shutterstock_311974532hemis festival Also Read - PM Modi Takes First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine at AIIMS

India is known for being one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Hundreds of languages, various religions, cultures and communities give people across the country more than a bunch of reasons to celebrate something almost every single day of the year. While some are full of color, some others are about the larger than life celebration of mythological tales. Though India is home to people belonging to various cultures, when it comes to festivals, everyone likes to celebrate them together. And though the Hemis Festival is right around the corner, here are some other festivals from Holi and Diwali to Eid and Christmas that you cannot afford to miss witnessing in India! Also Read - Horoscope, March 1, Monday: Hectic Day For Aries, Leos to Feel Superbly Energetic

1. Makar Sankranti

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Makar Sankranti is India’s most famous and grand kite-flying festival. Also known as Uttarayana, it is celebrated to welcome the new farming season.

Where: Gujarat and Maharashtra

When: January 14

ALSO READ 7 facts you must know about Gujarat’s Makar Sankranti celebrations

2. Lohri

Lohri is a harvest festival celebrated to mark winter solstice: the shortest day and the longest night of the year. People set up bonfires to keep warm during the harsh winters.

Where: Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir

When: January

3. Bihu

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

There are various types of Bihu, Bhogali Bihu, Rongali Bihu and Kongali Bihu being three famous ones. Bihu is a festival celebrated by the agricultural community of north east India. The folkdance form Bihu gets its name from the festival.

Where: Assam

When: Boghali Bihu: January, Rongali Bihu: April, Kongali Bihu: September

4. Hemis Festival

Hemis festival is celebrated to commemorate the birth of the founder of Buddhism in Tibet, Guru Padmasambhava. People perform in traditional outfits, sing and dance to soulful music.

Where: Hemis Monastery, Leh, Ladakh.

When: January

5. Pongal

The four-day long harvest festival of Tamil Nadu is celebrated with great fervor. Rice, cereals, sugar-cane and turmeric are harvested and the sun and rain gods are thanked for their kindness.

Where: Tamil Nadu

When: January

ALSO READ How Pongal, the harvest festival of Tamil Nadu is celebrated

6. Guru Nanak Jayanti

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Guru Nanak Jayanti marks the birth of the first Guru of Sikhism. People read the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scriptures of Sikhism. The best place to be a part of the celebration of guru Nanak Jayanti is at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Where: Mainly in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. ( The Sikh community around the world)

When: January

7. Attukal Pongala

Attukal Pongala is the biggest gathering of women for religious purposes. Women gather in large numbers at Trivandrum and offer a special Pongala made of rice, jagerry, coconut and dried fruits.

Where: Attukal Bhagwathy Temple, Trivandrum, Kerala

When: February

ALSO READ Attukal Pongala 2016: Thiruvananthapuram’s Attukal Bhagavathy Temple gets set to welcome 4 million women devotees !

8. Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The Jaisalmer Desert Festival is a cultural gathering to showcase the beauty of the city. Camel parades, locals dressed up in fancy attires various cattle races and elite polo matches are a part of the celebrations.

Where: Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

When: February

9. Losar

Losar is the Tibetan New Year which is celebrated on a large scale in certain parts of India for a whole of 15 days. It’s one of the most ancient Buddhist festivals celebrated in the world.

Where: Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir among many others

When: February

ALSO READ Losar 2016 celebrations: Watch how the Tibetan New Year is celebrated!

10. Goa Carnival

The Goa Carnival is held over a couple of days before Lent and is celebrated with a whole lot of enthusiasm by the people in several regions of old Goa.

Where: Panjim, Mapusa, Madgaon and Vasco da Gama in Goa

When: February

11. Myoko

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The Aptani Tribe in Arunachal Pradesh celebrates the Myoko Festival for an entire month. The rituals and traditions of the festival are performed by the priest of the tribe who is also head of the village.

Where: Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh

When: February

ALSO READ How Arunachal Pradesh’s Aptani tribe celebrates Myoko Festival

12. Shigmo Festival

Photograph courtesy: Freredrick Noronha/Creative Commons

Shigmo Festival is Goa’s own version of Holi. It is one of the biggest Hindu festivals celebrated at this beach destination. People dress up in unique costumes and parade around town to celebrate the festival.

