No matter when you choose to visit India, you are bound to enjoy the chance to experience one of their many festivals first hand. There are festivals devoted to gods, seasonal agricultural celebrations, political events, camels, elephants and many other reasons Indians find as a chance to celebrate and re-enact centuries old customs.
Each religious group in India has its own calendar of major festivals. For Hindus, the beginning of winter is marked by Diwali, the festival of lights, which inspires the lighting of millions of oil lamps inside homes and firecrackers outside. These celebrate the home comings of the hero Rama and his wife Sila. Prayers are given to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and boxes of sweets are exchanged between friends and family members. This five day festival is the equivalent of Christmas.
Spring brings Holi, a riotous festival where colored water and paint are scattered, leaving most people who venture outside covered in pink, blue and silver. Northern India in particular revels in this festival.
In addition, specific gods all enjoy their own festivals throughout the year.
The Muslim community holds major celebrations for Id-E-Milad, the birthday of Mohammed, the Islamic New Year and Idul Fitr, the feast that ends the 28-day Ramadan fast.
Sikhs pay annual homage to each of their ten gurus, with parades to gurudwaras. Places of worship, reading of the holy Granth and feasting.
The largest Jain festival celebrates the birth of the religious fournder, Mahavir, in April. Buddah’s birthday at the full moon in May, is marked by major processions in Sarnath and Bodh Gova..
Pushkar’s camel fair is one of the most popular regional festivals. Oters take place throughout the country and offer visitors a rare glimpse into the exotic side of India. Camels aren’t the only animals that enjoy festivals-cows and elephants also enjoy their own.