(Last Updated on : 24/09/2013)
of West Bengal
include the diverse cultures and traditions prevalent in this Eastern Indian state
, which are manifested through the various types of festivals celebrated here. Durga Puja
, Nabo Borsho or Bengali New Year, Jagadhatri Puja
, Eid Ul Fitr
, Gurpurab are a few of the several festivals of West Bengal.
Bengali New Year
Also known as `Naba Borsho`, the Bengali New Year is a much-awaited festival of West Bengal. It is the New Year celebration of the Bengali community and is celebrated in the month of `Baisakh` or in the month of April. It is an extreme joyous occasion for the Bengalis and the businessmen in particular. It is a great time for visiting the temples
and relatives, making offerings, buying new clothes, greeting people and much more.
The festive celebration of Holi
also known as `Dol Utsav`, in the state of West Bengal is almost similar to that of Orissa
except for some minor aspects. The other names by which the festival of Holi is popular in this state are `Dol Purnima`, `Vasant Utsav`. This festival was started in this state by the far-famed pet laureate Rabindranath Tagore
at the Visva- Bharati University
of which he was the pioneer. The youth of the state not only welcomes the season of spring with colours and sweets but also by chanting of hymns and other devotional songs. Holika is burnt in the evening as the symbol of the victory of good over evil.
The Ratha Yatra festival celebrated in the region of Mahesh few miles away from Kolkata
in the state of West Bengal, attracts lakhs of tourists from all over the state as well as across the country. This day is considered as very auspicious and marks the start of the sowing season for the monsoon crop throughout Eastern India. Grand fairs are held throughout the state.
Janmashtami is celebrated in West Bengal with much exuberance and ebullience to mark the birth of the Lord of Love, Lord Krishna
. It falls on the day of Ashtami in the Sharavan month according to the Hindu calendar. In the Krishna temples `Raslila`
is performed to recreate incidents from the life of Krishna and to commemorate his love for Radha
This is one of the popular festivals of West Bengal and marks the love and affection between brothers and sisters. On this special day the sisters tie a colourful band on the wrists of their brothers with the belief that this will bring peace, success and good health to their brother`s life throughout the year. The brothers also take a vow on their part to protect their sister against all perils. They also present their sisters with some gifts as a token of love.
Durga Puja is the most important festival of West Bengal. The familiar sounds of drums
or `Dhak`, the `Dhunuchi nach`, the mild fragrance of the shiuli blossoms captures every Bengali heart. This festival is observed in the months of September or October. Bengalis believe that the advent of Goddess Durga,
along with her children from her icy abode in Kailash to her maternal house is believed to bring prosperity among the rich and poor alike.
This festival is celebrated in the state of West Bengal with as much grandeur as in the other states. It is a festival purely dedicated to the love and affection between brothers and sisters. Brothers bless their sisters and also promise to protect them from all hardships. The celebration of `Bhatri Dwitiya` or Bhai Fota in this state can be redefined as a bond that speaks of sensitivity and timeless relationship.
The worship of Goddess Kali
makes the festival of Diwali
in the state of West Bengal very unique. The houses and temples all over the state are vivaciously decorated and lit with oil lamps, candles or `diyas`. All the family members gather around in the evening for the worship of Goddess Lakshmi
. In this state the Diwali festival stretches over a period of three days. The first two days mainly comprises of feasting, gambling, drinking, family foregathering, lighting of fire crackers and other such activities. The celebrations and lights are much less on the final day of `Amavasya
`. Exchange of gifts and greetings also form a vital part of the festivities.
This festival is celebrated with much fun and frolic in the Bengali month of Kartik or in the English month of November. In the region of Chandannaga
, near Kolkata huge pandals are built and decorated with lights. The illumination part makes the festive celebrations of Chandannagar rightly take pride in its highly rich heritage and tradition of art and culture. This festival bridges the past and the present.
This is the most splendid Christian festival of West Bengal. In the `City of Joy` the Christmas festivities continues till the New Year. From the month of November itself, part of the Maidan
in central Kolkata is converted to fairgrounds. Brightly decorated Christmas trees
can be observed in the houses of many and also the churches. The city resonates with an assortment of fairs and cultural performances. The spirit of Christmas comes alive in Christmas carols that rend the air.
This is one of the most devotional festivals of West Bengal and the worship of Goddess Saraswati
is held at a time when the winter comes to an end and the spring begins. Amidst the pleasant weather the worship of Goddess Saraswati starts early in the morning with `aarti`
and chanting of various`mantra`
s. This festival is celebrated in all schools and colleges and the youth can be seen participating in the puja with much enthusiasm.
This is one of the Muslim festivals
of West Bengal and commemorates the martyrdom of the Prophet`s grandsons, Hasan and Hussain in the battle of Karbala in Arabia. The Sunni sect
of Muslims carries on a warlike procession enacting mock fights and exhibitions of prowess. The Shia sect
of Muslims also takes out processions of mourning with men and women all dressed in black and singing especially composed elegies.
This is one of the most important Muslim festivals of West Bengal and is celebrated in the state with as much fervour and enthusiasm as it is celebrated all over the country. This propitious festival marks the end of the month of Ramzan. After a full month of fasting the Muslims of West Bengal look forward to the festive celebration with a heart full of cheerful ideas. They prepare elaborate feasts and organize fairs for rejoicing and enjoyment. The Muslims also assemble for religious discourses, which are regarded as a main part of the observances.
This festival is also known as Id-Ul-Korbab or Bakri-Id and is one of the compulsory Muslim festivals of West Bengal. Animal sacrifice is one of the chief features of this festival. The mythological basis of the observance is related to Prophet Abraham of the Old Testament.
Other Festivals of West Bengal
Inhabitants of West Bengal celebrate innumerable types of other festivals which involve Ganesh Chaturthi
, Kalpataru Utsab
, Guru Purnima, Buddha Purnima, Jamai Shashthi
, Sna na Yatra, Bipattarini Brata, Jhulan Yatra
, Shab-e-Barat, Vishwakarma
Puja, Annakut Utsav, Kartik
Puja, Itu Puja, Charak Puja
, Gajan and Charak Puja. `Lohri`
and `Gurpurab` (Gurparab implying the birthday of Guru Nanak
, the Sikh Guru
) are the different Sikh festivals
which are observed here.