14 Most Widely Celebrated Festivals of India

popular festivals of india

Eager to know the most popular festivals of India? Read on...

Someone said, "The festivals are like a map charting our spiritual progress in God." India is the world's largest democratic country that makes us culture rich and country with most religious festivities. India being the unity in diversity, people of different religion practice their customs and festivals with high spirits together.

Festivals in India shares a message of unity, good over evil, joy, and happiness. So a statutory warning, have any plans to visit India then do not miss out any Indian festivals.

Being said India has hundreds of festivals, this piece of article is dedicated to only those which are celebrated almost all over India, not state-wide. Below are some of those festivals which are most popular in India.

Popular Festivals of India

1. Holi

holi festival

Every year the month of March begins with colorful enthusiasm, we call it Holi.

Holi is a festival of colors and is celebrated in 2 days span time. On the first day, we light bonfires and circle around it (Holika Dahan).

The next morning we apply Gulal (colored powder) to each other and soak everyone with water, water balloons and water pistols (weapons for children). Also, we greet each other and eat sweets and enjoy the whole day.

2. Diwali

diwali festival

Diwali is also known as the festival of lights, it is usually celebrated in October or November (date varies year to year). It is the most popular festival in India.

The duration of this festival varies from North to South. It is a Hindu festival which is celebrated to give us a message of victory of good over evil. Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of wealth) is worshipped this day.

People begin preparing for Diwali a month before, starting with the cleaning of their homes thoroughly,  electric series, oil lamps (diyas) are bought, buy new clothes.

One to two days before Diwali people buy firecrackers and sweets.

Then on the eve of Diwali India glitters like gold at night, elders at home perform worshiping or pujas and distribute sweets and after that children and elders comes together to light crackers.

We keep our homes and shops open, so the Goddess of wealth, Laxmi would walk in and give her blessings. We leave the lightings for the whole night. We do this for 5 days in a row.

3. Dussehra

dussera festival

Before the arrival of Diwali Hindus celebrate the festival of Dussehra also known as Vijayadashmi that signifies the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and also Goddess Durga over demon Mahishasura.

It's a 10-day celebration of singing and dancing which falls in September and October.

In the northern part of India, Ramleela is held which narrates how Lord Rama killed Ravana, whereas in the eastern part of India festival is celebrated as Durga Puja.

On the 10th day, we reach to crescendo and light up Ravana, Meghnath, and Kumbhkaran (Ravan Dahan).

4. Mahashivratri

mahashivratri festival

Shivaratri is one of the major festivals of Hindus and is celebrated all over India. Maha Shivaratri or the great night of Shiva is celebrated to commemorate the end of ignorance over darkness over one's life.

On this great night we chant prayers, do fasting and medication. The passionate devotees keep awake all night and offer prayers, also called jaagaran.

The celebration takes place in the month of February or March.

Significance of Maha Shivaratri is depicted by different legends. According to the legend, on this eve Shiva and Parvati got married.

5. Ramadan

ramdan festival

In Islam Ramadan is the month of fasting, during this time all Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking during the day time.

It is a gesture of Muslims' dedication to their God which they do by fasting and offer prayers.

According to Muslims, this was the month when their holy book Quran was revealed to Muhammad, an Islamic prophet.

During this month people do not eat or drink in the daytime, but at night they enjoy feasting and festivities.

The end of Ramadan is marked with Eid-ul-Fitr, which means breaking of fast. On this day all Muslims embrace each other and wishes Eid Mubarak.

6. Raksha Bandhan

rakhsha bandhan

Loveliest and affectionate among all festivals is Rakhsha Bandhan which shows the bond of affection between brothers and sisters.

It is the festival of Hindu but all people from other religions take part in it. Can you imagine a bond which is held just by a mere thin thread? Yes, this is the beauty of Raksha Bandhan Festival.

On this day, sisters tie rakhis to their brothers and pray to God to protect their brothers from evil and wrongdoings and in return brothers make a promise to protect their sisters from whatever harms comes in their way.

7. Navratri

navratri festival

Nav means nine and Ratri means night, the festival of nine nights is called Navratri. These nine days are devoted to 3 Goddesses; Goddess Durga, Goddess Laxmi, and Goddess Saraswati.

This festival is celebrated either in September or October.

During these 9 days, Hindus fast and feast on selected items. Gujarati people perform their traditional dance "Garba" and "Dandiya" during Navratri.

They wear colorful and traditional dresses and enjoy the night dancing and singing with high spirits.

8. Durga Puja

durga puja

Unlike Navratri, Durga Puja is celebrated by Bengalis in Kolkata, West Bengal. It is the most celebrated festival in India, but Bengalis celebrate it with grandeur.

