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festival in month.

India has a rich heritage and a vibrant culture – thanks to thousands of years of booming civilizations. No other country offers as much diversity in landscapes, religions, cultures, or festivals as India.

And thanks to this diversity, there are hundreds of festivals celebrated in India for many decades. No matter the time of the year, be rest assured that there is always a festival celebration happening in some corner of India. If you are a serious photographer or a cultural enthusiast, festivals in India can be quite fascinating and enchanting to watch!

The many different festivals in India are a massive list, which will probably take me weeks, if not months to cover. And even then, chances are that I still might be missing on the whole bunch of festivals which are very regional, and not well known. So, let’s start with a list of festivals of India that can give you a glimpse into this colorful and diverse nation! This goes beyond the religious festivals of India and lists some of the celebrated and important festivals of India ranging from culture, region, music, and so on.

Now, let’s dive into it, shall we?

Diwali, also spelled Divali, one of the major religious festivals in Hinduism, lasting for five days from the 13th day of the dark half of the lunar month Ashvina to the second day of the light half of Karttika. (The corresponding dates in the Gregorian calendar usually fall in late October and November.) The name is derived from the Sanskrit term dipavali, meaning “row of lights,” which are lit on the new-moon night to invite the presence of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In Bengal, however, the goddess Kali is worshipped, and in north India the festival also celebrates the return of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman to the city of Ayodhya, where Rama’s rule of righteousness would commence. The third day of Diwali is celebrated on Saturday, November 14, 2020.

During the festival, small earthenware lamps filled with oil are lit and placed in rows along the parapets of temples and houses and set adrift on rivers and streams. The fourth day—the main Diwali festival day and the beginning of the lunar month of Karttika—marks the beginning of the new year according to the Vikrama calendar. Merchants perform religious ceremonies and open new account books. It is generally a time for visiting, exchanging gifts, cleaning and decorating houses, feasting, setting off fireworks displays, and wearing new clothes. Gambling is encouraged during this season as a way of ensuring good luck for the coming year and in remembrance of the games of dice played by the Lord Shiva and Parvati on Mount Kailasa or similar contests between Radha and Krishna. Ritually, in honour of Lakshmi, the female player always wins.

Diwali is also an important festival in Jainism. For the Jain community, the festival commemorates the passing into nirvana of Mahavira, the most recent of the Jain Tirthankaras. The lighting of the lamps is explained as a material substitute for the light of holy knowledge that was extinguished with Mahavira’s passing.

Since the 18th century, Diwali has been celebrated in Sikhism as the time Guru Hargobind returned to Amritsar from a supposed captivity in Gwalior—apparently an echo of Rama’s return to Ayodhya. Residents of Amritsar are said to have lighted lamps throughout the city to celebrate the occasion.

In the lead-up to Diwali, celebrants will prepare by cleaning, renovating, and decorating their homes and workplaces with diyas and rangoli.[9] During the Diwali people wear their finest clothes, illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas and rangoli (oil lamps or candles), offer puja (worship) to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth,[note 1] light fireworks, and partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared. Diwali is also a major cultural event for the Hindu and Jain diaspora from the Indian subcontinent.[12][13][14]

The five-day long festival originated in the Indian subcontinent and is mentioned in early Sanskrit texts. Diwali is usually celebrated twenty days after the Dashera (Dasara, Dasain) festival, with Dhanteras, or the regional equivalent, marking the first day of the festival when celebrants prepare by cleaning their homes and making decorations on the floor, such as rangoli.[15] The second day is Naraka Chaturdashi, or the regional equivalent which for Hindus in the south of India is Diwali proper. Western, central, eastern and northern Indian communities observe main day of Diwali on the third day, the day of Lakshmi Puja and the darkest night of the traditional month. In some parts of India, the day after Lakshmi Puja is marked with the Govardhan Puja and Balipratipada (Padwa), which is dedicated to the relationship between wife and husband. Some Hindu communities mark the last day as Bhai Dooj or the regional equivalent, which is dedicated to the bond between sister and brother,[16] while other Hindu and Sikh craftsmen communities mark this day as Vishwakarma Puja and observe it by performing maintenance in their work spaces and offering prayers.[17][18]

Some other faiths in India also celebrate their respective festivals alongside Diwali. The Jains observe their own Diwali which marks the final liberation of Mahavira,[19][20] the Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind from a Mughal Empire prison,[21] while Newar Buddhists, unlike other Buddhists, celebrate Diwali by worshipping Lakshmi, while the Bengali Hindus generally celebrate Diwali, by worshipping Goddess Kali.[22][23] The main day of the festival of Diwali (the day of Lakshmi Puja) is an official holiday 

Diwali, or Dipawali, is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.

Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that's also enjoyed by non-Hindu communities. For instance, in Jainism, Diwali marks the nirvana, or spiritual awakening, of Lord Mahavira on October 15, 527 B.C.; in Sikhism, it honors the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment. Buddhists in India celebrate Diwali as well.

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