India is a land of festivals, where people from different religions coexist harmoniously. The wide variety of festivals celebrated in India is a true manifestation of its rich culture and traditions. There are many Indian festivals and celebrations, the most exciting of which are mentioned below. While the celebrations happen all over the year, October till January is the time when the country can be seen at its vibrant best.
India is one country where every religion and community celebrates their culture. There are festivals of India state wise, religion-based, and community-wise. So, every day is a new celebration in this country. You also enjoy lots of Gazetted holidays that gives you an opportunity to plan a trip across the country.
To give you a fair idea about all the festivals of India in 2021 and their dates, before you begin, here is a piece of information that would prove essential for you! It will also tell you about the importance of the famous festivals of India!
Indian Festivals Calendar 2021
Here is a list of religious and national festivals of India that is celebrated in the country with much gusto and fervor. Plan your holidays around these festivals if you wish to explore the vibrant culture of India.
|January||Makar Sakranti||14th January||Thursday|
|January||Pongal||Begins on 17th January||Sunday|
|January||Basant Panchami||16th February||Tuesday|
|February||Maha Shivratri||11th March||Thursday|
|March||Mewar||Begins from 27th March||Friday|
|April||Bihu||Begins on 13th April||Tuesdsay|
|May||Thrissur Pooram||3rd May||Sunday|
|May||Buddha Jayanti||7th May||Thursday|
|May||Eid Ul Fitr||13th May||Thursday|
|June||Ratha Yatra||23rd June||Tuesday|
|August||Independence Day||30th August||Monday|
|August||Onam||Begins on 23rd August||Monday|
|August||Ganesh Chaturthi||10th September||Friday|
|October||Navratri||From 7th to 14th October||Thursday|
|October||Durga Puja||15th October||Friday|
36 Popular Festivals Of India in 2021
The greatness of India’s culture can be found in its festivals. The vivid and vivacious festivals of India depicts the greatness of our Indian culture. Indians celebrate festivals with sheer enthusiasm and devotion. India is a country that is appreciated and comprehended as a plethora of festivals are celebrated here.
Here is a quick list of the most famous festivals of India state wise. The regional festivals of India too are celebrated with much pomp and show. Check out this list of religious festivals of India before you visit the best places of Indian cultural heritage to attend the grand celebrations of these festivals.
- Diwali: The Grand Festival Of Lights (4 November, Thursday)
- Holi: The Vibrant Festival Of Colours (29th March, Monday)
- Dussehra: Witness The Triumph Of Good Over Evil (15th October, Friday)
- Navratri: The Nine Days Of Fasting, Faith, & Devotion (7th Oct to 14th Oct)
- Durga Puja: Of Prosperity, Goodness, And Devotion ( Begins On 15th October, Friday)
- Krishna Janmashtami: The Birth Of The Mighty & Mischievous (30th August, Monday)
- Ganesh Chaturthi: Eleven Days Of Pampering Lord Ganesha! (10th September, Friday)
- Gurpurab: Religious Processions & Peaceful Hymns (19th November, Friday)
- Raksha Bandhan: Strengthening The Bond Of Kinship (22nd August, Sunday)
- Eid-Ul-Fitr: Sumptuous Buffets & Sweet Festivities (13th May, Thursday)
- Bihu: Dance, Music, And Laughter (Begins on 13th April, Tuesday)
- Hemis: Soothing Chants And Colourful Costumes (Begins on 30th June, Wednesday)
- Onam: Welcoming The Mighty Mahabali (Begins on 23rd August, Monday)
- Pongal: Rich Rangolis And Sweet Savories (Begins on 17th January, Sunday)
1. Diwali: The Grand Festival Of Lights (4 November, Thursday)
Diwali, one of the most prominent Hindu festivals of India, is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show. During this festival of lights, houses are decorated with clay lamps, candles, and Ashok leaves. People wear new clothes, participate in family puja, burst crackers, and share sweets with friends, families, and neighbors. It is the most popular festival in India.
Significance: The festival marks the return of Lord Rama, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, after a long exile of 14 years.
Key attractions: Homes decorated with fancy lights, candles and clay lamps, bustling shops and markets, and fireworks and crackers
When: The darkest new moon night of Kartik month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to mid-October – mid-November as per the Gregorian Calendar
Where: All over the country
Diwali 2021: 4th November (Thursday)
Things To Do: Light diyas, decorate your home, share sweets and gifts with family and loved ones
2. Holi: The Vibrant Festival Of Colours (29th March, Monday)
Also known as the festival of colors, holi is one of the famous festivals of India, celebrated with a lot of fervor across the country. On the eve of Holi, people make huge Holika bonfires and sing and dance around it. On the day of Holi, the famous festival of Indian states, people gather in open areas and apply dry and wet colors of multiple hues to each other, with some carrying water guns and colored water-filled balloons. It tops the charts of 10 famous festivals in India as it is celebrated all across the world with happiness.
