India is the land of fun and frolic. The Indians celebrate the various fairs and festivals to the extent that there are more number of fairs and festivals in a year than the total number of days. The rites and the rituals followed by the Indians, the enthusiasm and faith that are constant features add to the charm of the fairs and festivals.
Most the Indian festivals are regional, seasonal or religious. The unity of the diverse country like India can be seen at the national festivals of the Republic day (26th January), Independence Day (15th August) and Gandhi Jayanti i.e. the birth anniversary of the father of the nation (2nd October).
There is a big list of the religious festivals that are celebrated in India. In the secular country of India people light up their homes with as many lights on Diwali as on Christmas, the fireworks are as loud as on Onam. The colors of Holi are spread across the castes and creeds.
Hindus commemorate the birth anniversaries of their deities as Ram Navami, Maha Shivratri, Janam Ashtami similarly, the Sikhs remember their gurus on Gurpurab. On the occasion of Raksha Bandhan an unspoken pledge is exchanged between, a brother and sister cementing their fraternal relationship.
Many of the festivals are subject to the lunar calendar. The Islamic festivals are celebrated according to the Muslim or the hijri calendar. The month long fasting is completed with Eid-ul-fitr. The Islamic year commences with Awal Muharram. It is observed with attending religious lectures. The Jews rejoice on their New Year that falls on the 7th of September.
There is another list of seasonal fairs and festivals that are celebrated across India. Teej celebrates the onset monsoon. The Ganguar fair and the festival of Baisakhi are held in the harvest season. Down south the people perform the seasonal ayyappa pooja. The harvest festival of Assam is Rongali Bihu, when unbounded joy and enthusiasm is expressed through intoxicating songs and dances.
The colorful costumes, the captivating customs reveal the cultural heritage of India. Promotion of the Indian culture and heritage takes place at the famous Dance Festival of Konark in Orissa and the Khajuraho temples of Madhya Pradesh. These festivals have the enchanting temples as background. The dancers from various parts of India participate in the festivals and perform the classical dances. These festivals add to the cultural tourism in India.
At the Surajkund Crafts Fair artists, craftsmen, painters, weavers and sculptors from various parts of the country flock to the Indian state Haryana to display and sell their creations to the various connoisseurs of arts and crafts. Visiting the fair is not just another way of spending a holiday in India for the tourists; it is an experience that reveals the artistic heritage of India.
People throng the Pushkar city of Rajasthan at the annual religious and cattle fair. Trades, parades and race competitions are held for the camels, horses and cows. The entire fair is a big draw for the tourism industry. The biggest cattle fair of Asia takes place at Sonepur, Bihar annually.
The Hindus actively participate in the Kumbh Mela held once in every three years either on the banks of river Godavari in Nasik, Shipra in Ujjain, Ganges in Haridwar or at the confluence of the three sacred rivers namely, Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati in Allahabad. This auspicious fair of the Purna or Maha Kumbh is celebrated once in every twelve years at Allahabad. The delightful Hindu festival of Dusshera also sees several fairs were people participate with much zest and enthusiasm
Every year in July the sacred coastal city of Puri comes alive to celebrate the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath. Amidst the resounding clash of cymbals, the tumultuous thundering of drums, the three gods, Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra leave their above, the Jagannath temple, to journey to the Gundicha Mandir. Millions of devotees flock to the city to watch the Triad ride in the elaborate chariot through the streets of Puri. The festival is spectacular, the occasion distinctive and the aura spiritual.
On the tenth day of the sixth month of the Ladakhi calendar, the Hemis monastery turns into a very large stage where monks, tourists and people from all over the world congregate for the famous masked dances. The Hemis festival lasts for two days and is the largest monastery festival in all of Ladakh and Spiti. The Hemis festival is not only a religious festival, but also an annual fair fro the entire region.
Of late festivals like Father's Day, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day and Friendship Day have come up to celebrate the given day of the year with the loved one. Though in India, each day is lived and enjoyed with the near and dear ones.
Amongst the many festivals, there is the Carnival of Goa, essentially a spring festival celebrated with joy and revelry in the beautiful beach capital of India. This erstwhile Portuguese settlement sings, dances and makes merry through the three days and four nights of the Carnival. Tourists' inflow increases in leaps and bounds.
Festivities are time to reinforce the presence of God, rejuvenate ourselves and surrounding, remind us of our rich past, preserve the heritage of the country besides making merry by eating, drinking, shopping and exchanging gifts.
The fun and frolic felt at the fairs and festivals can only be experienced rather than explained. So you are welcome to the lovely land of India to visit the versatile country with fantastic hues of fairs and festivals, which are bound to leave you spell bound. The Gods, Goddesses, gaiety, glory, gifts, and goodies galore at the fairs and festivals, come be apart of them.