Some of the major festivals that are celebrated in India


  • People of Assam, irrespective of caste and creed celebrate three Bihus. All these three Bihus are connected with each other
  • Bohag Bihu is celebrated in mid-April; second in line is Magh Bihu observed in mid-January; and the third one Kati Bihu is commemorated in mid-October
  • Bohag Bihu heralds the coming of the New Year in the Assamese calendar. Magh Bihu is basically related with agriculture. It is observed when the paddy crop is harvested. Kati Bihu is celebrated on the last day of the Ahin month of Assamese calendar, on this day people perform rituals in the midst of paddy fields to wish for good paddy crop

Makar Sankranti

  • It is celebrated on January 14. This marks the beginning of ‘Uttarayana’ or the half year long northern sojourn of the Sun

It is celebrated in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh as the three-day long pongal festival, and in Karnataka and Northern India as Makar Sankranti. Kite flying is a special feature of the cities of Ahmedabad and Jaipur on this day

pongal celebrations


  • It is celebrated on the last day of the Paush month (12-13 January). It coincides with Pongal and Makar Sankranti marking the culmination of winter
  • It is believed that this is the coldest day of the year.
  • Rice-flakes, popcorns and sweets made from jaggery (gur) and sesame seed like “Gajak” and “Revadi” are tossed into the bonfire.

Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Boha bighu, Navreh and Chetti Chand 

  • These festivals of the spring season mark the beginning of the traditional New Year in India.
  • It is known in different regions by different names.
  • Andhra Pradeshand Telangana: Ugadi.
  • Karnataka:Yugadi
  • Maharashtra:Gudi Padwa.
  • Sindhis:Cheti Chand
  • Kashmir: Navreh


  • It is celebrated in the Hindu month of Sravana on the day of Sravana Nakshatra (September-October)
  • Onam is Kerala’s major festival
  • The festival commemorates the appearance of Vamana avatar of Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali.
  • Onam is celebrated to assure King Mahabali that all remains well in his land, and that his people are happy and prosperous
  • On the eve of Tiruonam, the second and the most important day of the 4-day Onam festival, everything is cleaned and decorated in preparation for king Mahabali’s visit. Auspicious saffron colour cloths are presented to friends and relatives.
  • Kumarakom boat raceis the most admired boat race to take place on the Vembanad Lake in September during the Onam Festival.
Onam -kerala
Boat race - onam

Navratri, Durga Pooja, Dussehra:

  • These are celebrated in the month of Ashvin (September-October). These are important festivals for the Hindus in most of India
  • First nine days are celebrated as Navratri. The Navratri festivities of Gujarat, with its music and dance (Garba) are of exceptional appeal.
  • Saptami, Ashtami and Navami forms famous Durga Pooja celebrations of Bengal; while the tenth day, known as Vijaya Dashmi is observed as Dashehra in various parts of India
  • Though the festival is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country, the basic concept behind all of them remains the same, that is- “Victory of good over the evil”
garba during navratri
durga pooja - dasara
Dussehra celebration in North India


  • Holi is the festival of colour. On this day coloured powder and coloured water are sprinkled by people on each other. This spring festival, falls in the month of Phagun on the, day of Purnima (February-March), was known in ancient times as ‘Madan-Utsav.’
  • The Holi of Braj (the Mathura-Brindavan region of Uttar Pradesh traditionally associated with Krishna’s childhood, and with stories of Radha-Krishna), is marked by several days of festivals.
  • At Anandpur Sahib, in Punjab, the day following Holi is marked by festivities, mock-battles, and archery and fencing contests by a sect of the Sikh community.


