A festival is a special occasion of feasting or celebration. We celebrate many festivals in our country. Some of these festivals have religious associations, some are associated with the harvesting of the crop and some festivals are celebrated throughout the country. All festivals are associated with celebration and provide entertainment. These celebrations offered a sense of belonging for religious, social, or geographical groups.
National Festivals– These festivals are celebrated by the whole country. Our National festivals are: Independence Day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti.
India got independence from the British Empire on 15 August 1947. On 15 August 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, who had become the first Prime Minister of India, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahore Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On every Independence Day, the Prime Minister of India raises the flag and gives speech. On this day the great sacrifice of great Indian leaders who dedicated their lives for the country's freedom in the past, is respectfully remembered.
Republic Day is celebrated on the 26th of January. It is an occasion that whole India celebrates. It was on 26th January, 1950 that our country became Democratic Republic. 26th January 1950 was the day when the Constitution of India came into force. The Constitution was drafted by Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar as the chairman of the Drafting Committee. Republic Day Parade is held at Rajpath. Representatives of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force and traditional dance troupes take part in the parades. Jhaanki from all states are displayed. The President of India takes the salute. Soldiers are honored bravery award for their selfless sacrifice and bravery. Children are also awarded for their courageousness.
2nd October is celebrated to mark the occasion of the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the "Father of the Nation". He was the well-known leader of Indian independence movement. He dedicated his life to the ideals of Truth, Nonviolence and Love. He worked hard throughout his life to put an end to hatred and to spread love. On this day prayers are held especially at Raj Ghat, Gandhi's memorial in New Delhi where he was cremated. Prayer meetings and ceremonies are held all over the country.
Religious and Social Festivals –In India different religions are followed and is reflected in festivals also. We also celebrate some festivals that have social significance. Some of the festivals are discussed below.
Diwali the festival of lights is celebrated twenty days after Dussehra. It falls in the month of October or November. It is believed that, Lord Rama return back to Ayodhya after 14 year of exile. On this festival people decorate their house by lighting small clay lamps and candles. These lights represent the victory of good over evil and brightness over darkness. People dress up in new clothes and worship Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity. People exchange gifts and sweets between family members and close friends.
Vijayadashami is also known as Dussehra. It celebrates Rama's victory over the demon king Ravana and marks the triumph of good over evil. In the northern parts of India this festival last for 10 days. Ramlila is performed for 9 days and on tenth day, huge effigies of Ravana, his giant brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnath are burnt in vast open grounds in the evening.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated to honors the birth of Lord Ganesha. People install beautifully crafted statute of Ganesha in their home and in huge pandal. People worship Ganesha idol for 9 days and on last day idols are immersed in river or sea.
Holi is a spring festival also known as the festival of colours. Holi comes in February end or early March. It celebrates the victory of good over evil. Holi celebrations start with bonfire on the night before Holi where people gather, sing and dance with joy. The next morning people play with colours by throwing and applying colours on each other and have parties and dance under water sprinklers. Women prepare loads of gujiya, mathri and papri for the family and also for the relatives.
On Raksha Bandhan, sisters tie a rakhi on her brother's wrist. This silken thread symbolizes the sister's love and prayers for her brother's well-being, good health, prosperity and happiness. In return, the brother pledges to protect and take care of his sister under all circumstances.
Eid, popularly known as Eid-ul-Fitr mark the end of Ramzan. It is festival of breaking the fast. The practice of fasting is also known as 'roza' that starts from dawn till dusk. On this day people wear new clothes and go to Mosque. People offer prayer in large group in Mosque. People exchange gifts and wish each other ‘Id Mubarak’ as a mark of unity and brotherhood. On this festival people prepare delicious meethi seviyan.
Id ul Zuha
Id-ul-Zuha is also known as Bakra-Id or Bakrid . On this day Muslim sacrifice a goat to honor the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim. People offer prayers in the mosques and distribute the sacrificial meat after the Id prayers .People greet each other “Eid Mubarak” and visit the houses of relatives and friends.
Christmas is celebrated to honor the birth of Jesus. It falls on the 25th December every year. It is most important festival of Christians. People illuminate their houses and attend special services in the churches. On this day Christmas tree is decorated with artificial stars, lights, toys etc. People wear new clothes, eat festive meal and exchange gifts. Children believe that Santa Claus brings gift for them on the night before Christmas. Person dressed as Santa distribute gift and sweets among children.
Onam is one of the most significant harvest festivals of Kerala. Onam marks the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. People decorate the ground in front of their houses with flowers arranged in beautiful patterns to welcome the King. One of the main attractions of Onam is boat races and beautifully decorated elephants.
It is celebrated in the month of January every year. The festival is celebrated for four days. Pongal is a harvest festival for giving thanks to nature. People worship Sun God by offering prayers. People wear new clothes and women decorate houses with kolam. Sweetened dish of rice boiled with lentils is consumed on this day.
Lohri is a popular harvest festival of Punjab. Bonefire is an important feature of Lohri. People throw puffed rice, popcorn and other munchies into the fire and distribute Prasad comprises til, gajak, jaggery, peanuts, and popcorn.
Makar Sankranti is a harvest festival celebrated in almost all parts of India. This day is also believed to mark the arrival of spring season.
Gurupurab is also known as Guru Nanak Jayanti. On this day Sikh wear new clothes and go to Gurudwrara. Processions are taken out and free langars are arranged all over the country.
Buddha Jayanti is also known as Buddha Purnima. Buddha Purnima is celebrated on the birthday of Gautam Buddha. Lord Buddha is the founder of Buddhism.
It celebrates the birth of Lord Mahavir.
Children's day is also known as "Bal Diwas".It is celebrated on 14th November every year. Children's day is celebrated on Pandit Nehru's birthday. He was the first Prime Minister of free India. He loved children very much and children also loved him and respected him and called him “Chaha Nehru”.
Teacher’s day is celebrated on 5th September. 5th September is the birthday of a great teacher Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. He was the first vice President of India.
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