FESTIVALS OF INDIA
India is a land of many colorful and gay festivals. Perhaps no other country in the world can surpass India in the number of festivals and celebrations. There is no exaggeration in the saying that there are at least nine festivals in a week in India. In the plain-speaking language, every day in India is the day of the festival. Due to variety and diversity of Indian culture and people, the festivals are related to harvesting and national events; gods and goddesses; change of seasons; and mythical heroes and heroines. In this way, Indian festivals serve social, religious, national, cultural and psychological purposes. Festivals in India are the occasion when the members, of the family, gather together, invoke favors from elderly people and their cherished deities, exchange sweets, good wishes, and greetings. They also fast, pray, relax and rejoice on the eve of festivals. Some of the festivals are observed as closed public holidays on an all India basis.
Almost all the festivals enthuse the people and reflect the country’s unity in diversity through their pageantry and fervor with which they are observed. Besides playing a social and religious role, the festivals are also a perennial source of recreation and communal harmony.
The social gathering in them provides mutual relaxation. Holi, Diwali, Dussehra, Janamashtmi, Raksha Bandhan, Ram. Navami, Buddha Purnima, Shivaratri, Baisakhi, Christmas, Guru Purba, Muharram, Id-ul-Nilad, etc. are the important festivals of India. Independence Day and Republic Day are our national festivals.
Holi is both a boisterous and colorful festival in the real sense of the term. It marks the advent of the spring season and the ripening of crops. This festival lasts for two days, On the first night, a bonfire is lit. The next day, men, women, and children throw colored water, powder, and perfume at one another. They embrace one another and offer sweets to visitors.
Diwali is called the festival of lights and illumination. The people worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity and light earthen lamps and candles to illuminate the dark night. The businessmen open new accounts on Diwali, It is celebrated to commemorate the crowning of Rama after his triumphant return from Lanka. The neighbors visit one another’s house and exchange greetings and sweets.
Dussehra marks the victory of good over, evil on this day, Prince Rama of Ayodhya had killed Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. The story of Ramayana is staged for ten days, The effigies of Ravana, the abductor of Sita, his brother Kumbhakarana and son Meghnad are burnt on Dussehra night. Dussehra is observed as the day of Durga Puja in West Bengal. Buddha Purnima marks Lord Buddha’s birth, nirvana and enlightenment special celebration are held at Buddhist temples on this day.
Christmas is celebrated on 25th December with great fervor by the Christians. New year’s day is also celebrated all over the country. Muharram is observed as the day of martyrdom Of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson, The Mohammadans take out mourning procession with Tajias to the loud beating of drums Id-ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramazan. The people offer Namaz and give food articles and money to charity.
The Independence Day and Republic Day are celebrated in state capitals with equal enthusiasm. All the above festivals create a feeling of integration and happiness among the masses Their socio-religious significance is great.
The word Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Deepawali’. It means rows of lamps. On this day we light lamps in our houses. So, the festival is known as the festival of lights. There are many stories about its celebration. According to some people, on this day Rama returned to Ayodhya with Sita and Laxmana after fourteen years of exile. So people were happy. They decorated their houses.
At night they lighted lamps. They put them in rows. According to others, Lord Krishna killed Narkasur on this day. People began to celebrate Deepawali as a symbol of his victory. This year I celebrated Deepawali with great joy. First of all, I cleaned my house with the help of my brother Hari. We went to the market We purchased some toys, balloons, toys, and sweets from the market. We decorated our house with balloons, toys, and pictures. Our house looked very clean. At noon we worshiped Hanuman.
At night, we put lamps in every corner of the house. At about 8 p.m. we worshipped Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. Then our mother gave us sweets, khil-batashe, and other delicious things. Deepawali is a good festival. It is full of decoration and joys. In its name, houses and shops are cleaned. While washing kills germs. But it is associated with gambling. Some people try their luck. But it is a bad practice. Due to this practice, some people destroy the peace of their homes. Every educated person must do his best to end this practice.
Holi is a festival of colors, joy, and fun. It is one of the most popular festivals of India. It marks the beginning of a new season. The farmers begin to make preparations to reap their crops. According to the Indian calendar, Holi is celebrated on full moon night of the month Fagun. Holi symbolizes the dawn of a new era and victory of good over evil. It is named after Holika, the sister of king Hiranya Kashyap, who was a non-believer in God. His son Prahalad was a devotee of God. His father Hiranya Kashyap did not like the ways of his son. He tried to kill him. Ultimately, he asked his sister to take Prahalad in her lap and sit on a burning pyre.
In this Holika was burnt but nothing happened to Prahalad. This is a popular legend that is said to be the basis of the festival of Holi. Holi is celebrated all over the country. In the previous night, bonfires are lighted. People worship, sing and dance around the bonfire. On the day of Holi people assemble and visit their nears and dears. They play with colors and put gulal, red colored powder on the foreheads and faces of each other. Sweets are distributed. Noisy and colorful processions are taken out. People dance on the beat of the drum.
