India is a land of cultural plurality and diversity. People herein celebrate myriad festivals throughout the year. These celebrations are pieces of evidence of the rich heritage and customs of the country. To preserve the sanctity of our glorious tradition, we must convey to our children the significance imbued in these festivals.
In this article, we have assorted a list of 15 most popular festivals. The purpose is to familiarize the children with the festivities that are celebrated across the nations with much pompadour.
Also known as the festival of light, Diwali was celebrated for the first time by natives of Ayodha to commemorate Lord Rama and Mata Sita return from Lanka after defeating the demon Ravana. It is usually hosted for a span of five days The lightening of earthen lamps and crackers are symbolism of good triumphing over evil. The goddess Lakshmi is also worshipped during the span.
Holi or the festival of colour is celebrated with much grandeur all over the country. Colours, sweets, music, dance, bhang and games are the highlight of this much loved festive. Many folklores are associated with this occasion. In some parts of North India, Holi is considered to be a reminiscence of love between Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. While in South it is hosted to pay tribute to sacrifice of Kamdeva perished in flames of Shiva after awakening him from his deep meditation for the sake of rejuvenation of all life forms on Earth.
Navaratri is generally held in October for nine days at length continuously. During this tenure, all the nine forms of goddess Shakti is paid tribute to. An effigy of Ravana is burnt on Dusherra to commemorate the defeat of Ravana by hands of Lord Rama. In parts of eastern India, the people celebrate Durga pooja, to mark the war between mahisasura and Devi Durga in which the Devi ultimately emerged victoriously. During the ten days, the city is bedecked with lights and stature of Devi and her aides are splendidly decorated in pandals.
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It is celebrated in Kerala to welcome the spirit of King Mahabali who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. People make ceremonial food and decorate their houses with rangoli to welcome their benevolent ruler. Snake boat races, kaikottikali dance performances and carnival are organized during the ten days of celebration.
Ganesh Utsav is celebrated in the month of August-September for ten days primarily in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana and parts of East India. It is organized to mark the birth of beloved Vighnaharta elephant god, Ganesha. Idols of the deity are worshipped by singing hymns and offering modaks.
It is a major festival of Muslims all over the world. It signifies the end of month-long Ramadan fast. New clothes and sweets are purchased, greetings are exchanged, alms are distributed to less privileged and presents are gifted to friends and relatives during the three days of the festival to commemorate the end of Roza and as an expression of filial duty to Allah, their maker and father.
Janmashtami is celebrated in parts in almost all states of India to honour the birth of Lord Krishna. People generally hold fast on the first day, i.e, Gokul Ashtami. The women prepare delicious milk dishes as offering for the Lord. On the second day, i.e, on Janmashtami, various games are organized to pay tribute to the playful lord, including Dandi Handi, tug of war etc.
Pongal is celebrated in the southern states of India. It lasts for four days and is said to be the harvest festival. On the very first day, the whole household is cleaned and at night purified by lighting bonfires. On the second day, prayers are offered to Sun God. On the third day, also known as Mattu Pongal gratitude is expressed to cattle for their help all year long. The fourth day Kanum Pongal ends with a feast with friends and family.