(Last Updated on : 22/03/2013)
Punjab is the true cradle of the Indus Valley civilization. The state of Punjab astonishingly combines both antiquity and plenty. In fact the festivals of Punjab can be redefined as a spiritual canvas of soul stirring celebration. Not only that festivals in the state of Punjab make for unrestrained jollification. Punjab participates in almost all the festivals taking h place in the country. The festivals of Punjab would not only enliven your spirits but also would be a warm welcome from the monotonous schedule of your regular life. Festivals of almost all religions are celebrated with equal splendor and jollity in the state of Punjab. No one can shy away from the simple but the enthralling charm of the festive season of Punjab. The festivals of Punjab embody the robust and composite cultural heritage of our nation. The time of festivals is the ideal time to listen and watch the world`s renowned artists performing live; it will be a thrilling experience to listen the traditional music and folklore in the perfect ambiance.
Holi is indeed one of the most famous festivals of Punjab. The Sikh community of Punjab celebrates the `festival of colors`, Holi. In the state of Punjab this festival is popularly `Hola Mohalla`. This festival also provides them with an opportunity to exhibit their martial arts especially `kushti`. Fun and frolic are also redefined in various forms in the festive celebrations here. People greet each other with colors and thus enhance the feeling of harmony due to which happiness prevails. Mouthwatering sweetmeats are an essential part of the festivities.
The festival of Baisakhis is a very important one for the Punjabis in the state of Haryana and is celebrated with joyous music and dancing. It falls every year on 13th April and once in 36 years it falls on 14th April. It was on this particular day that the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, better known as Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa in the year 1699. The Sikhs on this day visits the Gurdwaras and listen to Kirtans. After the religious rites and traditions get over sweetened semolina is served to the masses. The function ends with `langar` or the community lunch. Mock duels and bands playing religious tunes form part of the processions. This festival is also marked as the last opportunity for relaxing before they start harvesting of corn.
Lohri is celebrated in the state of Punjab just before the day of Makar Sankranti and is one of the most celebrated festivals of Punjab. For the community of Punjabis the festival of Lohri is a very special festival. This auspicious and joyous festival celebrates fertility and the spark of life. The religious rites and traditions are observed with great devotion. All the locals gather round the bonfire throw sweets, puffed rice and popcorn into the flames. They also indulge themselves in merriment by singing songs and exchanging greetings. The first Lohri of a newly wedded bride and newly born child is extremely important.
The festival of Maghi comes just the day after the Lohri festival and is very popular with the entire Punjabi community. The locals go for a holy dip and give away a lot in charity. The special delicacies of this festival include kheer cooked in sugarcane juice. This festival in fact commemorates the heroic fight of the Chali Mukte or the Forty Liberated Ones who sacrificed their own lives to save the life of Guru Gobind Singh. Fairs are held in many regions of the state to observes the festival with much color and exuberance.
Diwali is one of the most special festivals of Punjab. In fact Diwali in this state is the time to rejoice and look forward to a bright future. People from all communities take part in this festival to make it a grand success. The lighting of lamps in this festival signifies the attainment of peace, health, love and knowledge. The rich and trading classes specially consider it as their own festival. In the remote villages of the state cattle are adorned and worshipped by the peasants as they form the main source of their livelihood. This festival also marks the anniversary of Guru Hargobindji who was released from the prison of Gwalior fort.
This festival is celebrated by the Sikhs to commemorate their gurus. During the whole year two major Guruparavs are held. The first Guruparav is held in the month of Kartika or in the months of October/November to celebrate the teachings of the pioneer of the Sikh religion. The second Guruparav is held in the month of Pausa or in the months of December/January to celebrate the birth of Guru Gobind Singh. On these days the Guru Granth Sahib is taken out in a procession in which the locals participate with much enthusiasm. The martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur and Guru Arjun Dev are also observed on both the days of this special festival. Non-stop religious discourses and recitations of the granths are held. Free meals also known as `langar` are served to the rich and poor alike.
This festival is celebrated in the month of Kartika according to the Hindu calendar or on the months of October/November according to the English calendar. The women-folk put a tika of saffron and rice grains on the foreheads of their brother to ward the evils out of their lives. They also dress up in fine costumes to perform the auspicious ceremony. While feeding their brothers with home made sweets they also sing and pray for their longevity and prosperity. In return the brother also reward them with some gifts or money as a token of love and affection.
This festival is celebrated on Sawan Sudi. It is celebrated to welcome the season of monsoon and is one of the popular festivals of Punjab. After the first showers of rainy season, a small insect called Teej in the state of Punjab comes out from the earth`s soil. All the girls are excused from the household chores on this day as they apply henna on their hands and feet. They also receive new clothes from their parents. The puja or the worship is performed early in the morning and the `baya`, which consists of various foodstuffs, is placed on a platter at the place of worship. A decorated `chowk` or square is also kept over there and an idol or picture of Goddess Parvati is installed. Different cultural performances are kept exclusively for the evening.
This festival is celebrated in Punjab with as much pomp and fervor as that of the whole country in the months of January/February according to English calendar. In this state Basant Panchami is celebrated to welcome the season of spring after the dead and decay of the winter season. The fragrance of the yellow mustard flowers creates a sensation of romantic vive infecting the spirit of the Punjabis. People welcome the change and celebrate this joyous festival with much ebullience and exuberance. They indulge themselves completely in the festive mood by wearing yellow outfits and holding grand feasts. The main attraction of this festival is kite flying.