(Last Updated on : 27/11/2014)
are a true reflection of the culture and tradition of the state
with all its multi-hued customs and rituals
. Maharashtra is a state where a millennium of culture weaves a tapestry of myriad charms. For the people of Maharashtra who are regarded as very vibrant natured, all the festivals are celebrated with ardent fervour and enthusiasm. The Maharashtrian calendar is dotted with a year long procession of festivals. Their love for festive celebration is well portrayed through the various festive occasions.
Ganesh Chaturthi Festival of Maharashtra
The patron deity of the state of Maharashtra, Lord Ganesha
is worshipped on this day in August. This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the state and the eleven days festival begins with the installation of beautifully sculptured Ganesh idols in homes and 'Mandaps' or large tents, which are beautifully decorated depicting religious themes. Many cultural events are also organized and the people participate in them with much enthusiasm. After Ganesh Chaturthi
gets over the huge idols of the Lord are taken out in a procession and then immersed into the nearby lake
Nag Panchami Festival of Maharashtra
is celebrated in the honour of the 'Snake God
' and is one of the most important festivals in Maharashtra. As the worship of the Snake God forms an important ritual of the inhabitants of Maharashtra, clay icons of cobras are venerated in homes. Milk
are offered to the snake deity by the devotees while several snake charmers carry big cobras inside baskets. Thereafter, offerings are collected from the people. The women
folk apply henna
on their hands and feet and indulge themselves in various cultural performances. The area of Sangli
, Maharashtra is renowned for snake catchers.
Narali Pournima Festival of Maharashtra
The full moon day of the month of Shravan
according to the Hindu
calendar is celebrated in different parts of the state and has been renamed as 'Narali Pournima
', 'Rakhi Pournima', 'Shravani Pournima' or ' Raksha Bandhan
'. This festival is so named because of the offerings of coconut
s made by the people to the Sea-God on this day. This festival also marks the advent of the new fishing season and the appeasement of the Sea-God follows before the fisher-folk sail out on their beautifully embellished boats. The festival also calls for unrestrained jollity. The festivals of brothers and sisters, Raksha Bandhan is also observed on the same day.
Gokul Ashtami Festival of Maharashtra
Gokul Ashtami marks the birth of the 'Lord of Love', Lord Krishna
. On this day most of the devotees fast till the span when the birth of Lord Krishna is announced. A preparation of flattened rice
known as 'Gopal Kala' is made on this day. Another fun filled ritual which is performed on this day is 'dahi-handi' which is actually clay pots
stuffed with curd, puffed rice and milk and strung up high on the streets. One would also be delighted to see a group of enthusiastic young men and women form human pyramids and try to reach these and break them open. Gokul Ashtami thus clearly reflects the real verve of the festivals in Maharashtra.
Gudhi Padwa Festival of Maharashtra
This festival is generally observed as the Hindu New Year celebrations by the Maharashtrians. 'Gudhi' is a victory symbol characterized by a bamboo
stick with a coloured silk
cloth and garlanded with flowers
and sweet meats. On the first day of the New Year the Maharashtrians erect the gudhis on Padwa. This is also regarded as one of the most auspicious days according to the Hindu traditions. The true aura of the festivals in Maharashtra finds an articulate dimension with this Gudhi Padwa
. The New Year is welcomed by offering prayers to Hindu deities
and distributing 'Prasad
' composed of jaggery, gram-pulse and neem
Pola Festival of Maharashtra
This is a harvest festival and is celebrated all over the state of Maharashtra especially in the rural regions. On this special day the bullocks are regarded as an integral part of the occupation of agriculture
are worshipped with much devotion and dedication. First of all they are bathed, colourfully decorated and then taken out in the processions accompanies by the music
of drumbeats and another musical instrument
called 'lehzim'. The peasant folk participate in it with much enthusiasm and excitement.
