Village Festivals of Jammu and Kashmir
'Shiv Khori Festival', 'Jhiri Fair' or 'Jhiri Festival', 'Khir Bhawani Festival' are some of the popular village festivals of Jammu & Kashmir. Jhiri Festival is celebrated at Jhiri Village which is about 20 kms away from Jammu during late October or November in the honour of Baba Jitto, a farmer who sacrificed his life instead of accepting the demands of the Zamindar. Observed in the Shiv Khori shrine based in Ransoo village, about 130 kms from Jammu, the Shiv Khori festival is celebrated during Mahashivaratri. Another significant festival here is the Khir Bhawani festival arranged at Khir Bhawani Temple, Tulla Mulla village which is dedicated to deity Ragnya Devi continues for 10 days. The local 'pundits' of Kashmir approach this temple during Navratra (Navaratri) and a 'Maha Yajna' is held in this festival.
On the other hand 'Urs' is a Muslim festival, mostly celebrated in the villages of Jammu and Kashmir. This is a typical Kashmiri festival held annually at the shrines of Muslim saints on their death anniversaries. Another important festival in the villages of Jammu and Kashmir is 'Sindhu Darshan'. The people worship the source of the Sindhu River in Leh during this festival. There are a few Buddhist festivals celebrated in the villages of north India like the 'Yuru Kabgyat'. 'Doscmoche' is another ancient festival that is still celebrated in the villages of Jammu and Kashmir every year with great pomp and fervour.
Village Festivals of Himachal Pradesh
'Dakhraini Festival' is observed in July and a grand feast is arranged by the villagers, after dancing in front of the village deity. Zongor and Loskar flowers are made into garlands and offered respectfully before the Goddess. A white flag marked with Buddhist 'mantras' is flown which represents a prayer for the peace of the dead. Celebrated in Kinnaur during September is 'Flaich Ukhayang' in which a fair is observed and floral garlands are offered to the deity, after it is carried in a procession. The Rajput people of the village sing and dance during the festival. They also worship the village deity on the third day of the festival, by bedecking him/her with all the finery along with the numerous flowers. 'Losar' is another village festival held in December to greet the new year wherein garlands of Chilgoza are clad by the family members. These garlands are also offered to the neighbours and 'losuma tashi' greetings are exchanged, which signify the greetings of a prosperous new year. The birth of male children is honoured in the form of 'Gochi Festival' observed in Bhaga Valley and children throw snow balls aimed at one another.
Another two major north Indian village festivals are 'Teej' and 'Sanjhi'. Both these festivals are celebrated in the villages of Himachal Pradesh. While Teej is a colourful festival where the girls and married women worship Lord Shiva and Parvati, Sanjhi is a festival where the unmarried girls worship Sanjhi as the Mother Goddess. They make the image of Sanjhi with mud using various shapes and worship the image.
Village Festivals of Punjab
'Baisakhi Fair' or 'Baisakhi Mela' is amongst the most renowned festivals of the rural parts of Punjab and it celebrates the prosperity associated with harvest. Villagers are dressed in their most fashionable attires and participate in various activities like acrobatics, races, wrestling bouts, singing and much more in the Baisakhi festival. Local handicrafts, bangles, toys and items of domestic utility are all exhibited and sold in Baisakhi Mela. The villagers perform various forms of folk dance and music during the festival. 'Gurupurab' is another major Sikh and Punjabi festival in north Indian villages. Rural people celebrate the birthdays and the martyrdom of reverend Sikh Gurus. This festival is celebrated by performing mock battles, display of swordsmanship and horse riding. 'Vaitha-Vatur-Truvah' is one of the major north Indian village festivals. This festival is celebrated in the villages of Punjab. People from all religious communities participate in the festival.
Village Festivals of Haryana
'Gangore' is also one of the popular north Indian village festivals during which, idols of 'Ishar' and Gangore are worshipped in Haryana. This spring festival is held in honour of Gauri, the Goddess of Abundance and is observed during the period between March and April. Attractive idols of Gauri are beautifully decked up and carried in a long procession along with the town band, and it progresses from village to village. Another important festival celebrated here is the 'Mansa Devi Mela' which is held in Bilaspur village close to Mani Majra. They are observed twice in a year, first during March to April and the second one during September till October.
Village Festivals of Uttar Pradesh
'Lathmar Holi' is a famous festival celebrated in the villages of Braj in Uttar Pradesh. This is one of the most notable north Indian village festivals and it has an ancient tradition. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna from Nandgaon used to come to Barsana to play Holi with Radha along with his 'Gopi' friends during this period. Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Hindu festivals are all observed here including 'Kartik Purnima', 'Baisakhi Purnima', 'Nag Panchami', 'Sheetla Ashtami', 'Krishna Janmastami', 'Makar Sankranti', 'Raksha Bandhan', 'Deepavali', 'Shivaratri', 'Ganesh Chaturthi', 'Ganga Dussehra', 'Vasant Panchami', 'Holi', 'Shab-e-Barat', 'Eid-ul-Adha', 'Barawafat', 'Eid Ul Fitr', 'Muharram', Christmas, Easter and Sikh festivals comprising Baisakhi, Martyr's Day of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Jain festival of 'Mahavir Jayanti', etc. The 'Ardh Kumbh Mela' and 'Kumbh Mela' are two of the most notable festivals of Uttar Pradesh.
Village Festivals of Uttarakhand
'Mata Murti Ka Mela' is another popular north Indian village festival held in the villages of Champavat region in Uttarakhand. This is a unique festival when the mother of Badrinath is worshipped. The 'Magh Mela' during Sankranti in the Kumaon region is also an important festival.
The major Muslim festivals like Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha, Muharram, etc. are celebrated in all the villages of north India and hence, are counted among the major north Indian village festivals. Christmas is the principal religious festival of the Christians and is celebrated in the villages of north India. The major festivals of other religions like Buddha Purnima of Buddhists, Mahavir Jayanti of Jains, etc. are also celebrated in the north Indian villages. Apart from all the above mentioned fairs and festivals, there are a few other north Indian village festivals that include Nagaur Fair, Desert Festival, Baneshwar Fair, Mewar Festival, Elephant Festival, Summer Festival, Pushkar Fair, Camel Festival, Lohri Festival, etc.
The north Indian village festivals are some of the most colourful and blissful festivals among all the villages in India. The people celebrate the festivals with lots of enthusiasm and cheerfulness.
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