locality will also be lit up. They distribute sweets to relatives and friends.
Diwali is major shopping time for Hindus. The festival usually comes in the month of October or November. One of the myths behind Diwali is that it is the day when Lord Rama comes back to Ayodhya after he kills Ravana.
Holi – The Festival of Colors
Photo by Steven Gerner
Holi is a Hindu festival typically celebrated in North India. This festival is known as the festival of colors. Holi depicts the defeat of evil, the beginning of spring, making new relationships and forgetting the past and believing in the present. It is a festival of enjoyment and patches up the issues in any broken associations. This festival comes after the harvest, so you can term this as a thanksgiving for good harvest also. Holi is celebrated in the month of Feb-March. Holi, which is one of the most celebrated Hindu festivals, is now popularly celebrated by all people irrespective of caste and creed in North India. It is also quite popular in the North Indian colonies in the South.
Dussera – The Festival of Feminine Power
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Dussera is also known as Vijayadashmi. It is a popular Hindu festival celebrated across India. This is celebrated on the last day of Navarathri, the 9-day festival. Dussera usually comes in the month of Sep or Oct. Each state in India celebrates Navarathri for a different reason. The mythological stories behind Dussera are many, but the main reason is the victory of good over evil. In most of the places, Dussera commemorates Goddess Durga killing Mahishasura. In other places, it is the celebration of Lord Ram’s killing of Ravana. For Durga Pooja, after the nine-day pooja and celebration, goddess Durga’s clay idol will be immersed in the river on Vijayadashmi day. during these nine days, they worship Durga in the form of Devi, Saraswathi, and Parvathi for 3 days each.
Photo by Yogendra174
In Kerala, the day of Vijayadashmi is also celebrated as Vidyarambham day. Young children start their learning journey on this auspicious day. Renowned people help them start their academic or artistic journey on this day across the state. In some other places, Dussehra is celebrated as Ramlila, the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana. On the 9th day, huge idols of Ravana are burnt in open grounds to depict his defeat. Dussera is one of the most revered Hindu festivals celebrated in India.
Ganesh Chaturthi – Celebrating the Elephant God
Photo by AlicePopkorn
Vinayaka Chathurthi or Ganesh Chaturthi is quite admired among the Hindu festivals celebrated in India. This festival comes in the month of August – September every year. This festival celebration continues for 10 days. People keep Ganesh idol at their home, locality or office to perform pooja for 10 days. They decorate and light up the Ganesh Pandal and distribute sweets every day after the pooja. You can enjoy dance, music, movies, games and other activities everyday evening at the public pandals. Each and every locality will keep Ganesh idol in a pandal with decorations. On the last day of the celebration, these idols will be immersed in the sea or river.
Raksha Bandhan – Celebrating Sibling Relationship
Raksha Bandhan is actually a function or ritual that is performed in the month of August. This is celebrated by most of the South Asians. In India, it is popularly known as Rakhi. Sisters tie a decorated thread on the wrist of their brother or a person they consider a brother. The brother promises to protect her throughout life in return. It is actually a custom to reinforce the love between the siblings. The brothers are supposed to gifts their sisters in return of Rakhi. Rakhi is also Rakhsa Bandhan, meaning a thread that protects the brother. It shows the love towards your blood relations or giving the right to protect them when in need or taking care of them. It is no longer just a Hindu festival. Rakhi is popularly celebrated among all societies and people. It is all about love and taking care of others.
Hindu festivals are usually related to mythical stories that commemorate the triumph of good over the evil. Even though different people celebrate the same festival for different reasons, involving different myths, the enthusiasm remains equally vivid and high. These festivals are now popularly celebrated by Indians of all castes and creeds across the globe.
Featured Photo by Steven Gerner