(Last Updated on : 17-12-2009)
The West Indian villages are counted amongst the most colourful and exotic villages all over India. The villages in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra, etc. comprise the West Indian villages. Several fairs and festivals are celebrated in these villages round the year and the West Indian village festivals are best known for the active participation of people from all strata of society.
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most notable and widely celebrated West Indian village festivals. This festival is celebrated to worship the God of wisdom and good fortune, Ganesh and it is an eleven-day long festivity participated by all in the society. The villagers perform various cultural activities during this festival including music, dance, drama, theatre, orchestra, plays, skits, etc. The other major festivals celebrated all over India like Diwali, Holi, Dussehra, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha, Muharrum, Christmas, Buddha Purnima, etc. are also celebrated in the West Indian villages.
Another major West Indian village festival is the Gangaur festival celebrated in the villages of Rajasthan. The women of the villages bring home the Gauri, wife of Shiva and worship her during this festival. The Mewar festival is another village festival that welcomes the spring and it is a great visual feast to the tourists, as they can enjoy the Rajasthani songs, dances, processions, devotional music and firework displays. Urs is another major festival of people from the Muslim community in the villages of west India. The tribal communities in West Indian villages celebrate the Baneshwar Fair in the month of February. The fair is dedicated to Lord Shiva and people bath the Shiva Lingam with milk and applied saffron. The main attraction of this festival is the Bhils, who sing traditional folk songs sitting around a bonfire every night. Teej is also a major village festival in West India and is celebrated in the month of August.
The Dang Darbar festival that coincides with Holi is counted amongst the most popular and famous West Indian village festivals. This festival is mainly celebrated in the villages of Gujarat and is a unique celebration of Holi by the tribes. The auspicious occasion that commemorates the worship of Divine Mother Goddess, Navaratri is another major festival in the West Indian villages. This is a nine-day long festival celebrated by everyone in the villages of Gujarat. The Garba raas and Dandiya dance are the most attractive features of this festival. The Marathi New Year, Gudhi Padava is celebrated in the West Indian villages in April. The Marathi people place a long decorated stick in front of their houses (called Gudhi) to welcome the New Year and they also worship the Gudhi.
Dedicated to the Snake God, Nagpanchami is one of the major West Indian village festivals. This festival is celebrated in the month of August and the women worship the snake during Nagpanchami. The Parsi New Year of Pateti is also celebrated widely in the villages of West India. The other West Indian village festivals include the Nariyel Purnima (worshipping the Sea God), Pola (when the farmer decorates his cattle, worships it and feeds it with goodies), Vasco Saptah, etc.
People from all classes of the village society celebrate the West Indian village festivals with much pomp and gaiety. The festivals are of different types like religious, seasonal or related to harvesting. However, whatever be the type of festival is, the people celebrate it together and take it as a great platform for social communication.