It’s no secret that India loves to celebrate, with festivals throughout the year in the name of food, religion, colour and light! With the Diwali Festival not too far away, get inspired to travel to this vibrant country by exploring the originality behind India’s most famous celebrations below. Or plan some festivities of your own at home!
Holi - the ‘Festival of Colours’
Signifying the victory of good over evil, Holi marks the beginning of spring and is celebrated with passion by Indian communities around the world! Expect to be covered from head to toe in bright colours as water and dry powders are thrown in the air. There’s dancing, water balloons, fabulous food and of course, delicious lassi to keep you refreshed. This festival is so widely celebrated that you don’t have to be in India to experience this significant holiday – from the Indian subcontinent to the United Kingdom, parts of the South Pacific and even here in Australia, you’ll be able to experience the pure joy of Holi.
Ganesh Festival - Honouring Lord Ganesha
This Hindu festival honours the birth of Lord Ganesha, the celebrated Hindu elephant-headed god. During the 11-day celebration, you’ll see huge, beautifully decorated statues of Ganesh everywhere you go, especially in Mumbai. Every day people will gather to worship the statues, until the last day of the festival where they are paraded through the streets amongst singing and dancing people, before being immersed in the sea.
Diwali - the ‘Festival of Lights’
Celebrated around the world, Diwali lasts five days between mid-October and mid-November. Diwali translates to ‘row of lights’ in the ancient language of Sanskrit, and represents light over dark as well as good over evil. Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all celebrate Diwali, all with different stories behind its origins. No matter their religion, Indian communities celebrate Diwali by decorating their homes and streets with lamps and colourful lights and set off dazzling fireworks. The noise and lights help to scare away evil spirits and celebrate goodness.
Onam - Showcasing Kerala Culture
Onam is an annual 10-day harvest festival celebrated in the South Indian state of Kerala. The Hindu celebration marks the homecoming of King Mahabali, and showcases the culture of the region. People get new clothes, enjoy delicious feasts, dance, play games and race snake boats to mark the occasion. Everywhere you go, you’ll discover beautifully arranged patterns made from flowers in front of houses to welcome the King’s spirit.
Krishna Janmashtami - Lord Krishna’s Birthday
One of the most popular festivals in India, Krishna Janmashtami represents Lord Krishna’s birth anniversary. The celebrations start at midnight and many people go sleepless throughout the whole festival. Food, song, dance and drama are key components to this lively festival, with Krishna’s favourite foods devoured and plays performed about his life. Perhaps one of the most well-known activities is the human pyramid, where a young boy is lifted to the top of the tower of people to reach a clay pot called a handi filled with buttermilk. When he reaches the pot he smashes it, spilling the milk over the people below.
Feeling inspired to visit India during one of these lively festivals? Start planning your trip by reaching out to your nearest Travellers Choice travel agent
today! For over 40 years, our independent travel agents have provided personalised advice to Australian travellers to help them see the world and the wonders it holds.