Top 10 Hindu Festivals in India
The mythological beliefs that the Hindus have is diverse. This could be because of so many castes, cultures, and religions in the Hindu community. The association with multitude of myths, beliefs, deities, incarnation stories have made Hinduism mostly diverse. All of these leads to belief in various Gods that in turn leads to celebrations of different kinds of festivals in the country. Hindus have festivals almost in every month of the year that are celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm throughout. Festivals in India are the most beautiful times of the year and Hindus celebrate each festival in a different way which is the reason why we look out for the festivals throughout. Here are the top 10 Hindu festivals of India.
Diwali: The most important Hindu festival has to be Diwali. Diwali is celebrated throughout the country and even beyond where the Hindus live. The festival of lights also called as the victory of light over darkness or knowledge over ignorance is celebrated as the return of Ramji to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. The festival is celebrated for 4 days from Dhanteras, Chhoti Diwali, Diwali, and another day after Diwali. People have the rituals of lighting diyas, decorating the houses with flowers and other decorative items, and doing the Laxmi and Ganesh puja as done in Ayodhya for welcoming Ramji. It is believed that Laxmiji enters Earth on this auspicious day.
Holi: Another very big and important festival of the country is Holi. Holi is the festival of colours that is celebrated in a grand way using pakka (fast) colours, gulaal, and even in the lath mar way in some parts of the country. Holi parties are celebrated accompanied with music, bhaang, milk shakes, paan (betel leaf), and lots of colours. The festival marks the celebration of good over evil because Holika who had the blessing to never die, was burnt alive when she tried to kill Prahlad, her brother’s son. Holi is celebrated with Holika Dahan one night prior to Dulhandi, which is the main festival of colours. Holi celebration in Mathura is world famous.
Ram Navmi: Ram Navmi is one of the biggest Hindu festivals in India. But, it is not celebrated throughout the country in an extravagant way. There are some cities like Kashi (Varanasi), Ayodhya, Haridwar, and Jharkhand are some of the places where this festival is celebrated in a life size way. The festival marks the birth of Lord Rama, one of the most important Hindu Gods, also the 7th recreation of Lord Vishnu. It falls under the Chaitra Navratri month of the year. The festival is followed by a procession, fasting and singing in the name of Lord Rama.
Navratri / Durga Puja: These 9 days of the year are the most iconic and happiest 9 days in India. Navratri means 9 nights and each of the night is associated with one form of Durga to celebrate her day. Each form of Durga Maa has something strong related to her. These 9 days are known for the Dandiya nights and Garba dance that is played throughout the country specially in Gujarat. The last 4 days of Navratri from Saptami, Ashtami, Navmi, and Dashmi are celebrated as Durga Puja when Durga Maa comes to her mother’s home. The last day Dashmi is celebrated because of Maa Durga killed Mahishasura and also as Dussehra when Ramji killed Raavan.
Chhatth Puja: This is the festival celebrated in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand wherever the Biharis live. This is a Bihari festival celebrated nowadays by most of the Hindus in every state of the country. The festival is referred to as maha parv or the major festival. In this festival, Surya devta or the Sun God and Chhath Maiya are religiously prayed. People have to fast for 3 days from Naha kha, Kharna, Sandhya arghya, and savers arghya. People have to do this puja in the river and pray to Surya devta. This is a beautiful festival decorated with supes, fruits, and flowers. The rivers of the cities are crowded and give an epic sight to the eyes.
Maha Shivratri: The meaning of Maha Shivratri is the Great night of Lord Shiva. It is one of the greatest Hindu festivals that is celebrated on the 14th day of Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of Magha month according to the Hindu calender. Just like the other Hindu festivals, stories are attached to this festival too. The most auspicious story attached to this festival is that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married with each other on this day. So, both Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati both are prayed on this day. Bael leaves and golden apple leaves are offered to Lord Shiva. A lot of people or Bhole bhakts fast for Lord Shiva on this day and chant Om Namah Shivaay.
Raksha Bandhan: Raksha Bandhan is one of the top Hindu festivals in India. This is the festival of brother and sister. The festival is about the sacred relation between the brothers and the sisters. This one is celebrated on the full moon day of Shravan month. The most famous story attached to Raksha Bandhan is the story of Lord Krishna and Draupadi. It is believed that Lord Krishna had cut his finger in a war and was bleeding. Draupadi saw it and tied his cut area with a cloth torn from her saree. On this day, the sisters tie a rakhi on her brother’s wrist and pray for his well being while promising for their safe guarding them. Brothers willingly give a gift to their sisters on this day.
Onam: Celebrated in the South India, this is a 10 day long festival. The return of the legendary king Mahabali to his place marks the celebration of this festival. Kerala’s best traditions and cultures are showcased during this festival and its celebrations. The houses are decorated with string of beautiful flowers in front of their houses in beautiful patterns known as Onnapookkalam. People wear new clothes on this festival and a variety of dishes are prepared on this day to enjoy and savour. Atham is the first day of the Onam festival and the last day is called as Thiruvonam.
Makar Sankranti: Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th January every year. This is the festival that is celebrated throughout the country. This is the festival of harvest when the first harvest of the year is ploughed. This festival also marks the beginning of the spring in the country. It can also be said as the thanksgiving festival of India. There are many versions of Makar Sankranti like Pongal, Lohri, Uttaran, etc. People fly kites in the sky, eat til gud ke laddoos, and khichdi and til are the food to eat this day. It is a one day festival.
Ganesh Chaturthi: As per the Hindu mythology and the tradition, the festivals of India begins with this festival as Lord Shiva has stated it. All the auspicious and good work that Hindus do start with doing a small Ganesh puja or just by saying jai shree ganesh. This is mostly a 1 to 7 to 11 days festival that is celebrated through the country but majorly in Mumbai. Lord Ganesha is welcomes on the first day and after 3, 7, or 11 days, his idol is immersed to welcome him again, the next year. Modak is a sweet dish that is offered to God and others as the major prasad.
Hindus can live without anything but not without celebrating these grand festivals. We are constantly looking dates and waiting for these incredible festivals to celebrate. The arrival of the festivals brings joyous times in our lives and let us celebrate the good things forgetting the problems that we deal with.