Significance: It signifies the victory of good (Prince Prahlad) over evil (Holika) and the arrival of spring.
Key attractions: Holika bonfire, playing with colors, and bhang thandai
When: Full moon (Purnima) of the Phalgun month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to the month of March of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Almost all over the country; most vibrant celebrations can be seen in North Indian states
Holi 2021: 29th March (Monday)
Things To Do: Holika bonfires and sing and dance around it, play with colors, eat sweets esp. Gujiya
3. Dussehra: Witness The Triumph Of Good Over Evil (15th October, Friday)
Dussehra, also referred to as Vijayadashami, is also among the most famous festivals of India in Hindu religion. It is celebrated in different forms of countrywide. Ramlila (enactment of scenes from Ramayana) is held everywhere for 10 days. It’s culminated with “Ravan Dahan” – the burning of huge effigies of Ravana, Meghnath, and Kumbhkaran which is a real spectacle to see. While in Mysore, a colorful procession is taken out, in Kullu it is celebrated for 10 days welcoming their mountain deities in the valley. The Mysore Palace is lit like a bride and the atmosphere is filed with the music of drums. It is a spectacle to not miss on your trip to the city of royals. It is one of the most religious festivals of India.
Significance: It celebrates the death of the demon king Ravana at the hands of Lord Rama.
Key attractions: Hustle bustle of the decorated markets, Ram-Leela acts, and the big event of the burning of effigies of Ravana, Meghnath, and Kumbhkaran
When: 10th day of the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to September or October of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Pan India
Dussehra 2021: 15th October (Friday)
Things To Do: Visit Dussehra celebrations, attend ravan dahan, visit prominent temples to glance celebrations
4. Navratri: The Nine Days Of Fasting, Faith, & Devotion (7th Oct to 14th Oct)
Navratri is one of the most important festivals of India. This festival is celebrated by all people throughout India in different ways. In Gujarat, it is a nine-day celebration of rejuvenating Garba nights and highly energetic Dandiya Raas dances. People are dressed in beautiful, colorful traditional clothes and the environment is very youthful and invigorating. Fasting is a famous tradition of Hindu religion and is associated with a scientific fact. Whenever there is a change in season, one should fast to give rest to their digestive system and boost their immunity for the next season.
Significance: It represents the celebration of the Goddess Amba (Power) in nine different forms.
Key attractions: The 9 days of dance festivities in Gujarat, the exquisite Chaniya Choli’s (traditional skirt & blouse), and the Gujarati cuisine – Sabudana Khichdi, Mandvi Paak, Singoda ki Kheer, and Potato Wafers
When: The first nine days of the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to September or October of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Almost all over the country; most vibrant in Gujarat, Maharashtra and the metros
Navratri 2021: From 7th October to 14th October (Thursday)
Things To Do: 9-days fasting, visit temples and religious places, 8th and 9th day of Navratri are celebrated with Kanya Pujan, attend dandiya nights
5. Durga Puja: Of Prosperity, Goodness, And Devotion ( Begins On 15th October, Friday)
One of the important Hindu festivals of India, Durga Puja is celebrated with grandeur by Bengalis, throughout the country and is ranked as one of the top in the list of religious festivals of India. The 10 days of fast, feast, and worship of Goddess Durga are accompanied by cultural songs, dances, and dramas. Huge and beautiful Durga idols are made and placed in specially made artistic Pandals(canopies). People dress in traditional wear and go around the pandal-hopping, praying, and feasting.
Significance: It commemorates Lord Rama’s invocation of Goddess Durga before going to war with the demon king Ravana.
Key attractions: Plush pandals, incredibly beautiful ten armed Durga idols, and the puja
When: 10th day of Ashwina Shukla paksha according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to September or October of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Kolkata and the metros are the best places to be in India during Durga Puja celebrations
Durga Puja 2021: 15th October (Friday)
Things To Do: Visit Durga Puja pandals to catch the true vibe of this celebration
6. Krishna Janmashtami: The Birth Of The Mighty & Mischievous (30th August, Monday)
Janmashtami is again a beautiful one among the most important religious festivals of India. Janmashtami celebrations in Mathura and Vrindavan are very popular. People fast throughout the day and break it with a special meal after dusk which makes it one of the important in the list of festivals of India. Visiting temples, praying, dancing, and singing bhajans (hymns) at midnight is a part of the celebrations of the birth of Lord Krishna. Often, small children dress up like Lord Krishna on this day. Images and picturization of Krishna’s life story are depicted in the “jhankis” in temples. It is one of the popular festivals of India.