Where: All around Goa

When: March

ALSO READ Here’s all you need to know about Shigmo Festival

13. Easter

The day Jesus is said to have been resurrected is celebrated as Easter. According to the New Testament, Jesus came back to life, three days after he was crucified. It is also considered to be the day that marks the end of lent.

Where: Mumbai, some parts of the north-east and Kerala, and Goa where the celebrations are the most elaborate with processions and carnivals, especially in Old Goa

When: March 27

ALSO READ When is Easter celebrated?

14. Chapcharkut

Photograph courtesy: MOFA/Creative Commons

Chapchar Kut loosely translates to ‘cut bamboo’. It is a harvest festival celebrated in the north east. Art, food, music and local handicrafts are the highlight of this festival.

Where: Aizawl, Mizoram

When: March

15. Holi

Photograph courtesy: Getty

Holi is a popularly known as the festival of colors in India.  The festival is celebrated over two day: Holika Dahan and Rang Panchami. On the first day, a bonfire is burnt to signify the victory of the good over the evil. On the following day, people play with colors to welcome spring.

Where: All around India

When: March

ALSO READ Holi history, images and significance: 15 bright and happy pictures of the festival of colors

16. Mahashivratri

Photograph courtesy: Arch_Sam/Creative Commons

Maha Shivratri is celebrated on the day when Shiva had performed the tandava. It symbolises the cycle of life which starts from creation, preservation and ends at destruction.

Where: Shiva Temples all around the world

When: March

ALSO READ 12 best places to celebrate Mahashivratri in India

17. Baisakhi

Photograph Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Not only does Baisakhi mark the end of the harvesting season in Punjab, but it also commemorates the day when Khalsa was founded.

Where: Punjab (especially Amritsar)

When: April

ALSO READ Baisakhi Celebrations at Golden Temple in Amritsar

18. Vishu

According to the Malyalam Calendar, Vishu is celebrated to mark the beginning of a new year. People offer prayers, wear new clothes and feast on traditional delicacies.

Where: Kerala

When: April

ALSO READ All you need to know about Vishu celebration in Kerala

19. Thrissur Pooram

Thrissur Pooram is not only one of the biggest religious-cultural festivals celebrated in Kerala, but is one of the biggest cultural events celebrated in Asia.

Where: Thrissur, Kerala

When: April

20. Kodungalloor Bharani

Kodungalloor Bharani is a grand temple festival celebrated in Kerala. Thousands of oracles visit the Kodungalloor Bhagavathy Temple for the 36-hour long event. The decorated elephants, enchanting music and beautiful temple makes the experience worth it.

Where: Kodungalloor Bhagavathy Temple, Kodungalloor, Thrissur district, Kerala

When: April

21. The Aoling Festival of the Konyak Tribe

The Konyak Tribe was once one of Nagaland’s fiercest hunting tribes. However, they only practice agriculture and Aoling marks the beginning of a new harvesting season along with a new year.

Where: Mon district, Nagaland in North East India

When: April 1 to 6 each year

22. Chithirai Thiruvizha

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The Chithirai Thiruvizha is one of Madurai’s biggest temple festivals. On this day, the wedding ceremony of Sundareswarar and Meenakshi is re-enacted. While Sundareswarar is another name for Shiva, Meenakshi is said to be Vishnu’s sister.

Where: Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

When: April

23. Ram Navami

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Not only is Ram Navami celebrated as the day when Rama, the crown prince of Ayodhya was born, but also as the day when Rama married Sita.

Where: All around India

When: April

ALSO READ Here is how Ram Navami is celebrated in Ayodhya

24. Gudi Padwa

Gudi Padwa is the Maharashtrian New Year. It is celebrated in most households in Maharashtra. Making a Gudi (doll), with a silk cloth suspended from a bamboo stick along with a brass pot adorned with a garland holding it is one of the major rituals of the festival.

Where: Maharashtra

When: April

ALSO READ Gudi Padwa: Why do we celebrate Gudi Padwa?

