India is a land of festivals. Indian festivals are spread across different cultures and follow different rituals. They are the specialty of the Indian cultural heritage. Some of them are common throughout the country but known by different names. There are some very well-known festivals like Diwali, Dussehra, Eid, Christmas, etc. but there are some which are celebrated in some regions or community only. Here I would like to list 4 fascinating festivals that India harbours in her heart and not many Indians know about.
In the Sikh Community, the festival of ‘Holla Mohalla’ is celebrated in the month of March, just the next day after Holi. It sees a procession of an army with drums, which goes from one Gurudwara to other for three days. The festival started when the tenth Sikh Guru — Guru Gobind Singh- tried to gather Sikhs for training and military practice on the day after Holi. It started in 1701 and is celebrated mostly in Punjab. The festival also marks the New Year in the Sikh calendar.
On the other hand, there is the ‘Chahilo Sahib’ festival of Sindhi community in which a forty day fast with several other restrictions is observed in the month of July-August. Sindhi people in this festival basically worship Lord Jhulelal. It started when a Muslim ruler invaded Sindh and tried to convert the Sindhi people to Islam, and so they started fasting and praying to Varun Devta, the God of Water to save them. As a result, Jhulelal came and since then he is worshipped on the day.
The ‘Hemis’ festival of Buddhist community is mainly celebrated around Hemis Gompa- the biggest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh. It is based on the birth anniversary of religious saint Guru Padmasambhava. The festival goes on for two days which include various dance activities and a colorful local fair near the monastery.
The ‘Paryushan’ festival is extensively celebrated by Jain community. It is also known as ‘Paryushan Parva’ and celebrated in the month of August-September for duration of ten days every year. During this festival, Jains observe the ten universal supreme virtues in daily practical life. Highly learned Jain scholars are invited to give teachings to people of all ages.
There are many more festivals in India and the best thing is one can involve oneself in almost any of them to enjoy and have fun. All these add beauty to the diversity and colourful nature of the nation and tie together the people from different parts of the country and the myriad communities.