The festivals of the state of Himachal Pradesh are in fact characterized by joyous ceremonies, enthusiasm paralleled with ample fun and celebration. Not only that during the festive celebrations the rich and the poor alike assemble together to enhance the spirit of their festive moods. There are some festivals, which are even linked with the lifestyle of the people, change of seasons and harvesting.
Different Festivals of Himachal Pradesh
Following are the different festivals of Himachal Pradesh:
Halda festival: The festival of Halda is celebrated with much joy in the Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh. It is observed in the month of January according to the English calendar and the Lamas decide the exact date of this festival. This festival is observed in the honour of 'Shiskar Apa', the Goddess of Wealth. The localities of Lahaul indulge themselves in a private celebration during this festival.
Sazo festival: It is the most looked-for festival of Himachal Pradesh. Sazo is well-known to bid farewell to the village deities. In this festival, the doors of the temples stay closed but the cart of God and Goddesses remain open. It is said that on this day, different deities dwell to heaven for a short sleep.
Lossar festival: This festival is celebrated in the Lahaul district and is also known as the Tibetan New Year. It is celebrated to welcome the season of winter. The blessing of the local deity is desired by the people of this region to make the season happy and prosperous. The traditional dances and an unbelievable rich imagery form a special feature of the Lossar festival. The most spectacular cultural performances takes place in the Buddhist monasteries of Lahaul.
Doongri Festival: Doongri festival or ‘Hadimba Devi fair’ is renowned in Kullu in honour of and to rejoice Hadimba Devi’s birthday. A vast fair is organized on this day. In the festival one can catch glances of dance and musical performances by confined artists.
Mandi Shivaratri Fair: Maha Shivratri Festival is organized in Mandi. Since the temple is a dwelling to 81 temples of Lord Shiva, Mandi sees pace of more than 200 devotees on the day of Shivratri. The festival is also known as a Mandi Shivratri festival.
Nalwari Fair: Nalwari fair is a huge platform for all the livestock traders to meet and do business. The chief attraction of the Nalwari Festival is the Bullock trade. This week long festival attracts traders, business men and tourist from all across India.
Phulaich festival: The festival of Phulaich is celebrated throughout the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh in the month of September according to the English Calendar. This festival is locally known as 'Ookayand' of 'Ukyam', a combination of two words 'Oo' and 'Kaayang'. This is also known as the 'Festival of Flowers'. This is an eight-day festival during which the local God is embellished with colourful cloths and jewels and on the last day of this festival the local deity is brought back to the temple and a goat and lamb is sacrificed.
Lohri festival: Lohri also known as ‘Maghi’ is celebrated in the Kullu region of Himachal Pradesh in the mid-January. The festival of Lohri commemorates the last sowing of 'Rabi' crops. The warmth of the fire inside the house contrasts well with the chilled weather outside. 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 indulge themselves in merriment by singing songs and exchanging greetings.
Ladarcha Festival: The celebration is organized to build up the industrial relationship between India and Tibet. The fair attracts a lot of regional traders, local inhabitants, and tourist from across the world.
Kullu Dussehra: Dussehra celebration in Kullu is not related to the celebration in other parts of the country because no figure of Ravana or Kumbhkarna is burned. The conventional Kullu Dussehra is organized in the month of October and gets off a stunning start with the traditional demonstration of Lord Raghunathji.
Chet Festival: Chet festival also recognized as ‘Dholru’ and ‘Chatrali’ in local regions of state is held in the first month of the lunar year. The day is considered very significant and celebrated with much fervour by people.
Jagra festival: It is another holy celebration in Himachal Pradesh which is held on the fourth day of September every year. On this festival people proffer their devotion to any village deity throughout singing and dancing for God. Deity of Mahasu Devta is worshipped in regions of Shimla, Kinnaur and Sirmaur.
Nawala festival: The festival of Nawala is mostly a ritual conducted to show thankfulness towards Lord Shiva who is worshipped in misfortune and danger. The fest is held when households run to collect sufficient money for celebration and after that people pay tribute to Lord Shiva the entire night.
Haryali festival: It is also recognized as Shegtsum in Lahaul, Dhakhrain in Jubbal and Kinnaur. Few days before the festival, seeds of five to seven kinds of grains are sown together in small basket full of earth by any member of the family near the place of the family deities.
Chrewal festival: It is also recognized as ‘Prithvi Pooja’ in some places. In Kullu, this festival is known as ‘Badranjo’. In Chamba, it is called ‘Pathroru’. It is a festival of flowers.
Sair festival: It is celebrated in the month of September in new Himachal. Rich food is practised on the first day of the month and people worship their local deity for flourishing future.
Jidjed festival: It is a spiritual festival and it takes place in the month of October at 'Thang-gyud Monastery'.
Gochi festival: It is a festival organised in Gumrang Kothi in Keylong and adjoining areas. This festival is celebrated together by all the families.
Other general festivals of Himachal Pradesh are Diwali, Holi, Raakhi, Shivratri, Baisakhi etc. These Fairs and Festivals in Himachal Pradesh are the greatest way to get close to the local life of the state.