Festivals and Fairs of Maharashtra:
The people of
Another peculiarity of the Marathi festivals is the sweets that are made. Mostly the Marathi women make sweets in the house and every festival has its typical sweet meat!
The Marathi year starts with the month of Chaitra of Hindu calendar that falls somewhere in March-April. The people tie flowers and leaves on their doors and they put a long stick with a vessel and decorate it with cloth, flowers to welcome the New Year. This is known as the Gudhi, which is also worshipped.
People consider this day to be auspicious and start new ventures and cook and eat good meals.
This is the second festival in the Marathi calendar and is celebrated for the birth of Legend Prince Ram’s birth. Devotees throng the temples to worship the God and give offerings and take blessings.
The Christian festival, which rejoices the rebirth of Jesus Christ, 40 days after he was assassinated, is celebrated mostly in Mumbai and its neighbouring areas. The Christian community fasts for 40 days before rejoicing on this day. A mass is held in all the churches on this day to end the mourning. Shops are full with sweets and people are seeing buying them.
The feast of sacrifice, Idul-Adha, in
Then the festivals like the Buddha Jayanti, celebrating the birth of Lord Buddha and Mahavir Jayanti, celebrating the birth of Lord Mahavira comes. The Jain and the Buddhist communities arrange sermons and pray during these festivals.
A small festival rather penance is celebrated by the women of
This is a big Hindu festival in
With the onset of the Month of Shravan (August) comes the Nagpanchami.
!5th August of every year is celebrated as the Independence Day. It was in this day that
Mumbai has a huge Parsi community which celebrates its new year, which falls somewhere mid-August. The significance is that it was on this day that the Shahenshahi Zoroastrian community landed in
Raksha Bandhan / Narali pournima:
This is the full moon day in the month of Shravan. On this day sisters tie a thread called Rakhi on the wrists of their brothers and the pray for their well being and the brothers inturn gift them and vow to take care of them. This festival is celebrated in a different way in
It is the eighth day of Shravan in the period of weaning moon and is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Krishna. Legend says that lord
Haratalika is another kind of fast that women undertake. They worship Lord Shiva and pray for their husband’s well being just a day before the Ganesh Chaturthi.
Lord Ganesh, the patron deity of
Navaratri is a joyous festival which is celebrated every year by Hindus, during early fall season (occurs during late September and early October). The Goddess in the form of the Universal Mother is worshiped for nine nights and hence the name nava-ratri.' On the tenth day, the festival comes to an end. In many places in
The Navaratris end with a special puja called Vijaya Dashami. During the ten days of the Dasara festival (ten days and nine nights), it is common for Hindus to read and recite shlokas on the greatness of Mother Durga. Vijayadashami or Dasara celebrates the homecoming of Ram the hero of the epic Ramayana, after his victory over Ravan, the king of Lanka. Big effigies of Ravan, Kumbhakaran and Meghnad are made and burnt. In
Deepavali/ Diwali: This is the mother of all the festivals. Celebrated for five days in
The first day is the Dhanatrayodashi that falls on the 13th day of the weaning moon in the month of Ashwin. This day is the day of Dhan, meaning wealth. All the sources of wealth are worshipped. The farmers worship their cattle and their weapons. Women buy something in metal, good for the house.
The second day is the Narak Chaturdashi. The legend says that on the previous night of this particular day Lord Krishna slayed demon Narak and came home early next morning. People wake up before sunrise on this day and have their bodies massaged with scented oil and take a head bath with a paste made of sesame, poppy seeds and sandalwood. This is meant to wash away all the sins.
Lakshmi Pujan is the third day when the doorways are decorated to welcome Lakshmi Goddess of wealth. In the evenings people worship the goddess and also the wealth like the silver and golden ornaments that they have. Various sweets are prepared and fire crackers are burnt.
Padava is the fourth day and the first day of the Kartik Month. This day is important for daughters and wives when they are supposed to be gifted by their husbands and fathers. This is also beginning of the New Year for the Gujarathi community and an onset for beginning new businesses as well.
The last and the fifth day is the Bhau Bij. This is the day for brothers and sisters. The sisters pray God for their brothers well being and apply kumkum on their foreheads. They prepare sweets for him and the brother gifts the sisters.
Thus this festival of lamps, Diwali, an ancient tradition, is celebrated through the length and breadth of
Ramzan Id: The mood during Id-ul-Fitre (November) festive, for it marks the end of Muslim month of fasting, Ramzan, with the arrival of the new moon. Alms are generously distributed and namaz is read.
Christmas: A large number of Christian community stays in Mumbai and its nearby towns. But the Christmas is celebrated with fervour by all. Roads and trees are decorated; churches make small images of birth of Jesus Christ. Stars are hanged on the doorways and bakery shops are full with goodies. The masses are attended by all, young and old and even by the people of various religions.
Makar Sakranti: Sankrant means the passing of the sun from one Zodiac sign to the other, normally falls on January 14th every year. This is probably the only festival in the Hindu calendar which doesn’t change its date. People exchange greetings and good wishes on this day, which marks the Sun's passage from the Tropic of Dhanu (Sagittarius) to Makar (Capricon). Sweet and crunchy ladoos made of sesame and jaggery are the favorite treats. People distribute the sweets saying g, eat sweet and speak sweetly!
Republic Day: India was announced as a republic country on 26th January 1950. This day is celebrated as a national holiday. Flags are hoisted in schools and all government organizations. The President of India hoists the flag near India Gate and
Muharram: The Muslims observe a ten day mourning on the occasion of Muharram (February/March), commemorating the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein. Tazias of Hussein’s tomb are taken through the streets led by a procession of people self-flagellating themselves with no outward sign of pain, led by men chanting Ya Hussein, Ya Hasan.
Each year, after a successful winter harvest, people get ready to welcome the spring with Holi - the festival of colours. This festival of colours is celebrated all over
The Banganga Festival: (Mumbai)
Every year, in January, a cultural extravaganza is organised at Banganga, where top artistes from around the country perform live classical music concerts. Cultural enthusiasts attend the festival and feast the soul as well as the mind as the sun sets.The Elephanta Festival: (Elephanta Island, Mumbai)
In February Elephanta, a small island near Mumbai, is a favoured destination for culture lovers. In the tranquil destination surrounded by the sea, with Images and idols of Lord Shiva, this festival is unique. Every year, renowned dancers and musicians perform outside the caves, beneath a star-studded sky, to a select and appreciative audience. Special launch services and catering arrangements are provided for visitors.
Ellora Festival: (Aurangabad)
Against the dramatic backdrop of the
Pune Festival: (Pune)
This festival takes place during the ten days of the famous Ganesh Chaturthi festivals in Pune. Pune festival is a celebration of art and culture, song and dance, custom and tradition. Originally started as a localised cultural event, this festival has over the years gained national and international stature and evolved into one of
Kalidas festival: (Nagpur)