  • India’s ‘Festival of Light’ (Dipawali) falls 20 days after .Dashehra on the Amavasya or ‘New Moon’ night of the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November)
  • Coinciding with the approach of winter, and the sowing of the winter-crop in many parts of India, people celebrate the return of Rama to Ayodhya, after 14 years of exile, and after slaying Ravana.
  • For many in South India, Dipawali commemorates the slaying of Naraka by Krishna.
  • In Bengal and some other parts of Eastern India, Kali is worshipped on this occasion.
  • Dipawali marks the beginning of new commercial year for many and businessmen finalize their old account books and open new accounts.
  • Practically every village, town and city is illuminated with earthen lamps, candles and even electric bulbs to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth.
  • Jains also celebrate Dipawali ten days after Dipawali as part of Moksha celebrations of their 24th Tirthankara, Mahavira

Majuli Festival, Assam:

  • People who have been a part of Majuli festival often describe it as one of the most pleasing and beautiful festivals of Northeast India.
  • Celebrated at Garamur, on the banks of the river Luit, the Majuli Festival is a four-day long festival which highlights the exclusive Neo-Vaishnavite culture of the Majuli region in particular, and of Assam as a whole.

Ganesha pooja

  • Its observed in the honor of Ganesh, the elephant headed God, son of Siva [ and Parvati.
  • . It is celebrated in the month of Bhadrapada (August-September). Ganapati is worshipped on this day in other parts of India as well but it is celebrated with special zeal and fervor in Western India
  • Clay images of Ganesh are made and sold to worshippers. The images are sanctified and worshipped for ten days after which they are immersed in a tank or river.
Ganesha Festival

Id-ul Fitr:

  • It marks the end of the holy month of Ramzan, during which pious Muslims have fasted from dawn to sunset
  • It is celebrated on the 1st Rabi-ul Awwal of Arabic calendar. This festival is commonly referred to as ‘sweet Id’ by children, as vermicelli or ‘seveyian’ are offered to all
  • It is a day of celebrations, feasting and wearing new clothes. People offer prayers at Idgahs.

Id-ul Zuha

  • It is also called Bakr Id.
  • This commemorates the sacrifice of Ibrahim (Abraham of the Bible and of the Jewish tradition)
  • Ibrahim was ordered by God to offer his son Ismail as a sacrifice. Ibrahim blindfolded himself and devotedly carried out God’s instructions. However, when he removed the cloth from his eyes he found his son alive by his side, and instead a ram, lying on the sacrificial altar.
  • A sacrifice of a goat or ram is made by each Muslim family symbolizing Ibrahim’s offering and faith in God. Id prayers follow, along with feasting and rejoicing. It follows around 2 months 10 days after Id-ul Fitr



  • It is a solemn occasion commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (grandson of the holy Prophet Mohammed), along with his followers at Karbala
  • It is a ten days observance of intense mourning by sections of the Muslim community. ‘Tazias’ made of paper and bamboo (symbolizing the tomb at Karbala), are carried in procession.
  • A horse, representing Imam Hussain’s horse, Dul Dul, accompanies the procession


  • The birth anniversary of Jesus Christ (25th December) is celebrated by Christians in India amidst Church services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, singing of carols (religious songs), exchange of gifts and feasting
  • The day after Christmas is observed by giving alms to the needy. (Thus the name Boxing Day, because money and gifts were put into boxes meant for the poor). Churches, Cathedrals and homes are decorated, and scenes depicting the infant Christ are put up.

Good Friday

  • Christians observe Good Friday (March-April) with Church services and the singing of hymns in memory of the Crucifixionof Jesus Christ on this day.
  • A long period of fasting and prayer, known as Lent, precedes Good Friday. This comes to an end on Easter Day


Easter day

  • The Sunday after Good Friday (March-April) is a day of celebrations for Christians. It is believed that Jesus Christ, who was crucified on Good Friday, resurrected on this day
  • Christians hold Church-services and celebrate the occasion with feasts and visiting friends and relatives. Easter processions are also taken out



  • This is a Parsi (or Zoroastrian) festival. Linked to the spring equinox (21 March), it is believed to date from the time when King Jamshed ruled Persia.
  • Worship at the Parsi fire- temples is followed by visits to friends and relatives to exchange greetings