They share jokes, poetry, songs and enjoy music and dances. Children use color filled balloons, buckets, and water pumps to throw colors on others. It is a day filled with firn and frolic, colors and humor. Some people drink ‘Bhang’ on this occasion. It is a bad habit. It gives birth to a quarrel. This custom should be stopped soon.
India is the land of distinct cultures and colorful festivals. Each festival in India has its own meaning and purpose of celebration. The festival of Dussehra has a religious-historical meaning and inherent values. It is celebrated on Dashami (10th day) of the lunar month. According to the great Indian epic, Ramayana, Ravana was a great scholar but a demon. He was the king of Lanka.
He was killed on this day by Rama. Bengalis believe that Durga comes on the earth on this day. The meaning of Durga is the victory of good over evil. We celebrate Dussehra so that our evils are destroyed and goodness trample. Dussehra is celebrated in all parts of India with joy and fun. The effigies of the demon kings, Ravana, Kumbhkarana, and Meghnad are burnt.
The play of Ramayana is staged and fairs are held and sweets are distributed. The children wear new clothes and get toys and sweets. In some communities on this day, sisters put a tilak on their brother’s forehead. They pray for their welfare. Businessmen worship their account books on this day. Dussehra not only brings joy but also inspires us to win over our bad instinct by good deeds and pious thoughts.
India is a land of diverse races, religions, castes, and cultures. But there is unity in spite of rich diversity. Each state of India has its typical culture and celebrates typical festivals. Ganesh Puja or Ganesh Chaturthi is a typical festival of the state of Maharashtra. The people of Maharashtra celebrate it with great fervor and gaiety. Every year it comes in the month of August or September. The festival continues for seven days.
This festival commemorates the birth of Ganesh. Many myths and legends are connected with Lord Shiva in wrath cut off the head of his son, Ganesh. Parvati was in great grief and sorrow. She begged Lord Shiva to bring her son back to life. Lord Shiva wandered from place to place in search of a son whose mother is sleeping with her back towards her son. At last, he found a she-elephant sleeping with her back towards her son. Lord Shiva cut off the head of the baby elephant and fixed it on the body of his son Ganesh. Thus, Ganesh came to have the head trunk of an elephant and the body of a man.
The people of Maharashtra celebrate the festival by offering worship and prayers to Ganesh. All seven days of the festival are dedicated to song, dance, and rejoicings. Hymns are chanted at the festival, houses are cleaned and white-washed and they are tastefully decorated with multicolored flowers. A clay idol of Ganesh is made in every home.
It is finely painted. It is the object of worship throughout the festival week The favorite dishes of Ganesh are prepared and offered to the idol. It is believed that Ganesh is very fond of Laddoos. So Laddoos of the finest quality are prepared and offered to Ganesh. The seventh day is the day of the farewell of Ganesh. A large fair is held on the bank of a river or a stream. People carry the clay idols of Ganesh on their heads in the form of a procession. The procession is accompanied by the beating of drums, singing of songs and performance of dances. The clay idols of Ganesh are ceremoniously immersed in water.
The immersion ceremony is very thrilling, exciting and fascinating. Men, women, and children join the fair carried about in boats on the surface of the water and then they are immersed. Soon after the immersion, sweets are distributed among the children. At fair, children buy toys and balloons and come back home happily.
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Durga Puja is the most important festival of the Bengali Hindus. It may rightly be called the national festival of the Hindus of Bengal. Durga Puja is performed twice in the year. Once in spring, known as the Basanti Puja, again in Autumn, known as the Saradoya Puja. The autumnal puja is more common than the other. Spring marks the end of the winter season at that time. The sky is clear of mists. There are new flowers which spread sweet smell in the air, birds go on singing songs of joy.
We look upon Durga as the Supreme Power, the creator, protector, and destroyer of the universe. She has immense power. She can give whatever we desire. So we worship her and beg her to give us what we need. It is said that the autumnal puja was first celebrated by Sri Ramchandra when he was at war with Ravana and the Basanti puja was celebrated by people because on this day Durga killed a dangerous giant named Mahishasur.
Every year 25 December is celebrated as the Christmas This is the birthday of Jesus Christ, who was born 2010 years ago. The Christmas is celebrated all over the world, Christ sacrificed his life for the welfare of the poor and weak, It is a festival of feasting rejoicing and giving and receiving the gifts The festivity begins on the Christmas eve. I celebrated Although, I am not a Christian yet, Christmas in my own way. On the morning of last Christmas Day when I woke up, I looked for a sock under my pillow. It has small gifts, baffles, an eraser, and pencils. My mother told me that these are gifts from Santa Clause.
I made greeting cards and painting of Santa Clause. My mother made cakes and puddings. We bought a Christmas tree and decorated it with bulbs, bells, and balloons. I invited my friends to my home in the evening and we sang Christmas carols and other songs. We enjoyed cakes and other cookies. But we did not forget the poor. We served food to the poor children of our locality. We also distributed old woolen clothes to the street children. I collected these clothes from my home and neighbors. This is the way I celebrated Christmas last year. I am keenly looking forward to Christmas this year also.
