A developing nation with 29 states, 7 union territories, 22 major languages and over 720 dialects, this is India. A land of colors and diversity, India lives in the moment and every moment is made as big as it can get. Fun and frolic is always the need of the hour and with every passing minute, energy levels swell up and spirits soar high, especially during the festive season.
Every Indian takes his festivals very seriously and with a plethora of communities dwelling in the subcontinent, India witnesses one festival after another. Though all Indians are the same at heart, they have their own ways for celebrating their festivals.
The year begins with the Hindus celebrating Makar Sankranti marking the end of the winter solstice.
The same festival is celebrated down South under the name of Pongal and by the Assamese as Bihu.
As the soaring spirits of the Hindus celebrate it by flying kites, the Tamilians decorate their houses with beautiful ‘rangolis’. Bihu, which translates as the festival of eating food and enjoyment, is celebrated in a way true to its name.
The festival of colors, Holi is celebrated in different ways in India. In major parts of India, it is celebrated by playing with ‘gulaal’ and eating delicacies.
However, to break the monotony, the ‘lath maar holi’ is played in Mathura. In this festival, the women, take a stick i.e. a ‘lath’ and beat the men while the men try to hide and escape.
As if the ‘laths’ and colors weren’t enough, Vrindavan has a special ‘phool vaali holi’ where flowers are thrown over people and they enjoy themselves.
The biggest example of diverse celebrations is Navratri. The nine-day festival which marks the advent of ‘Durga Maa’ is celebrated in cosmopolitan ways all over the country.
West Bengal witnesses he majestic ‘Durga Puja’ in huge ‘pandaals’ with vermillion spreading all over the place. Gujarat experiences fervor with continuous ‘Garba Nights’ and Tamil Nadu celebrates the same under the name ‘Bommai Kolu’.
Different ways to honor the various avatars of the same Goddess, this is Navratri in India.
Not just these, festivals like Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Janmashtami and various other festivals are among the many other festivals celebrated in different ways in India.
The myriad of festivals might connote different things, but they have one common thread, happiness, fervor and well- being.
These festivals bind us all together the moment an Assamese dance around the fire on Lohri, the moment a Sikh enjoys the wholesome Pongal delicacies or the moment there is gulaal played on a Garba night.