Buddha Jayanti

  • It is a celebration of the anniversary of the birth, enlightenment and ‘Nirvana’ (death) of Gautama Buddha – all of which occurred on the same day according to Buddhist tradition
  • Buddha Purnima (April-May) is marked by chanting of verses from dawn to late-night, and ceremonial offerings at Buddhist shrines
  • The celebrations are noteworthy at Sarnath near Varanasi (where Buddha preached his very first sermon), at Bodhgaya in Bihar (where he became the ‘Enlightened One’ – i.e. Buddha), and in Sikkim and Ladakh.


Mahavira Jayanti:

  • It is celebrated in the month of April.
  • It celebrates the birth of Mahavira, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of present Avasarpiṇi
  • The idol of Lord Mahavira is carried out on a chariot, in a procession called Rath yatra
  • Many devotees visit temples dedicated to Mahavira to meditate and offer prayers.

Losar Festival, Arunachal Pradesh:

  • One of the most significant festivals of the Buddhist Community in Tawang, Losar commemorates the advent of the new year.
  • The word Losar is derived from two Tibetan words, ‘lo’ which means ‘year’ and ‘sar’ which means ‘new’.

Besides the above socio-religious festivals, many festivals have been instituted by the government in recent times for the purposes increasing tourism or even for conservation of environment by drawing attention towards important constituents of nature. Ex: Mango Festivals in Delhi, Haryana and U.P, Elephant Festival in Kerala etc.

Apart from the above, Indian society also has various other tribal festivals that are celebrated by significant amount of tribals in the country.


Some of them are discussed below:

Samakka Saralamma jatra:

  • It is held by forest dwelling Koya tribe of Telangana and surrounding States, is the biggest Tribal festival in Asia which is attended by one crore people on an average.
  • The event is held bi-annually to honor the twin goddesses Sammakka and her daughter Saralamma.
  • Several communities in Telangana society support Jatara as it is also a mythical narrative of two tribal women leaders who fought against the Kakatiya rulers who tried to annex their land and forests. According to the myth it was Sammakka’s curse which caused gradual decline and death of Kakatiya rule.
Samakka salaramma

Karam festival

  • It is a harvest festival celebrated by diverse group of people from the Indian states of Jharkhand, Bihar, MP, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Odisha and West Bengal
  • Some of the groups that celebrate this festival include- the Kharia, Korba,Kuli/Kulis Odisha Baiga, Binjhwari, Bhumij, Oraon, Munda, Santal, Kudmi
  • The Karam festival is celebrated usually on Bhado Ekadashi, on the eleventh day of the bright full moon (Purnima) of the month of Bhado (August–September).
  • The Karam tree, scientifically named Nauclea Parvifolia is the center of the proceedings of the festival.

Hornbill Festival, Nagaland:

  • The Hornbill Festival is perhaps the most famous and largest of the North East India festivals, and it’s certainly Nagaland’s important festival
  • Named after the state’s most admired bird, the festival showcases the heritage of the 16 tribes there, which in addition to dancing show off their hunting and waring skills.

The Aoling Festival of the Konyak Tribe, Nagaland:

  • Once deadly headhunters, the fascinating Konyak tribe now lives peacefully, spending most of their time practicing agriculture, drinking local alcohol, smoking opium and occasionally hunting.
  • After having completed the sowing of seeds each year, the tribe celebrates their most important festival, the Aoling Festival, which marks the beginning of ​the spring season and a new year.

Moatsu Festival, Nagaland:

  • Celebrated by the Ao tribes of Nagaland, the Moatsu Festival is a time of great rejoicing as the planting season comes to an end.
  • All activities are associated with the harvest.

