Famous Festivals of Maharashtra
Some of the famous Festivals of Maharashtra are discussed below:
The patron deity of the state of Maharashtra, Lord Ganesha is worshipped on this day in August. Ganesh Chaturthi 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.
Nag Panchami 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. The area of Sangli, Maharashtra is renowned for snake catchers.
The full moon day of the month of Shravan according to the Hindu calendar is celebrated as ‘Narali Pournima’. This festival is so named because of the offerings of coconuts 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 festivals of brothers and sisters, Raksha Bandhan is also observed on the same day.
Gokul Ashtami reflects the real verve of the festivals in Maharashtra. Gokul Ashtami marks the birth of Lord Krishna. A preparation of flattened rice and curd known as ‘Gopal Kala’ is made on this day. A fun filled ritual is performed on this day known as ‘Dahi Handi’ in which clay pots stuffed with curd, puffed rice and milk are strung up high on the streets. A group of enthusiastic young men and women form human pyramids and try to reach these and break them open.
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 flowersand 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.
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, regarded as an integral part of the occupation of agriculture are worshipped with much devotion and dedication. They are bathed, colourfully decorated and then taken out in the processions accompanied by the music of drumbeats and another musical instrument called ‘lehzim’. The peasant folk participate in it with much enthusiasm and excitement.
Cultural Festivals of Maharashtra
Some of the Cultural Festivals of Maharashtra are discussed below:
A small island near the capital of the state, Mumbai known as Elephanta. 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 is organised as a musical tribute to Lord Rama and aims to safeguard the rich cultural heritage of this Indian state. 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.
Pune Festival was originally conceived as a localized cultural event in Pune. In the recent times it has evolved into one of the nation's landmark cultural happenings. This is a week-long festival that provides a feast of entertainment to promote the modern trends as well as to relish the ancient heritage of Maharashtra.
The Ellora-Ajanta Festival is organized by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) every year in December and is a well accepted festival in Maharashtra. Surrounded by thousand years old cave, artists perform in this exquisite backdrop to please both the divine creations and the divinity.
The Kalidas Festival is celebrated during the month of November, at Nagpur's Ramtek 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.
Other Festivals of Maharashtra Besides the above festivals other festivals are also observed in Maharashtra including ‘Vasant Panchami’, ‘Vat Pournima’, ‘Diwali’, ‘Holi’, ‘Palkhi Festival’, ‘Jiviti Puja’, ‘Dussehra’, ‘Bhaubeej’ and so on.