A festival is an occasion of enjoyment and celebration. It brings gaiety and mirth thereby strengthening our bond of relationship and friendship. These festivals also promote social interaction and harmony.
All nations have their religious and colourful festivals. However, Indian festivals are known to attract the world due to their harmony, variety, colour and excitement. Being multi lingual and multi racial country Indians celebrates a number of festivals all through the year.
In India every country has its own festivals. Thus we can divide the festivals into three categories—national or political, religious and seasonal. Indian festivals have their origin either in religion or in the myths and legends of popular faith. They are celebrated to remember those days and personalities who inspire people. These are the festivals which punctuate the seasons of the year.
National festivals like Republic Day, Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanti and others are celebrated with great patriotic fervour. Now-a-days they have been declared National Holidays, and are celebrated in all parts of the country and in the state capital with a lot of enthusiasm. The capital Delhi is the sea of national celebrations on all occasions. One of the most majestic parades are held on Republic Day.
School children apart from the Armed Forces, also participate in the parade. On Independence Day, India’s Prime Minister unfurls tricolour flag and address the nation from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort.
Religious festivals and ceremonies are as varied as the people, their customs beliefs and faith. The Hindus, the Muslims, the Christians, the Sikhs all have a large number of festivals in the course of the year. Dussehra, Diwali, Janamashtmi, Idul-Fitar, Rakshabandhan, Christmas are some of the well known Indian festivals.
In Northern India, Dussehra is observed as Vijaya Dashmi celebrating victory of good over evil, of Rama over Ravana. In Bengal, the occasion is celebrated as Durga Puja. This festival is celebrated with gaiety and lasts for five days. Diwali is the most prominent of the Hindu festivals. It is the festival of light. The Hindus celebrate this day to commemorate the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after winning the decisive war against the evil forces of
Ravana. Most businessmen start their new account books on this day. On this day, from all walks of life illuminate their homes with lights and diyas and children burst crackers. It is an occasion of family get together and exchange of sweets and presents with one another.
The Muslim celebrates Id-UI-Fitra. It is celebrated to mark the end of Ramzan. It was during the month of Ramzan that Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed. The Muslims fast for whole month and break their fast on Id with feasting.
Christmas is the greatest festival of the Christians. The festival marks birthday of Jesus Christ the founder of Christianity on 25th December. On this occasion carols and hymns are sung in praise of Christ’s in churches and cathedrals.
Few festivals became an indispensable part of Indian culture. India is the only country where these festivals are celebrated with great devotion to the Almighty and seasonal variations; festivals offer a welcome break from the daily routine. Festivals have a purifying effect on the minds and bring to the fore value of piety. The main objectives of festivals are to bring people from different walks of life to welcome each section of society with open arms and to forget the narrow differences between one another.