Significance: It is the annual celebration of the birthday of Lord Krishna.
Key attractions: The Janmashtami puja and festivities in the temples and the jhaankis of Lord Krishna
When: The 8th day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Bhadrapada according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to August or September of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Celebrated by the Hindu community all over, but the festivities at Mathura and Vrindavan are very popular
Janmashtami 2021: 30th August (Monday)
Things To Do: Visit Krishna temples and attend special puja that includes bhajans and jhankis
7. Ganesh Chaturthi: Eleven Days Of Pampering Lord Ganesha! (10th September, Friday)
Ganesh Chaturthi, another one of the important Hindu religious festivals of India , is a 10-day affair of colorful festivities. Huge handcrafted Ganesh idols are installed in homes or outdoors, in public pandals. Pujas are performed in the morning and the evening. The last day is the day of Visarjan – immersion of an idol in a water body. Cultural activities of singing, dancing, and theater, and free medical and blood donation camps are held.
Significance: It’s the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God.
Key attractions: The beautifully crafted life size idols of Ganesha, and the immersion ceremony
When: The 4th day of the first fortnight (Shukla Chaturthi) in the month of Bhadrapada of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to August or September of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Celebrated in the states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh with fervor and gaiety
Ganesh Chaturthi 2021: 10th September (Friday)
Things To Do: Indulge in cultural activities, be a part of visarjan ceremony
8. Gurpurab: Religious Processions & Peaceful Hymns (19th November, Friday)
One of the most important Sikh festivals of India, special assemblies on the lives and teachings of the gurus, and langars (community meals) are organized in the gurudwaras. Karah Prasad is distributed among all, and hymn chanting processions are held in the city. People light up their homes with lamps and candles and burst crackers to celebrate Gurpurab.
Significance: It is the celebration of the anniversary of the ten Sikh Gurus
Key attractions: The soulful Bhajan-Kirtan (hymns), Gurbani in the Gurdwaras, the Langar and the Karah Prasad
When: The full moon day in the month of Kartik of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds
to November of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Celebrated by the Sikh community all over the world, especially in Punjab
Gurupurab 2021: 19th November (Friday)
Things To Do: Visit gurudwara, indulge in sewa and langar, help needy, do charity
9. Raksha Bandhan: Strengthening The Bond Of Kinship (22nd August, Sunday)
One of the famous festivals in the list of festivals of India, Rakhi is celebrated among Hindu. Signifying the brother-sister bonding, during Rakhi, the sister performs Aarti (prayer), applies tilak, and ties rakhi (a sacred thread) on the brother’s wrist wishing his well being. The brother, in return, vows to protect the sister. Another festival which has a strong similarity to Rakhi is Bhai Dooj which comes just after Diwali.
Significance: It symbolizes the strong bonding of a brother and sister.
Key attractions: The ritual of Rakhi and the brightly decked up markets showcasing a colourful variety of rakhis and sweets
When: The full moon day of Shravana month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to August of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Particularly in North, Central and West India
Raksha Bandhan 2021: 22nd August (Sunday)
Things To Do: Celebrate the day with your siblings
10. Eid-Ul-Fitr: Sumptuous Buffets & Sweet Festivities (13th May, Thursday)
Eid is one of the major festivals of India for the Muslim community. People dress up in fineries, attend a special community prayer in the morning, visit friends, and relatives and exchange sweets. Children are given idi (money or gift) by elders.
Significance: It celebrates the conclusion of the holy month of fasting called Ramadan.
Key attractions: The beautifully decked up markets and mosques, the morning Eid namaz at the mosques, and the sweet dishes.
When: On the 1st day of the month of Shawwal of the lunar Hijri calendar, which corresponds to July of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Celebrated by Muslims all over the country
Eid Ul Fitr 2021: 13th May (Thursday)
Things To Do: Attend a special community prayer in the morning, visit friends, and relatives and exchange sweets
11. Bihu: Dance, Music, And Laughter (Begins on 13th April, Tuesday)
Popular among the festivals of India celebrated in the North East, Bihu is the harvest festival of Assam. During the month-long celebrations, young men and women wear their traditional clothes and perform the Bihu dance in the village fields and courtyards. During Bihu celebrations in India, a community feast is held with a lot of fanfare.
