India is home to 1.3 billion people speaking 780 different languages with various religious beliefs. It’s rich history dates back to 2500-1500 BC and in due course of time civilizations have engendered an extraordinary blend of stories and events which are celebrated as festivals in India even up to this day.
(image: Rath Yatra Celebrations)
The beginning of the Hindu new year is celebrated by Makar Sankranti at the beginning of spring by praying to God for a forthcoming bountiful harvest. Similarly, the Sikhs celebrate Lohri and Baishakhi in Northern India and Pongal in southern India thank nature for generous harvest. People draw floral patterns in the house and make sweets as well as light a bonfire to celebrate these festivals.
As we move further into spring, the festival of color-Holi is celebrated widely across the country and in recent times it has gained popularity in the western culture as well. Holi is filled with fun and frolic, people spraying colors at each other and engaging in dance and music but the festival signifies the love between Lord Krishna and Radha. As we move to the summer, the east Indian states celebrate world’s largest chariot festival-Rath Yatra.
Towards the end of the year, the Muslim community celebrates Eid after fasting for a month and they invite friends and family to an ostentatious spread of delicious food. Soon after Eid, Goddess Durga is welcomed to earth after defeating the evil in a four-day long celebration. As per the Hindu mythology Lord Ram and his wife Sita were exiled for 14 years when Sita was abducted by Ravan. The last day of Durga puja also remarks the victory of Lord Ram over Ravan to rescue his wife and after fourteen days they return to their home which is celebrated as the Diwali-“festival of lights.”
The year ends with cities embellished in Christmas decorations followed by the New Year Celebration parties. Hence, all year around India is celebrating an eclectic mix of cultures and their festivals.