Is it that time of year when you feel the need to reward yourself with a little bit of fun and excitement? It’s vacation time and what better way to take time off from the high stacks of papers at work than by spending a holiday enjoying Indian festivals.
India is a place where merry-making is ever present throughout the year. Hinduism, the most widely practiced religion in the country, encourages time spent not only for fasting and self-purification but also for enjoying and fun-filled feasts and fairs.
These series of events are based in rituals that depict various rites of passage involving life, death, and revitalization. The country comes to life as its people share Nature’s bounty beyond the limits of social status and religious affiliations.
Color and music is scattered across the streets as people dance their way into love and happiness. Celebrations are usually brought about by the changing seasons, harvest time, and those occasions called for by religious reasons.
Makar Sankranti, as India’s kite festival is known, is one of the harvest celebrations held in the country when it is time to reap the rewards of hard work in the fields. It is celebrated during the period when the sun stays longer in the sky and spring is beginning.
The winter has faded and different rituals are performed all across India to pay homage and gratitude to the good things that each element of nature have contributed to the bountiful harvest. The regions along the coast of India pay their respect to the God, Indra, through harvest festivals .
People in North India engage in a bath ritual which is highly regarded and strictly followed. Charitable works and activities are initiated throughout the nation. Khichri (rice and lentils) is distributed for free as well as raw rice and lentils so that the unfortunate and less privileged people also may feel the warmth and nourishment of the celebration.
Foods are not the only highlights of the event as kite flying is also done in Gujarat. Festivities may occur in different parts of the nation but the celebration always make one point clear that there should always be unity and solidarity among the country’s population.
Now if you plan to spend your night in a mystical yet cleansing fashion, the Maha Shivaratri festival is the way to go. This celebration is known as the Night of Shiva and usually takes place at night time.
This festival is inspired by the deeds of Lord Shiva, who was married to Parvati, and on the night of their marriage, it is stated, Shiva danced the Tandava - a dance which depicts preservation, creation, and destruction. The highlight of the celebration is the chanting of the Panchakshara Mantra, Om Namah Shivaya, which involves the chanting of Shiva’s names with the utmost respect and focus.
When this is done the person is assured to be cleansed and rid of the bad karma that he has committed. He then is able to find his way to the reign of Shiva, where he will prosper and live joyfully.
Indian festivals can really fire up your vacation with mystical fervor and color, so when the time comes to navigate the globe take a moment to consider participating in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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Kite flying season in Mumbai
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