Religion is the primal identity, the force that unifies the Indian multicultural multilingual, multi religious congregation. Religious festivals thus lighten up this feeling of oneness of the unison through the religious flavours.
In one region or the other, festivals are celebrated almost every day, each with a specialty of its own. Most of the festivals are particular events connected with the seasonal changes and garnished with some popular legend. Some festivals welcome the seasons of the year, the harvest, the rains or the full moon. The celebrations are splashed with colour, dances and songs.
Bright colours brightly-lit religious place and illuminated houses, sweets and traditional dresses and dances and unwavering enthusiasm are the characteristics of all the festivals in India. People gather together to sing and dance to celebrate these formal festivals. An exchange of gifts marks most occasions. People dress in festive best to prepare the best of the season. Houses are painted; women buy new ornaments and children play together.
Every state in India has numerous fairs and festivals. The celebration of these festivals is particular to that region. The tradition of collective celebration continues with every occasion, be it a wedding, birth, harvesting or even the flowering of plants and is marked by community celebration with dancing and singing of folk songs.
In the Kumaon hills of Uttaranchal, the festivals celebrated are Uttarayani Mela, Shravan Mela (Jageshwar), Gananatha Mela (Almora),Dwarahat Mela, Kasar Devi Mela and Nanda Devi Mela. Rajasthan with its aura of romance and history is the land of colourful festivals and fairs. People in this sparsely populated state look for any excuse to assemble together in celebration and take a break from their otherwise rugged, tough lives. The whole state comes alive in a riot of colours and joyous celebrations. The elaborate rituals and the gaiety with which they surrender themselves to the numerous fairs and festivals of the region show their sheer zest for life.
Sikkim's famous mask dances provide an opportunity for a unique experience to witness a timeworn tradition that has endured. Performed by lamas in the gompa courtyard, these graceful dances demonstrate perfect footwork. Phang Lhabsol is a festival unique to Sikkim.It is celebrated to offer thanks to Mount Khangchendzonga, the guardian deity of Sikkim and to Yabdu, the supreme commander. Kagyat Dance, Dasain and winter 'Chaam' are some other festivals celebrated in Sikkim.
Pop, Beat and Jazz Music Festival (May) is festival of Goa. Local bands play at the Kala Academy in Panjim for this festival. Three days of feni-induced mayhem, centring on Panjim, to mark the run-up to Lend is the Goa Carnival. There is Samrat Club's annual Sangeet Sammelan in memory of Master Dinanath Mangeshkar at Shri Shantadurga Devasthan, Kavlem takes place in December.
Tourist Fair is an exhibition that presents a panorama of Tamil Nadu - places of tourist interest, cultural wealth and economic progress. Dance Festival is held every year in January. The summer festival might find you in the 'Queen of Hill Stations', evergreen Ooty; exquisite Kodaikkanal or enjoying the salubrious climbs of Yercaud - where boat races, flower and fruit shows are specially organized.
Saral Vizha festival makes a celebration out of a simple ritual bath. And indeed, a bath at the picturesque Courtallam waterfalls is no ordinary event. The healing waters of the roaring Courtallam are famed for their medicinal properties. Music Festival is held in December and Chennai celebrates her priceless heritage of Carnatic music and dance. There are many such festivals being celebrated in other regions of India. Some of those festivals that are particularly popular are described in detail.