25. Buddha Purnima

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Buddha Purnima, also referred to as Buddha Jayanti marks the day Buddha was worn. It’s the most important festival for Buddhists around the world.

Where: All around India

When: May 21

26. Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is hosted every 12 years in four destinations across India: Haridwar, Allahabad , Nashik-Trimbakeshwar and Ujjain. It is believed that Vishnu dropped some nectar while transferring it to a pot which are considered to be the four destinations where the fair is hosted. Millions of people take a dip in the holy Ganga and Shipra rivers during Kumbh Mela.

Where: Haridwar, Allahabad , Nashik-Trimbakeshwar and Ujjain

27. Vat Purnima

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

On a full moon day, married women pray for their husband’s longevity. They tie a thread around a peepal tree and walk around it seven times hoping to be married to the same man in all seven lives.

Where: All across India

When: June

ALSO READ Significance and history of Vat Purnima

28. Ambubachi Mela

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Ambubachi Mela is a fair hosted at Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati. Temple is closed for three days of the year (during the fair)when the goddess is considered to be menstruating. On the fourth day of the fair, the temple is opened to the public.

Where: Kamakhya temple, Guwahati, Assam

When: June

ALSO READ Why does Guwahati’s Kamakhya temple remain closed for three days every year?

29. Jagannath Rath Yatra

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The Jagannath Rath Yatra is a 12 day festival when Jagannath, a reincarnation Vishnu along with his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra venture around the city of Puri in magnificent chariots.

Where: Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha

When: July

ALSO READ Did you know these 5 amazing facts about Jagannath Temple

30. Eid-Ul-Fitr

Photograph courtesy: Getty

Ramadan is the holy month according to the Islamic Calendar. People fast from sunrise to sunset through the month and then feast on Eid-Ul-Fitr.

Where: All across India, especially Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi

When: June to July

ALSO READ Ramadan celebration in India: All you need to know about Eid-ul-Fitr

31. Nag Panchami

nag panchami

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Nag Panchami is a festival where snakes are worshipped. It is widely celebrated in rural India. People offer their prayers and carry snakes in processions across villages to honor the nagas.

Where: In most rural regions of India

When: August

32. Rakhsha Bandhan

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Raksha Bandhan is the Hindu festival celebrated the bond between brothers and sisters. The sister ties a rakhi on the right wrist of her brother while he promises to love and protect her for her entire life.

Where: All around India

When: August

33. Janmashtami

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The festival of Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Krishna, a reincarnation of Vishnu. In several places across India, people form human pyramids to break a clay pot filled with curd. Not only is it traditions, but it has gone ahead to become a competitive urban sport in various cities.

Where: All around India

When: August

34. Paryushana

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Paryushana is an important Jain festival. While the Shvetambara sect observe Paryushana for eight days, the Digambara sect observes it as Da Lakshana for 10 days. During Paryushana, Jains live modest lives, offer prayers, seek forgiveness for all their sins and remain celibate.

Where: All around India

When: August

35. Eid-Ul-Adha (Bakri-Eid)

Eld-Ul-Adha is a festival celebrated in honor of Ibrahim who agreed to sacrifice his son in order to follow Allah. Muslims across the globe offer prayers and feast to celebrate the day.

Where: All around India

36. Ladakh Festival

The Ladakh Festival is an annual cultural festival organised to celebrate the culture of the Ladakh region. Visiting various Ladakhi monasteries and regions will take you through a completely different experience during the festival.

Where: Leh and the neighbouring villages

When: September

37. Onam

Onam is the 10 day harvest festival of Kerala. People celebrate the festival by wearing new clothes and feasting all day. People participate in snake boat races during this time of the year.

Where: All around Kerala

When: September

38. Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival celebrated in honor of Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati. While some people worship idols at home, there are some places like Mumbai and Pune where the festival is celebrated on a community level for a span of one, three, five or 11 days/

Where: All around India, especially in Maharashtra

When: September

ALSO READ Top 6 Ganesha mandals in Pune

39. Al-Hijra

Al-Hijra is the Islamic New Year that falls on the first day of the month of Muharram. The Islamic Calendar is a Lunar calendar which is 10-12 days shorter than the solar calendar. Al-Hijra is the day when Prophet Mohammed moved from Mecca to Madina.

