You may know there are more than 1.1 billion Hindus in the world and 94% of them live in India. Since, India is the country of festivals with vast territory and diverse religion and has a large Hindu population, it is obvious that most of its festivals are Hindu festivals. The Vedas have deftly described the 33 Gods in Hinduism and as per the Puranas there are 30 million or more Gods and Goddess which results in a number of festivals to worship them. To know more about Hindu Festivals in India. Do read this entire blog and celebrate all these feast days with your loved ones.
How many festivals are celebrated in India?
Since India has the largest percentage of Hindus in the world, it is believed that there are over a thousand festivals in India to celebrate throughout the year. Each and every festival here is unique, holds a great spiritual importance and cultural value and is celebrated with utmost enthusiasm. Indians love celebrating festivals because spirituality, food, fun and freedom are the words that define festivals for them. Not only this, it is the time when families come together to celebrate the auspicious festivals.
What are the important Hindu festivals of India?
Each festival that Hindus celebrate is associated with a story from the Puranas that provides an insight into the deeper spiritual significance of the festival and also the underlying celebrations. Even though each and every festival has its own root, value and importance, there are a number of most important Hindu festivals that are celebrated in India with great enthusiasm. Following are some Hindu festivals that hold great importance and you should not miss celebrating it if you are staying in India.
Holi is the festival that marks the triumph of good over evil. It is celebrated in the month of Phalguna of Hindu calendar and it is a festival that signifies the coming of spring and harvest season in the country. Hindus lit bonfires on street corners in order to purify the air of evil spirits and bad energy and vibes. Also, it is done to symbolise the destruction of the wicked Holika, after whom the festival was named. Next day, people celebrate the festival by smearing each other with gulal (coloured powders) and kids throw balloons filled with water to each other. It is a very joyous festival which is incomplete without consuming traditional holi foods like Gujiya, DahiVada, Pakora, Barfi and legendary Bhaang. On this day, Indians enjoy these delicacies with great pleasure.
Diwali or Deepavali is one of the most famous Hindu Festivals in India that celebrates Lord Rama’s ultimate defeat of the evil spirit and his triumphant return to his home. It is the most joyous, glamorous and important Hindu festival. It is celebrated for 3 days and the first day of this festival is Dhanteras. Hindus hang strings of mango leaves and marigold on doorways and draw rangoli with different colours of gulal to welcome their guests. In the night, on the dark new moon night, they worship Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth who is both the consort and the divine energy of the God Vishnu. The day after they worship the Goddess Lakshmi, they celebrate Hindu New Year by wearing new traditional dresses and also visit their near and dear ones and work mates to give sweets, gifts and dry fruits. Moreover, they also decorate their houses with diyas and diwali lights and children burst crackers and enjoy to the fullest.
Dussehra – Victory of Lord Ram
Dussehra is an equally important Hindu festival name which celebrates the triumph of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana who abducted his wife Sita. It also celebrates the triumph of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura and symbolises the triumph of good over evil. It falls on the last day of Navratri and incorporates Ramlila which is a depiction of the life of Lord Rama and is represented during the nine days preceding Dussehra. On the last day, they set alight effigies of Ravana, his son and brother, Meghnath and Kumbhkarna. Many Indians celebrate this festival through special prayer meetings where they organise a kirtan which is an act of praising and glorifying God and make food offerings to the Gods at home or in temples. Also many outdoor melas (fairs) are organised and they hold large parades with effigies of Ravana and later burn it on bonfires.
What are some other Hindu festivals in India?
Yes, indeed India is often called the land of festivals and fairs because of its vibrant and diverse culture, unique traditions and endless exciting festivals. Each day Indians celebrate some or other festivals as there are more festivals celebrated in India than anywhere else in the world. Here’s a list of Hindu festivals and information about why and how they are celebrated to let you know about their great importance in Indian culture.
Basant Panchami – Saraswati Puja
Basant Panchami celebrates the beginning of spring season and as per Hindu beliefs the Goddess of learning, music and art was born on this day. They also believe that Goddess Saraswati blesses people with the amazing power of speech, wisdom and learning. To achieve wisdom and art, people celebrate this auspicious festival and start anything new on this day. Hindus, on this day, wear new yellow coloured clothes, some even fly kites and celebrate the festival by serving themselves khichdi or sweet rice with almonds, cashews and raisins along with some delicious sweets.
Durga Puja celebrates the victory of the Goddess Durga over the demon king Mahishasura. Hindus celebrate this festival to acknowledge divine feminine shakti and to achieve wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity and knowledge bestowed by the Goddess Durga. It is a ten day festival and the last 5 days of the festival includes many rituals and sacred practices. Indians perform pujas in their homes and pandals (public areas) and decorate them beautifully. This festival is incomplete without scripture recitations, performances, public processions, family get-together and feasting.
Makar Sankranti, also known as harvest festival, celebrates the new beginnings and days getting longer as the sun proceeds on its northward journey. This festival is dedicated to the solar deity, Surya and also it is a harvest festival which honours the sun god and god of rain, Indra. People living in different parts of India celebrate this festival differently but the use of til (sesame) in every dish made on this day is the same. This festival is incomplete without exchanging mutli-coloured til gud and til-laddus and flying kites.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10 day festival which marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the God of prosperity, wisdom, wealth and knowledge. It generally begins on the 4th day of the month of Bhadrapada, the sixth month of the Hindu Calender. Throughout these 10 days, Hindus worship Lord Ganesha and seek his blessings and on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, thousands of worshippers meet on the rivers, lakes, ponds or sea to immerse the holy idols accompanied by dum beats, devotional songs and dancing.
Onam – Festival of Harvest
Onam is a very famous rice harvesting festival which is mostly celebrated in the southern part of India. It is a celebration of 10 days and it symbolises the homecoming of demon king Mahabali. It is one of the most famous and biggest festivals of southern India and people celebrate it with great enthusiasm, they wear new clothes, visit temples and perform many forms of dance which include Thiruvathira Kali and Thumbi Tulla. Their celebration is incomplete without having a special lunch along with Kaaya Varuthathu (Banana Chips), Choru (Boiled rice) y Pulinjin (Tamarind based chutney). Also they decorate their houses with beautiful and colourful rangolis.
India is a diverse country with unique traditions and vibrant culture. With 96.62 crores Hindu population, it has the largest Hindu population in the world. India is often called the land of festivals which is quite true as it is the only country which celebrates most festivals as compared to any other country in the world. These were some of the Hindu festivals in India that are celebrated with great affection and enthusiasm all across the country.