Significance: It’s the traditional new year celebration of Assamese.
Key attractions: The Bihu dance and the local cuisine – coconut ladoo, til pitha, ghila pitha, and fish pitika
When: 14th April
Where: Celebrated by the Assamese diaspora around the world, especially in Assam
Bihu 2021: Begins on 13th April (Tuesday)
Things To Do: Wear traditional clothes and attend ceremonies, indulge in local rituals
12. Hemis: Soothing Chants And Colourful Costumes (Begins on 30th June, Wednesday)
Hemis, the two-day religious festival from Ladakh, is one of the most important festivals of India. It attracts a lot of locals and foreign tourists each year. The festivities include the Cham dance done by the priests to the tune of the traditional music of cymbals, drums, trumpets played by the monks. It’s among the most unique types of festival where the dancing priests dress up in elaborate brocade outfits and masks.
Significance: It’s the celebration of the birth anniversary of spiritual leader Padmasambhava, founder of Tibet Tantric Buddhism.
Key attractions: The scenic Hemis monastery and the Cham dance
When: 10th day (called Tse-Chu in the local language) of the Tibetan lunar month, which corresponds to June or July of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir
Hemis 2021: Begins on 30th June (Wednesday)
Things To Do: Attend the ceremonies and processions by the priests
13. Onam: Welcoming The Mighty Mahabali (Begins on 23rd August, Monday)
Onam is among the important national festivals of India, wherein people wear traditional wear, adorn houses with Pookalam (floral designs), and prepare Onasadya (elaborate meal of about 13 dishes). Events such as Vallamkali (snake boat race), Kaikottikali (clap dance), Kathakali dance, and Pulikali procession (artists dressed and painted like tigers and hunters) are held.
Significance: It celebrates the homecoming of the legendary king Mahabali.
Key attractions: The spectacular Snake Boat Race, the enigmatic Kaikottikali dance, and the Elephant procession
When: In the month of Chingam of the Malayalam calendar, which corresponds to August or September of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Celebrated by people of all communities in the state of Kerala.
Onam 2021: Begins on 23rd August (Monday)
Things To Do: Attend boat races, and other ceremonies
14. Pongal: Rich Rangolis And Sweet Savories (Begins on 17th January, Sunday)
The four-day long harvest festival of South India is one of the most famous festivals of India. People prepare Pongal dish and wear their traditional attire. On this famous festival of South India, celebrities include bonfires, dancing, cattle races, sweets, and savories. The houses look resplendent with Kolam designs (traditional floral designs made with rice, colored powders, and flower petals)
Significance: It’s a festival of thanksgiving to nature representing the first harvest of the year.
Key attractions: The variety of Kolam designs and cattle races
When: 15th January
Where: Celebrated by Tamils all over India, primarily in Tamil Nadu
Pongal 2021: Begins on 17th January (Sunday)
Things To Do: Bonfires, dancing, cattle races, sweets, and savories
15. Christmas: Celebrating The Birth Of Jesus Christ (25th December, Saturday)
One of the most famous and awaited festivals in India and the world, Christmas happens to be of sheer significance for elders and children alike. Everyone regardless of their religion wait for this day, children specifically for the surprise gifts from Santa. All the churches are lit up and decorated to celebrate the birth of Lord Jesus.
Significance: Birthday of Lord Jesus
Key attractions: Christmas tree decoration, prayers, birth of Lord Jesus and Santa Claus
When: 25th December
Where: The festival is celebrated across India. The best places to celebrate Christmas in India are Goa, Pondicherry and Kerala.
Christmas 2021: 25th December (Saturday)
Things To Do: Visit church and attend prayers, attend carnivals and celebrations
16. Easter: Celebrating The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ (4th April, Sunday)
Just like other festivals in India and the world, Easter is also celebrated with much fervour and great religious solemnization in different parts of the country. Celebrated during Spring, Easter celebrations in India are distinguished by various colourful decorations, dance and plays, simmel and plum cakes, and bright lanterns adorning the streets.
