India is home to festivals. Each festival has its importance and is celebrated in different ways across the country. Holi and Diwali are emblematic festivals of India. There are many other festivals which are celebrated with equal enthusiasm and zeal and many of them are celebrated extensively. Here we have curated the widely celebrated most loved three festivals in India. And, this is the best time to travel across India to enjoy the festivities.
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Let’s start with the famous Indian longest celebrated festivals.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten days long Hindu festival starts with welcoming Lord Ganesha. Also known as Vinayaka Chavithi and Vinayaka Chaturthi, the festival begins on Shukla Chaturthi and ends on Anant Chaturdashi. Different stories state the importance of Ganesh Chaturthi.
One of that says Goddess Parvati asked her son Vinayak to guard her door while she takes a bath. Meanwhile, Lord Shiva came and protested Vinayak to let him go inside and meet the goddess. When Vinayak did not agree to him, to this God Shiva got angry and severed his head. On seeing this Goddess Parvati asked Shiva to get her son back. Lord Shiva sent his man on earth and asked him to get head of a person or animal that he sees first on the land. The man got elephants head, and Vinayak got his life back with an elephant head.
Another story states that a group of Devas went to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati seeking their help to fight with Asuras. On this Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati created Ganesha as a Vighanharta thus, he got his name Vighnaharta.
Ganesha has more than 100 names amongst which Vinayak, Ganpati, and Lambodar are famous among the mass. During the ten days festivals, mainly four rituals continue, which are Pranapratishhtha, Shhodashopachara, Uttarpuja, and Ganpati Visarjan. The celebration begins with Pranapratishhtha to infuse the deity into the idol, whereas Shhodashopachara means paying tribute to the lord in 16 different forms. Devotees can shift the idols after Uttarpuja, and on last day people bid him adieu with a heavy heart.
In Maharashtra and many other parts of the country, people celebrate this festival. Devotees decorate the huge Pandals and worship the idols of Lord Ganesha and offer him his special sweet known as Modak.
Onam is Malayalis traditional festival. It is an annual harvest festival which falls at the end of the August or in the beginning of the September also known as the first month of Malayalam calendar- Chingam. This is one of the longest festival celebrated for ten days. People wear new dresses, decorate their homes with lamps and many music and dance events takes place to celebrate the festival. People sing traditional song Onappaattu and celebrate the festival with great enthusiasm.
The festival is celebrated in honor of Mahabali, who once ruled the state. During his era, people were happy, and the state enjoyed great prosperity and wealth. The golden age ended with his death. On seeing his honesty and generosity, Lord, Vishnu granted him a wish that every year he can visit his kingdom.
To mark the celebration, people lay flower carpet, which is called Pookalam outside of their house to welcome the king and lord Vishnu. Different festivities like snack boat race, Kaazhchakkula, Kaikottikkali, Puli Kali and Onappottan, and many more rituals are performed. The ritual is concluded with Onam Sadya. The dishes are served on the banana leaves, and it consists of 4 different dishes and rice along with its traditional pickle, papadam, and a dessert-Payasam is served. The ten days of festivals have different names such as Atham, Chodi, Chithira, Vishakam, Thriketa, Anizham, Pooradam, Thiruvonam, and Uthradom.
Dusshera/ Vijya Dashmi
This Hindu festival is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Rama over devil Ravana. The day is marked on the 10th day of Shukla Paksha and is widely celebrated in North India. Lord Rama was exiled for 14 years; he left his kingdom along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman. They started living in a village, where the Devil Ravana saw Sita, and he abducted her. The king of Srilanka, Ravana, took Sita in his country. Lord Rama, along with his supporters-vanar sena, traveled to Sri Lanka and killed Ravana.
Ravana was one of the most intelligent humans on the land. He was blessed with ten heads and a blessing that nobody can kill him. However, Lord Rama killed him, and thus, the day is also known as Vijayadashami.
To celebrate the day people perform different rituals, and during the ten days, the story of Ramayana is showcased in the forms of plays called Ramleela. On the last day, the effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkarana and son Megnatha are set on fire. The festival has a different importance throughout the country.
Dussehra is a culmination of Navratri, which means nine days. Each day is associated with different forms of Goddess Durga. In north India, Ashtami and Navami (8th and 9th day) are celebrated as Kanya puja, where little girls are offered food and gifts. In Bengal, the same days are celebrated as Durga Puja whereas in Gujrat it is marked as dandiya nights.
India is known for its festival. Each state has its traditional festival, which is celebrated with much enthusiasm and vigor. However, there are primarily three festivals which are celebrated for ten days which are Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam and Dushhera/Vijaydashmi.