State Festivals of Northern India
Customs and traditions of celebrating any festival are different not only from state to state but it also differs from the plains to undulating regions stating and keeping in mind the various ethnicity and charms that are coupled with the same. In the northern states of the country celebration brings the charm and spirit. The most popular state festivals of northern India include Baisakhi, which is the celebration of New Year in mid April. It is a very popular festival of Punjab. On this occasion, people sing, dance and welcome the New Year. Baisakhi is also considered as a popular harvest festival. Another festival of Punjab is Hola Mohalla. Guru Gobind Singh started this festival. Gurupurab is also another significant festival of North India. On this occasion, birth centenaries of the Sikh Gurus are remembered.
Urs or Ziarats, Sindhu Darshan and Yuru Kabgyat are some of the popular festivals of Jammu and Kashmir. Another ancient festival is Doscmoche that is celebrated in the month of February. In the state of Himachal Pradesh, several festivals are celebrated. Like for instance, Phulaich festival is a popular festival of Kinnaur district and it involves several exclusive traditions. Another very popular festival of Himachal Pradesh is the Dussehra of Kullu. Teej festival is mostly celebrated for welcoming the monsoon season in between July and August. In Haryana, one of the most significant festivals is the Sanjhi festival, celebrated especially by the unmarried girls. Gangore is another festival celebrated in March and April. Diwali, Dussehra and festivals like Id are celebrated with high enthusiasm. In Uttar Pradesh, some of the common festivals are Lathmar Holi, Kumbha Mela, Janmashtami, Dev Deepawali, Ramnavami and more. All the states of India wear a vibrant colour during the celebration of all these festivals.
State Festivals of Eastern India
Just like northern India, in the eastern part of the country too, a large number of festivals are celebrated. In the state of West Bengal, several festivals are celebrated. Some of them are Saraswati Puja or Vasant Panchami, Dol Purnima and Noboborsho, Bengali New Year. One of the biggest festivals of the state is Durga Puja, which is celebrated with high enthusiasm in the month of October. This festival is followed by Lakshmi Puja and Kali Puja, which occurs during Diwali. Magha Sapatami and Ratha Yatra are some of the significant and colourful of Orissa.
In Sikkim, Sarhul and Chaul are the two most prominent festivals among the tribes. In Sikkim, Sonam Losar or Losoong is celebrated as New Year in the month of February. Other unique Sikkim festivals are Tashiding Bumchu and Pang Lhabsol. In Bihar, during the festival of Buddha Purnima in Bodhgaya, enormous celebrations take place. Same is the case during Mahavir Jayanti. However, Chhath is the most important festival.
State Festivals of Western India
A number of festivals are celebrated in western part of the country and songs and dances have a major impact in their celebrations. The states of western side of the country are no exemption. Typical food items are prepared for these celebrations. In Rajasthan, Gangaur festival is celebrated vibrantly. It is very similar with the one celebrated in Madhya Pradesh. During the festival of Urs, pilgrims from far and wide gather in this place to pay homage. Another popular tribal fair of the state is Baneshwar Fair in February. Teej is celebrated in the month of August and is devoted to Parvati. In the state of Gujarat, around 2000 festivals are celebrated in a year. Kite festival during Makar Sankranti is very popular in the month of January. Another major festival of this state is Dangs Darbar. Gujarat is also popular for its huge Janmashtami celebrations in Dwarka. But, the most significant festival is the Navaratri festival held in October, before Dussehra. Diwali is also celebrated with huge vibrancy in Gujarat.
In the state of Maharashtra, Gudhi Padava or Marathi New Year celebrations is very popular in the month of April. This festival actually marks the beginning of a year full of festivals in the state. With the commencement of the Shravan month, festival of Nag Panchami comes. Pateti is the celebration of Parsi New Year celebrated with much joviality and fun. Narali Purnima is celebrated in the coastal regions of the state and dedicated to Sea God. Ganesh Chaturthi is also amongst the most significant festivals. Lord Ganesha is the God of wisdom. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated every year in August on the auspicious day when Lord Ganesha was born. Ganesh idols in homes and mandaps, depicting religious themes or current events are installed during the 11 day festival.
State Festivals of Southern India
The states of southern India follow Dravidian tradition. These states have diverse ways of celebrating their festivals. In the state of Karnataka several religious festivals are celebrated. Most popular among them is Dussehra celebrations, which is more popular as Mysore Dussehra. Karaga is another unique festival of the state. Yugadi is the New Year celebration in Karnataka celebrated in the month of April. Ramzan and Makar Sankranti are very popular festivals in Andhra Pradesh. Vinayak Chaturthi is celebrated with huge enthusiasm in the month of September.
Kerala is defined as God's own country. New Year celebration of the state is Vishu celebrated in the month of April. Onam is another significant festival falling in the months of August and September. Pongal is one of the significant festivals of Tamil Nadu. It is more popular as the temple state of the country. Meenakshi Kalyanam is another popular festival celebrated for ten days at Madurai. Karthigai Deepam festival is also celebrated in this state. Masimagam festival is a popular festival of Puducherry. Other festivals are Veerampattinam and Villianur Car Festival.
State Festivals of North-Eastern India
North-East India is mostly known for its vast tribal culture. In Assam, one of the most important festivals of Assam is Bihu, celebration of Assamese New Year. Arunachal Pradesh is mainly inhabited by a number of tribes, and mostly its festivals are based on agriculture and nature. Songs and dances are the souls of all the celebrations. In Mizoram, Chapchar Kut (Spring Festival) is a prominent festival. Nagaland is considered as the land of festivals. Throughout the year, people celebrate one festival or the other as every tribal community has its own festival. Most of the festivals are associated with agricultural activities. Moastu festival is celebrated in the month of May in Nagaland. Kharchi Puja and Ker Puja are popular festivals of Tripura. In the state of Manipur, Yaoshang is a popular festival and Thabal Chongba, a folk dance, is associated with its celebrations. Cheiraoba is another festival of Manipur. Meghalaya is a beautiful state of India. Wangala, also known as Hundred-drum Festival, is basically a harvest festival held in the months of November and December. Behdienkhlam is an important dance festival of the state.
Thus, with such variety, it can be said that the various Indian state festivals reflect the cultural diversity and cross cultural influences. Prayers, new attires, processions, music, dance, etc. are the key components of celebrations of these festivals. It is difficult to over-estimate the extent to which it penetrates the Indian psyche, and it is even thornier to give an analytic vindication of something that has originated in the subconscious and appeals as well to the subconscious. Every festival is, as its name implies, an occasion to rejoice; it is a chance to show evidence of joy of life, love and passion. It is; yes, a materialistic trade fair; but it is handsome and noble as well, for in its art and in the variety of its face has gone all that is enduring in man's personality. They are symbols of the rich cultural heritage of India and give a fair idea of the economic, religious, social and cultural ethos of the nation.