Significance: Resurrection of Lord Jesus
Key attractions: Folk songs and dance, Easter eggs, cakes, chocolates, street decorations
Easter 2021: 4th April (Sunday)
Where: The festival is celebrated across India. The best places to celebrate Easter in India are Goa, Pondicherry, and Kerala
Easter 2021: 4th April
Things To Do: Attend prayers
17. Baisakhi: The Rich Traditions And Cultural Prosperity (14th April, Wednesday)
Baisakhi, one of the famous festivals of India is celebrated by the Sikh community of Punjab and those around the world. It celebrates the welcoming of the harvest season for the rabi crops. The Sikhs celebrate this festival with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm by performing local folk dances such as Giddha and Bhangra. The festival is of great religious significance in India as it marks the day when the tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, laid out the foundation stone for the Panth Khalsa-the Order back in 1699.
Significance: Welcoming the harvest season
Key attractions: Folk dance like Bhangra and Giddha, Punjabi feasts, decorations in houses and Gurudwaras
When: 14th April (Wednesday)
Where: The festival is celebrated across Sikh communities in India. The best place to celebrate Baisakhi in India is Punjab
Baisakhi 2021: 14th April
Things To Do: Visit gurudwaras, enjoy scumptious food served at celebrations, be a part of local celebrations
18. Makar Sankranti: Hindu’s New Year (14th Jan, Thursday)
Makar Sankranti is the real new year of North Indians and Sikhs which is celebrated just one day after Lohri. On this day, worship to God is performed to seek his blessings for the new year. It is in a way the end of winter and the beginning of spring which means the agricultural cycle for farmers. The dates are set according to solar cycles, unlike other Hindu festivals where dates are decided by lunar cycles. People celebrate this day by flying kites and having savory ‘Bajre ki khichdi’ and sweet ’til ladoo’. Gujaratis celebrate this festival by the name of Uttarayan.
Significance: Beginning of agricultural cycle
Key attractions: Kite flying
When: 14th January (Thursday)
Where: The festival is celebrated across North Indian and Sikh communities in India. The best place to celebrate Makar Sankranti in India is North region
Makar Sankranti 2021: 14th January
Things To Do: Attend celebrations, visit temples and holy places
19. Maha Shivratri: Devotion To Lord Shiva (11th March, Thursday)
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this Indian festival holds great reverence among the devotees of Lord Shiva. It has a huge significance in Hindu mythology celebrated on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun. It is believed that whoever worships Lord Shiva on this day attains salvation and redemption from their sins. It is also among the most crucial festivals of India for unmarried and married women to attain marital bliss.
Significance: Devotion to Lord Shiva
Key attractions: Fasting and worshipping Lord Shiva
When: 11th March (Thursday)
Where: North India and Nepal
Mahashiv Ratri 2021: 11th March
Things To Do: Visit temples and witness celebrations and festivity
20. Basant Panchami: Dedicated to Goddess Saraswati (16th February, Tuesday)
Celebrated in the months of January or February, Basant Panchmi is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati and is one of the famous festivals of India. It is an important day for scholars and students when they worship the Goddess of Knowledge. It is widely celebrated in the states of Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Punjab, and Haryana. People in Rajasthan offer jasmine garlands to the goddess and langars are held in the state of Punjab.
Significance: It marks the beginning of spring
Key attractions: On this day, people wear yellow colored clothes and make yellow dishes like sweet saffron rice and kadhi.
When: It is celebrated on the fifth day of Magha month of Hindu calendar.
Where: states of Bihar West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Punjab, and Haryana
Basant Panchami 2021: 16th February ( Tuesday)
Things To Do: Attend Saraswati Puja and celebrations
21. Mahavir Jayanti: Birth Of Lord Mahavir (25th April, Sunday)
Mahavir Janma Kalyanak is an important day for the people from Jain religion as it marks the birth of Lord Mahavir. If you have noticed, the statue of Lord Mahavir is given a Mahabhishek where it is bathed with milk and flowers. Even a grand procession of Lord Mahavira’s idol is carried out in the streets.
Significance: It is the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir
Key attractions: Prayers are offered and fasting is observed. Rath Yatra is also carried out.
When: It is celebrated on the 13th day of Chaitra month of Hindu Calendar
Where: It is widely celebrated in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan
Mahavir Jayanti 2021: 25th April (Sunday)
Things To Do: Attend grand processions, visit Jain temples
22. Ugadi: A Festival To Thank The Deity (13th April, Tuesday)
Ugadi is a regional new year celebration for the people of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states. This auspicious harvest festival is observed by making rangolis on floor, decorations on doors called torana, buying and giving gifts and sharing special food. It is one of the famous festivals of India.
