India: A Land Of Festivals INDIA, the world’s second largest country, has over 1 billion inhabitants, who speak 18 major languages and more than 1,000 minor languages and dialects. It features an infinite variety of landscapes and unsurpassed cultural richness. With so much diversity embedded within one culture, it is easy to understand why India is called “a land of festival and fairs.” Every day of the year there is a festival celebrated in some part of the country.
As in any old civilization, most of these festivals have religious ties. Because India is still a predominantly rural nation, many of its festivals also welcome the coming of natural phenomena like the seasons of the year, the harvest, the rains, or the full moon. Thus, festivals often commemorate the sacred bond felt by the Indian villagers to their land. Nevertheless, there are those festivals, such as karwa chauth, practiced with great austerity by women of the Hindu faith in devotion to their husbands, which are not festivals as such, though there may be something of a festive air attached to these occasions.
English: Diwali Chakra in Displaly
English: Radha celebrating Holi, c1788. (digitally…
Some festivals are observed throughout the country, or in a greater part of it; others, such as the famed snake race of Kerala, have peculiarly regional associations. Yet others, most notably Diwali and Holi, have been instrumental in bringing the diaspora of Indian communities back together. In remote places like Fiji, Mauritius, Trinidad, Jamaica, and Guyana, these festivals are celebrated with a pomp and vigor not always witnessed in India itself, indicating the intensity of India culture even after it travels away from the subcontinent.
Among the most popular of all festivals, Dussehra symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. It takes place sometime between late September and early
October. Every region observes this ten-day festival in a special way.
Festivals in India carry important messages.
Some of the important Hindu festivals are Holi, Diwali, Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja. In Bihar Chhath is a great festival. Chhath is a worship of the sun. The sun gives us light and also life. So, the Hindus regard the sun as a god and worship him.
Holi, too, is a religious festival. It is day of victory of good over evil. Prahlad, we know, was a devotee of God. His father asked him again and again not to do so. But the boy would not listen. So, his father wanted to do away with him. He made several plans to do so but in vain. In the end, God saved Prahlad and killed his father. Holi comes to teach a great lesson. God helps those who depend upon Him. Nobody can harm them. Holi is also a social festival. It is a festival of colors. People throw coloured water at each other and enjoy a lot of fun. They mix together and embrace each other. Holi comes to produce a feeling of social equality.
Muslim festivals, too, teach the same great lesson. The Id comes after Ramzan. Ramzan is a month of fast and prayer. The Id comes to ask us to lead a pure and holy life. It teaches another lesson, too. There is no Id in life without Ramzan. That is, there is no joy without pain. Man must suffer first. Gold shines only when it is heated. So, feasting comes only after fasting. The Id festival is also social in character. All types of people – great or small – meet at the same level. It creates a feeling of equality. But Muharram teaches a different lesson. It is a Day of Sorrow, because it is a day of defeat of truth and justice. Hussain fought for his right for days together. But he was killed while he was saying prayers. Muharram comes every year to teach us a noble lesson. Man should be on the side of truth and justice. He should fight for what is right. If he does not, it will be a day of deep sorrow for him.
The Christmas, the Buddha Jayanti and the Mahavir Jayanti are the birthdays of great prophets. Christmas is the birthday of Jesus Christ. So Christmas comes to teach us the lesson of love and sacrifice. Christ lived and died for man and so should we. Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir, too, were born to preach truth and love. These birthdays come every year to teach us noble lessons.
All the festivals whether they are observed by Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jains or Sikhs are socially and culturally significant. These festivals create a sense of cultural unity or brotherhood. They also inspire a sense of purity in our heart. India is a peculiar land of various people belong to various religions and speaking various languages. But in-spite of these diversities, India is one because festivals teach us the lesson of unity in diversity.
Category: Important IndiaTagged With: Indian Festivals