India is a nation where each and every religious and non religious festivals are celebrated.
As the Hindus have innumerable gods and goddess, plus several beliefs, saints and gurus down the Indian history, their households are always busy with functions and celebrations which sometime last even up to 10 days. Pongal, Makar Sankrati, Patang Utsav, Maha Shiva Ratri, Holi, Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri, Dussehra / Durga Puja, Ayudh Puja, Vijayadashmi, Lakshmi Puja, Kali Puja and Diwali are the most famous ones in which everyone participates irrespective of caste and religion all over the world.
As per the Hindu lunar calendar each month has several auspicious days such as Ekadashi, Amavasya, Purnima (i.e. Raksha bandhan, Sharad Purnima, Kartik Purnima), Pradosha (13th day of full / new moon), sankranti (makar & kark raashi – uttarayan / dakshinayan), conjunctions of planetary movements (Kumbha Mela, Ganga Saagar), solar eclipse, lunar eclipse, etc.. On these days bathing in holy rivers followed by special pujas, vrat or fasting and charity are done by both the genders irrespective of age.
A guru is a person who can give spiritual guidance to others to attain what he / she has attained through yogic practice. In India, there are several gurus suiting various temperaments of mankind in the course of time. To name a few are Sri Ramana Maharishi, Ram Krishna Paramahansa, Sri Aurobindo, Sai Baba, Shankaracharya, Anandamayi Ma, Guru Nanak etc.. Their birthdays and the dates which were special to them are celebrated in various ways even today.Some of the famous Hindu saints are Tulsidas, Ramdas, Kabirdas, Mirabai, Gyaneshwar, Alwars, Andal, Thiyagaraj, Thiruvalluvar, etc. whose mystic writings have influenced the Indian literature and art in many ways. On their birthdays, schools, colleges and other community programs organize competitions related to their work such as essays, singing, dancing and painting. These celebrations are known as Jayanti.
The Hindu ladies especially of the Brahmin household, observe many pujas / vrat all round the year even in this 21st century.! They also do them for the welfare of their husbands (Savitri vrat, Teej, Karva Chauth) and for their brothers (raksha bandhan & bhai duj).
The Sikhs observe the birthdays of their 10 gurus as auspicious days. Some other important days are Maghi-Lohri (in January), Vaishakhi (in April).
The Jains observe the birthdays of their 24 tirthankars.
The Buddhists observe the birthday of Gautama Buddha and his attainment to nirvana as Buddha Purnima.
The most famous Western festivals are Easter and Christmas which are now celebrated all over the world by everyone. The days of the saints and other special occasions related to Lord Jesus’ life are of much importance.
Id-Al-Fitr is the most well known of all the Muslim festivals which results as the celebration after Ramazaan. Hijra or the Islamic New Year is equally a funfair time among the Muslims all over the world.
Apart from various religious festivals there are also fun and education time in schools, colleges and universities. The educational centers celebrate Indian Independence day, Republic day and also birthdays or the date of discoveries of some of the famous Indian personalities, i.e. the teachers’ day in memory of Dr. Radhakrishnan – 5th Sept., the children’s day – for Pandit Nehru, 14th Nov., Gandhi Jayanti – 2nd Oct., National Science Day to mark the date of discovery of Raman’s Effect dedicated to Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman – 28th Feb., National Mathematics Day for the birthday of Srinivasa Ramanujan – 22nd Dec., National Youth Day in memory of the patriotic saint Swami Vivekananda – 12th Jan. , etc..
In India, the trend of celebrating Valentine’s Day, Friendship day, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Women’s day etc. have gained popularity as well by continental influence.
Hence, no matter in which state of India one may be, one can always enjoy the mood of local or national or international celebration and festivity.