Where: All around the world

When: September, October or November

40. Karva Chauth

karva chauth

Karva Chauth is a festival celebrated by married women mostly in north India. They fast all day and eat something only after the moon rises. Women pray for the longevity of their husbands.

Where: All around India

When: September

41. Navratri

Navratri is a celebration that goes on for nine nights in honor of the victory of Durga over the demon, Mahishasura. The nine days signify the nine days the goddess was in war against the demon.

Where: Navratri celebrations are the best in Gujarat, especially in cities like Ahmedabad and Vadodara. Places like Delhi and Mumbai celebrate Navratri on a large scale too.

When: October

ALSO READ 9 Gurga Temples to visit in India during Navratri

42. Durga Puja

Durga Puja is celebrated by the Bengali community in India. The festival is celebrated from the fifth day (Panchami) to the tenth day (Dashami) of Navratri. Durga is worshipped during the festival.

Where: Durga Puja cleberations are the best in Kolkata, West Bengal. Cities like Mumbai and Delhi also celebrate the festival with enthusiasm.

When: October

43. Dussehra

After nine days of war, Durga wins against Mahishasur on the tenth day as Dussehra. Another reason to celebrate Dussehra is to commemorate the victory of Rama over Ravana. Dussehra is also known as Vijayadashami in various parts of India.

Where: All around India

When: October

ALSO READ 10 different ways Vijayadashami is celebrated in India

44. Mysore Dassara

mysore palace

Raja Wodeyar I started the tradition of celebrating Mysore Dassara. The Mysore Palace is lit up and there is a grand processionwith traditional music and decorated elephants is taken from the Mysore palace to the top of Chamundi hill to Chamundeshwari temple.

Where: Mysore, Karnataka

When: October

ALSO READ Did you know these amazing facts about the Mysore Palace

45. Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja is celebrated in order to thank the Sun God for the life on earth. Chhati Maiya is worshipped during Chhath Puja. It is said to be the only vedic festival to be celebrated in India.

Where: All around India

When: November

ALSO READ Best places to visit in Bihar for Chhath Puja

46. Diwali

Photograph courtesy: Sunny/Creative Commons

Diwali is one of the most widely celebrated Hindu festival. It marks the Hindu New year and also signifies the return of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and their army to Ayodhya after being victorious over Ramana.

Where: All around India

When: November

ALSO READ 7 places to visit in India for Diwali

47. Ganga Mahotsav and Dev Deepawali

Dev Dweepavali is the day when all the gods are believed to descend to river Ganga in order to bathe in the holy water. ganga mahotsav is a fair hosted by the Varanasi Tourism department to attract more tourists around this time of the year.

Where: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

When: November

ALSO READ Everything you need to know about Dev Deepavali and Ganga Mahotsava

48. Feast of St Fancis Xavier

Photograph courtesy: Amit Rawat/Creative Commons

The Feast of St Francis Xavier is celebrated in Old Goa’s basilica of Bom Jesus each year on the death anniversary of Saint Francis Xavier.

Where: Basilica of Bom Jesus, near Panaji, Goa

When: December 3

ALSO READ Feast of St Francis Xavier: 6 things you probably don’t know about St Francis Xavier

49. Hornbill Festival

Hornbill Festival is the biggest festival of northeast India. Various tribes of Nagaland come together and celebrate the festival. Traditional attires, folk dance and music are some of the highlights of the festival.

Where: Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kisama Heritage Village near Kohima, Nagaland

When: December

ALSO READ 10 things you need to know about Nagaland’s biggest festival

50. Milad-un-Nabi

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Milad-un-Nabi is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammed. The festivities start one day prior to the day of his birth.

Where: All around India. Best celebrations can be witnessed at Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir

When: December 24 and 25

51. Christmas

Christmas is celebrated all across the globe to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

Where: Goa, Kolkata, Mumbai, Kerala, Chennai and Bangalore

When: December 25

ALSO READ 10 best churches for midnight mass in Mumbai

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