Diwali Festival of Maharashtra
The 'festival of lights' is celebrated in the state of Maharashtra in a much different manner than the rest of the country. Diwali
is one of the much awaited festivals in Maharashtra and is celebrated in a conventional way. In a traditional Marathi family, the Diwali celebrations start with 'Vasu-baras' that falls on the 'Ashwin Krushna Dwadashi' tithi according to the Marathi calendar. During this festival perform worship in the honour of mother-cows having calves which in turn represents gratitude towards cow for serving them and their children.
Holi Festival of Maharashtra
The Maharashtrians have their unique and grand style of celebrating the 'festival of colours'. Holi
is known in this state by the name of 'Shimga' or 'Rang Panchami' and is particularly popular among the fisher-folk. This festival of Maharashtra calls for unrestrained merry-making. On this special day the people of this state make bonfire and burn the effigy of Holika to signify the victory of good over evil. The flavour of the festival is well consumed with delicacies like 'Puran Poli'.
Makar Sankranti Festival of Maharashtra
The term 'sankranti' means the passing away of one zodiac
sign to the other. The people of Maharashtra celebrates this festival with equal zest and excitement and is therefore reckoned as one of the traditional festivals in Maharashtra. They exchange good wishes and greetings on this day. Sweet and crunchy 'laddoos' made of sesame and jaggery known as 'tilgul' forms the favourite delicacies.
Dussehra Festival of Maharashtra
This much awaited festival in Maharashtra celebrates the victory of good over evil and is observed in a multitude of colours in the state. It is not only considered as a very auspicious day for the start of a new venture but also the time for worship of tools of trade, machinery, vehicles, books and weapons. As the evening falls the villagers gather together to worship the Shami tree
. The leaves of the Apta tree are exchanged among relatives and friends as gold during Dussehra
Vasant Panchami Festival of Maharashtra
After a successful winter harvest the people of Maharashtra get ready to welcome the season of spring through Vasant Panchami
. Bonfires are lit during the night time and the people are believed to worship the Fire
-God who is also believed to ward off the evil. During the festive celebration on the next day people greet each other with colours and plenty of music, dance
and sweets serve to enhance the festive spirit.
Elephanta Festival of Maharashtra
A small island near the capital of the state, Mumbai known as Elephanta
forms the most favourite destination for the culture lovers and it is here that the Elephanta festival
, held in February makes its presence felt every year amidst much enthusiasm and excitement. Every year the renowned dancers and musicians
enthral the audience with their exquisite performance, particularly outside the Elephanta Caves
Banganga Festival of Maharashtra
This festival is held every year in the month of January at Banganga. It is in this popular festival that several talented artists from all over the nation present their superb cultural performances before enthusiastic crowds. The renowned cultural enthusiasts attend this cultural performance to make it a grand success. Banganga Festival is organised as a musical tribute to Lord Rama
and aims to safeguard the rich cultural heritage of this Indian state.
Pune Festival of Maharashtra
Festival was originally conceived as a localized cultural event. But in the due course of time it has gained national importance. In the recent times it has evolved into one of the nation's landmark cultural happenings. This festival is also regarded as a unique platform for the exponents of cultural dance and music. This week long festival provides a feast of entertainment
to promote the modern trends as well as to relish the ancient heritage of Maharashtra. Modern and traditional sports events, handicrafts, textile and regional cuisines of Maharashtra
are also available during this festival.
Ellora Festival of Maharashtra
The Ellora festival is organized by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation or MTDC every year in December and is a well accepted festival in Maharashtra. Renowned artists from all over the nation participate in this festival. Surrounded by thousand years old cave, artists perform in this exquisite backdrop to please both the divine creations and the divinity. Dancers and musicians perform cultural programmes amidst the beautiful background of Kailash Temple
Kalidas Festival of Maharashtra
The Kalidas Festival is celebrated during the month of November, at Nagpur
region in the honour of the famous Sanskrit
poet and dramatist Kalidasa
. Talented theatre artists, dancers and musicians deliver their power-plugged performances at this part of the country, commemorating its rich arts and heritage. The festival continues for two days and nights.
Other Festivals of Maharashtra
Besides the above festivals other festivals are also observed in Maharashtra including 'Vat Pournima', 'Palkhi Festival', 'Jiviti Puja', 'Bhaubeej' and so on.