Huge and beautiful Durga idols are crafted and placed in big pandals and in those pandals, we play cultural songs, perform dances and drama for 10 days. It usually falls in October.

The whole Kolkata is decorated with lights and people visit pandals to offer their prayers.

9. Krishna Janmashtami

krishna janmashtami

Janmashtami is again the most colorful and energetic among all festivals in India. Mathura and Brindavan and Vrindavan are famous for celebrating Janmashtami.

It's a birth celebration of Lord Krishna. On this day people offer prayers and festivities in temples and fast whole day and break after evening.

People also play one sport on this eve, Dahi Handi, with immense zeal and excitement. A clay pot is filled with buttermilk and is hung very high above the ground.

The members of the team build a pyramid by standing over the shoulder of other teammates and try to reach the pot to break it.

10. Ganesh Chaturthi

ganesh chaturthi

The birth of Lord Ganesha is celebrated as Ganesh Chaturthi, is a 10-day celebration.

Hugely crafted Ganesha idols are placed in pandals and people also take small idols of Ganesha to their homes and offer worship morning and evening until the last day which is called Visarjan or immersion ceremony.

Many cultural activities are held during this period such as dancing, singing, drama, free medical camps and more.

Ganesh Chaturthi festival is celebrated all over India, but in Maharashtra, it is celebrated with ardor and happiness.

11. Baisakhi

baisakhi festival

Baisakhi is a festival which is primarily celebrated in the northern part of India specifically by the Sikh community of Punjab. They celebrate to welcome the season of harvesting.

This festival also holds the importance in India as it commemorates the day when Guru Gobind Singh Ji, tenth Guru of Sikhs, laid the foundation of Khalsa Panth.

It is celebrated with folk dance Bhangra and Punjabi festivities.

12. Easter

easter festival

One of the most important festivals of Christians. Jesus Christ after the crucifixion was resurrected and this day is celebrated as Easter.

Easter gained popularity during the rule of Britishers, French and Portuguese rule. It is celebrated on March or April.

On this day people make Simmel and cakes, do colorful decorations, dance, sings, and gift Easter eggs to each other. The best places to see this lovely festival is places with Christian majorities such as Kerela, Goa and Pudducherry.

13. Christmas

christmas festival

This is another festival like Diwali and Holi which is enjoyed by everyone throughout India from almost all communities, celebrated on 25th December of each year.

Christmas Eve is celebrated as the birth date of Jesus. It is also popular among children.

A special tree is decorated (usually spruce or pine) with garlands, shiny and colored balls, hanging stars and candles.

Both children and elders take part in decorating it. Santa Claus is the main attraction among children.

Cities are lit with electric lights, parties are held, and the tourist places are decorated to allure tourists.

You can enjoy Christmas anywhere in India, but you can explore Mumbai, Goa, Dehli, Kerela, Pudducherry, Shillong and Kolkata for vast celebrations.

14. Onam

onam festival

Onam is the biggest festival among South Indians and is celebrated with passion in the southern part of India.

It is one of the main harvest festivals in South India in which Hindus offer prayers and feasts are the main highlights.

The best place to celebrate Onam is Kerela.

On this day, people decorate their homes with flowers and make beautiful patterns on the ground in front of their homes, buy new colorful clothes, feasts, dances (Kathakali) and sports (especially boat races).

Conclusion: These are some popular festivals of India which are celebrated with passion and enthusiasm. Festive seasons are celebrated throughout the year, so if you're planning to explore India you will be fortunate to see at least one or two festivals of India. If you are looking for any particular festival then plan accordingly.

F.A.Qs on Festivals of India

How many festivals are celebrated in India?

India is the biggest democratic country in the World, so every religion has complete freedom to follow their traditions and customs. Each religion has its own number of festivals, so festivals are celebrated country wise and state wise, they are around 30-40 festivals.

What is the most popular Indian festival?

Diwali, Holi, Christmas, Ramadan, Baisakhi, etc. are some main festivals of India, to know more please read the whole article.

What is our national festival?

India is the symbol of cultural diversity and colorful festivals have 3 national festivals:
Republic Day.
Independence Day.
Gandhi Jayanti.

Why should we celebrate festivals?

Festivals in India are celebrated due to several reasons such as paying respect to our brave freedom fighters and leaders (Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Subash Chandra Bose and much more), victory of good over evil, keeping alive our culture and customs, fill our heart with colorful joy and happiness.

Festivals give us an opportunity to gather around and share joy and cheer and take a break from the daily busy routine. On festivals, we visit our relatives and friends and spread faith, love, and respect which increases the bond between us.

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