Top 5: Indian Festivals

by Anne Flannery

Apr 6, 2018

Ganesh Festival © Jatin Chadha |

Top 5 / Asia

India is a nation known for its festivals and there is no shortage of celebration. The country celebrates the holidays of all of its represented religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam and Christianity. The major festival traditions reflect the fact Hinduism is the most prominent religion. If you are visiting the country in 2018 be aware five of the largest festivals are still to come.


This festival is celebrated by the country’s Muslims and marks the end of Ramadan. Markets and mosques are decorated, people dress in celebration and food is again eaten in abundance. It takes place June 15.


This festival marks the return of the King Mahabali. To celebrate, people wear traditional dress and decorate their houses with floral embellishments known as Pookalam. Multicourse meals are prepared and there are snake boat races, dances and an elephant procession. This occurs Aug. 15.


Taking place Aug. 26 this year, this festival is famous for celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters. This is also an important holiday as it is shared among Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. During this festival sisters tie a thread around their brother’s wrist, reminding him of the responsibility siblings have to one another.

Ganesh Chartuthi

This is the birthday of the lord Ganesh. It is marked by dancing and elaborate idols. On the last day there is an immersion ceremony in which an idol of Ganesh is immersed in a body of water. This will take place Sept. 13.

Durga Puja

One of the major Hindu holidays, Durga Puja is celebrated in particular by Bengalis throughout the country. It lasts nine nights and 10 days and is marked by fasting and feasting. The Goddess Durga is venerated at this time and idols in her likeness are made and displayed on canopies. This holiday begins Oct. 9 this year.

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