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Eid is the greatest festival of the Muslims. All over the world, the Muslims celebrate it with great pomp and show, zeal and gusto. The Muslims observe fast for a few months after sighting the moon of ‘Ramzan’ is over and the moon of Id is sighted, they end their Roza (fasts). The next day, the festival of Id is celebrated.
It is a day of gaiety, festivity, and feasting. It is a conviction of the Muslims that fasting in the month of ‘Ramzan’ purifies the soul and prayers after fasting save from going to hell and open the doors of heaven. So clearing the month of ‘Ramzan’ they lead a pure and holy life. They observe fasts after regular prayers in the form of ‘Namaz’, read the holy Quran and give alms to the poor.
Charity is the greatest virtue to be practiced during the month of ‘Ramzan’. Fasting comes to an end when the new moon of Id is sighted. The sight of the new moon of Id is considered very pious and holy by the Muslims. It is a signal for the celebration of Id the very next day. It is a festival of love and goodwill. It gives us a message to love all and hate none. It teaches us to embrace all men as brothers.
Separated doors hope to meet on this day. It exhorts us to bid good-bye to hatred, jealousy, and enmity and bring in an era of love, sympathy, and brotherhood. In India, all communities join the Muslims in celebrating Eid. Sweets are shared and greetings exchanged by all. The Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians greet the Muslim brothers on this day. The celebration of Id promotes national integration and the feeling of brotherhood. Joys are doubled when they are shared. Eid brings a message of brotherhood for all of us.
India is a land of fairs and festivals. Different states celebrate different festivals in different ways. If the people of Kerala celebrate Onam with great zeal and gust, the people of Tamil Nadu celebrate Pongal in the same way. Pongal is, in fact, the greatest and the most important festival of the people of Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated in the month of January. It continues for three days. This festival has a special significance for farmers. The program of celebrations is mainly connected with agriculture. Rice is the chief agricultural produce of the state.
The rice crop needs a lot of rainwater. Lord Indra is the god of rain. Therefore, the worship of Lord Indra is the special feature of the celebrations of the Pongal festival. The farmers of Tamil Nadu eagerly look forward to this festival. The rice crop ripens and is ready for harvesting by the end of December and in the middle of January. The farmers are in a holiday mood after harvesting the paddy crop. It is a festival of joy and it is celebrated with great pomp and show.
This first day of the festival is known as Bhogi Pongal, On this day, rice gruel is prepared in almost every home in Tamil Nadu. It is a delicious dish prepared from rice. People invite friends and relatives to a feast of rice gruel. These feasts are held in honor of Lord Indra, the god of rain. It is believed that the rice crop is due to the grace and benediction of Lord Indra in the form of plentiful rain. It is a day of thanksgiving to Lord Indra. Offering OJ rice is made to God and it is considered auspicious to eat rice on that day. So people eat rice in various forms.
The second day of the festival is set apart for the worship of the Sun. It is called Surya Pongal. On this day the people make offerings of boiled rice to the sun. It is a day of thanksgiving to the sun. It is believed that the sun plays a vital role in ripening the paddy crop. The sun god is thanked and worshipped for his favor to farmers. So, the offerings of boiled rice are made to appease the sun god. Women prepare models of the sun on this day.
The third day of celebrations is known as Matu Pongal. The farmers of Tamil Nadu regard the cow as their sacred mother and worship her. This day is dedicated to cow worship because cow plays an important role in agriculture. The cows are washed, cleaned and their horns are painted red, green and yellow. Their foreheads are decorated with mocks. They are fed on goods things. At night people cook delicious dishes in their homes and invite friends and relatives to a feast. Pongal has its own sanctity and religious touch. It is a festival of gratitude to the gods and animals for their help and favor in agriculture.
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This year we celebrated the Republic Day in our college. On this day every student came to the college in the uniform. All the students were in college at about 7 am. First of all, assembled in the college hall. Then the call bell rang. We were asked to go to the prayer ground for the flag hoisting ceremony. The principal hoisted the national flag. After the flag hoisting ceremony, our vice principal Sri Hari Raj Singh Verma read the message. We were asked to work for the progress of the country. Our physical instructor Shri R. K. Singh asked us to be ready for the parade.
All the students obeyed his orders. We did our best. Then the games started. Everybody liked the peon’s race. In the end, our principal made a short speech. He told us about the importance of the day. He appreciated our discipline. He advised us to work hard for the good of the country. He asked us to live and behave like a good citizen. Then he announced one day’s holiday. This made us very happy. At about 10 am, the function was over, so we returned home joyfully.
India became free on August 15, 1947. We celebrate our Independence Day on this day every year. We got up early for Prabhat Pheri on August 15, this year. We sang “Uth Jaag Musafir Bhor Bahi” and shouted slogans. We reached the school at 8’o clock in uniform. We stood in lines before the flag pole. The M.L.A. of the locality was invited to hoisting the tri-color. The national anthem and the flag songs were sung.
The slogans—Victory to mother India and others were shouted. The messages of the Governor and the Education Minister of the State were readout. Speeches were given as to how we got freedom. Cultural activities were performed. A football match between teachers verses students was played. Our college looked very beautiful on this day. Everybody showed zeal and joy for Independence. Sweets were distributed. We returned home in the evening.
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