Ambubachi Mela, Assam:

  • A usual Tantric fertility festival, the Ambubachi Mela marks the menstruation period of the Goddess Kamakhya.
  • Her temple is closed for three days while she menstruates and reopens on the fourth day, with a rush of devotees who come to receive bits of cloth that are supposedly soaked with her menstrual fluid.
  • It’s considered to be extremely auspicious and powerful.
  • The festival attracts numerous Tantric Sadhus (holy men) from India and abroad.
  • The festival is also popular for its rural crafts fair.
ambuchhi mela

Wangala Festival, Meghalaya:

  • The Wangala Festival is the biggest harvest festival of the Garo tribe in Meghalaya.
  • Held in honor of the Sun God of fertility, the festival marks the end of the sowing season and agricultural year.
  • It’s celebrated by the beating of drums, blowing horns, and traditional dancing.
  • The highlight is the sound of 100 drums (nagaras) being beaten together.
  • Hence, the alternative name for the festival — the 100 Drum Wangala Festival.

Nongkrem Dance Festival, Meghalaya:

  • The annual Nongkrem Dance Festival is a five-day harvest thanksgiving festival of the Khasi tribe.
  • The traditional dance is performed by young men and women dressed up in exquisite attire.

Chapchar Kut, Mizoram:

  • Chapchar Kut is a harvest festival named after the bamboo that has been cut and is drying for burning and subsequent cultivation.
  • The traditional bamboo dance performed by women (while men sit on the ground and beat bamboo sticks against each other), called cheraw, is a big part of the festival.
  • Different styles of tribal dance performances take place amidst symbol clashes and beats of drums.
Chapchar kut

Myoko Festival, Arunachal Pradesh:

  • The festival is celebrated among three communities in Ziro — Diibo-Hija, Hari-Bulla, and Hong of Apatani plateau — on a rotational basis.
  • It includes rituals for prosperity, fertility, purification, and sacrifice performed by the village shaman or priest, and many interesting cultural elements such as folk performances and processions.


Dree Festival, Arunachal Pradesh:

  • Dree is an agricultural festival of the Apatani tribe. It’s celebrated by sacrificial offerings and prayers to the gods who protect the crops.
  • Folk songs, traditional dances, and other cultural performances have also become a part of the modern-day festivities.


Torgya Festival, Arunachal Pradesh:

  • A three-day monastery festival, Torgya is observed by the Monpa tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The rituals, including the performance of sacred dances by brightly costumed monks in the monastery’s courtyard, are supposed to ward off evil spirits and bring prosperity to the tribe.


Mopin Festival, Arunachal Pradesh:

  • Mopin is the harvest festival of the hospitable Galo tribe, focused on the worship of goddess Mopin.
  • It’s celebrated to drive away evil spirits, and for acquiring prosperity and wealth.
  • An indigenous folk dance called Popir, performed by young women, is a highlight of the festival.
  • Traditional rice wine (apong), prepared by Galo women, is also served.


Saga Dawa, Sikkim:

  • It is celebrated as a very auspicious occasion in the Tibetan lunar month.
  • Also known as the Triple Blessed Festival, Saga Dawa is supposed to be the Month of Merits for Tibetan Buddhists.


Kharchi Puja, Tripura:

  • One of most renowned pujas in Tripura, Kharchi Puja is a sacred procedure of offering reverence to the Mother Earth.
  • The Kharchi Puja continues for seven days and the people of Tripura with utmost dedication offer worship to the Fourteen Deities who are worshipped during Kharchi Puja.


Cheiraoba, Manipur:

  • The Manipuri New Year of the Meiteis is celebrated as Meetei Cheiraoba or Sajibu Cheiraoba sometime in March or April.
  • Falling on the first day of the month of Sajibu, Cheiraoba ushers in new beginnings and is celebrated with extensive feasting preparations while also engaging in traditional rites and rituals.
  • What’s perhaps the most exciting and unique aspect of this yet another New Year Festival is the climbing of the Cheiraoching peak.
  • It is believed that the ascent up the peak also prepares individuals for such great rise in their lives.