Festivals in India
India is a land of many religions, thus almost every month some or the other festival is celebrated. However, some of the main and widely celebrated ones in the country start from October. As a matter of fact, October ushers in a season of festivities, that is both religious and social in nature marked by fun enthusiasm and celebrations.
Here are some of them mentioned below:
Sharad Navratri (1 – 10 October, 2016) – This is a nine day festival that culminates in Dussehra. Over the period of nine days, there are rituals performed accompanied by dance and music. This is especially popular in Gujarat where a form of dance called Dandiya Raas is performed.
Gandhi Jayanti (2 October, 2016) – The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi was born on 2nd October, thus his birthday is celebrated by all Indians every year on this day. There are several cultural programs that are held all over the country in remembrance of the great man who led India’s struggle for freedom and popularized the concept of ahimsa or non-violence.
Durga Puja Festival (7 – 11 October, 2016) – One of the most celebrated festivals of India, this is especially popular in West Bengal. It is celebrated for four days. The celebration is done on a large scale where huge pandals are made for the occasion. The streets are decorated with innovative lights and the most creative Durga idol is awarded.
Birthday of Guru Ram Das (October 9, 2016) – Guru Ram Das, the Lord of Miracles and spiritual guide of Yogi Bhajan is the fourth of the ten gurus of Sikhs. Each year, eleven days before his birthday, the Sikh people gather together and chant Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru for 11 – 31 minutes. On his birthday, they do a daily spiritual practice in the early hours of the day. Many of them get involved in Gurdwara service and bring their “wish-and-a-dish” which they share with the community. They believe that this is the time of the year when their wishes get fulfilled.
Dussehra (11 October, 2016) – Dussehra is observed on the ninth day of the navratri festival and signifies the day of the victory of truth and justice when Lord Rama was successful in killing the demon king Ravana in the famous Indian epic of Ramayana. On this day, huge effigies of Ravan are burnt and people gather to witness it.
Kojagari Lakshmi Puja (15 October, 2016) – Kojagari Lakshmi Puja is devoted to Goddess Lakshmi and is celebrated in states like Bengal, Orissa, Assam and in few areas of west India. It is observed on the full moon day, that is Purnima, few days after the Durga Puja. For the Hindus, Goddess Lakshmi is the symbol of wealth and prosperity. People believe that on Kojagari Poornima night in Aashin month, Goddess Lakshmi pays a visit to the places of her devotees to bless them. Hence, the devotees organise Laksmi Puja in their homes, in the evening! Women can be seen decorating the houses with beautiful ‘Alpana’ (decorative designs made of rice flour which they do on the floor of the house). One of the preferred and common ‘alpanas’ that can be seen in every household is that of the feet of Goddess Lakshmi.
Karva Chauth (19 October, 2016) – This is a festival fervently observed by married women, especially in North India. It starts with a day long fast that is observed and women apart from offering prayers, also pamper themselves with mehndi designs.
Dhanteras (28 October, 2016) – Dhanteras is celebrated by performing Lakshmi puja in the evening. The entrance of the house are made colorful with lanterns and ladies also light earthen lamps. They also purchase gold or silver articles or at least an utensil.
Diwali (30 October, 2016) – Diwali is celebrated in all parts of India. On this auspicious day, people decorate their house with rangoli artworks. They light earthen lamps, light crackers and also prepare home-made sweets.
Kali Puja (30 October, 2016) – While the rest of the India celebrates Diwali, the Bengali community keeps itself busy with Kali puja, also know as Dipanwita Kali Puja. Though Goddess Kali is worshipped on other new moon days of the year, as well, but the community observes this Kali puja on the new moon day of the month of Kartika. To them, this is the annual Kali puja celebration. She is worshipped at night and tantric rites and mantras are followed. She is usually offered animal blood in a skull, rice and lentils, sweets, fish and meat and red hibiscus flowers.
Halloween (October 31, 2016) – Halloween is observed on 31st October, every year. It is the festival of fun, usually celebrated in the countries of the west such as Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The ancestors of the Scottish people and the Irish welsh were known as the Celts and 31st of October, happens to be the eve of the Celtic New Year. There is a belief among the people that on this day, ghosts mingle with the living beings. So on this day, people dress themselves up as ghosts to look like the dead souls and also make food for the ghosts. Now Halloween is more of a celebration for the children, who dress up like ghosts on this day and engage in different sorts of fun activities.
Muharram (31 October, 2016) – This is usually a sorrowful occasion for Shia Muslims. They observe this day by walking barefoot on the roads and weep loudly as an act of mourning for Hussain and his family. Many of them beat their chest with their hands as an act of matam. However, the Sunni Muslims keep fast in the month of Muharram and celebrate it as a low affair.