Significance: IT is a harvest festival considered auspicious to start new work
Key attractions: Famous Ugadi delicacies like Pulihora, Ugadi Pachadi and Bobbatlu, prepared with raw mango, neem, jaggery and tamarind
When: On the first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra
Where: Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
Ugadi 2021: 13th April (Tuesday)
Things To Do: Attend local celebrations
23. Chhath Puja: A Festival Dedicated To The Sun God (10th November, Wednesday)
The Chhath Puja is a 4 day long festival, dedicated to the worship of the sun god. The devotees pray to them thanking for the life, wealth and health of themselves as well as their family. Many also bathe in the holy Ganges river. Many devotees also fast during the puja, following the legend of the fast of Rama and Sita to honour the sun god.
Significance: The festival is dedicated to the worship of the sun god
Key attractions: Some devotees fast from food and water as a ritual of the puja
When: On the sixth day of the Hindu month of Kartika, which falls in October or November on the Gregorian Calendar
Chhath Puja 2021: 10th November(Wednesday)
Things To Do: Attend festivals, take bath in holy rivers, indulge in celebrations
24. Govardhan Puja: The Day Lord Krishna Defeated Indra Dev (5th November, Friday)
Also known as Annakut Puja, Govardhan Puja is celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated the god of thunder and rain, Indra. In Maharashtra, the same day is celebrated as Bali Pratipada while in Gujarat this day coincides with Gujarati New Year’s day.
Significance: Celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated God Indra
Key attractions: On this day, food made of cereals like wheat, rice and leafy vegetables are cooked and offered to Lord Krishna
When: Most of the times it falls next day after Diwali
Where: All across India
Govardhan Puja 2021: 5th November (Friday)
Things To Do: Go for Govardhan parikrama, visit temples and celebrations
25. Gudi Padwa – Grand Harvest Festival Of Maharashtra (13th April, Tuesday)
Gudi Padwa is a grand harvest festival mainly celebrated in the state of Maharashtra marking the beginning of an auspicious New Year. People make rangoli designs at the entrance of their homes and decorate it with flowers. Folks meet friends and relatives, and women cook sweets like Shrikhand, Puran Poli and Sunth Paak.
Significance: On this festival, people pray to Lord Vishnu
Key attractions: Local people make Gudi (bamboo doll) using mango and neem leaves and hang them at the entrance
When: 25th March (Date may vary)
Gudi Padwa 2021: 13th April (Tuesday)
Things To Do: Attend celebrations
26. Republic Day – Anniversary Of The Constitution Of India (26th January, Tuesday)
Republic Day is one of those festivals in India where patriotism amidst the citizens is at its peak. For this was the day when the constitution of India came into existence and the transition of the country from a British Dominion to a republic took place. This happened in the year 1950, three years after India got independence. Every year, this day is celebrated with great pride and excitement.
Significance: Celebrated as the day when the Constitution of India came into existence.
Key attractions: On this day, a grand parade is held every year that commences from Rashtrapati Bhavan and continues to Rajpath, India Gate, and then finally Red Fort.
When: 26th January (Tuesday)
Where: All across India
Things To Do: Attend Republic Day parade, indulge in celebrations
27. Camel Festival – The Cattle Trading Fest (13th January, Wednesday)
Taking place in Pushkar every year, this is one of the most interesting festivals in India. When the sandy floors of Pushkar are covered with camels, it is truly a sight to behold. This is that one festival that one should witness when looking for some ancient and old traditional-style Indian celebrations. Initially, the festival was celebrated to attract the local camel and cattle traders to do business during the holy Kartik Purnima festival.
Significance: Celebrated as the holy day for cattle and camel traders to do business.
Key attractions: On this day, camel and cattle traders get together to do business on the holy Kartik Purnima festival.
When: 13th January, Wednesday
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan
Pushkar Festival 2021: 13th January
Things To Do: Visit Pushkar and indulge in festivity
28. Kumbh Mela – Major Pilgrimage Festival In Hinduism (14th January to 14th April)
One of the most religious festivals of India, Kumbh Mela is celebrated in a cycle of 12 years, approximately at four banks of rivers that are considered holy – namely Prayag, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain. The pilgrims in this festival dip in the holy waters to get rid of all their sins in life. Along with this, the celebrations also include exorbitant fair, religious discourses by gurus and saints, mass feedings of the poor, and more!
Significance: Celebrated based on the astrological positions of the Sun, the Moon, and Jupiter.
Key attractions: Millions and millions of pilgrims visit the Kumbh Mela and dip in the holy rivers.
When: 14th January to 27th April 2021
Where: Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain, and Nasik (On rotation)
Kumbh Mela 2021: 14th January to 27th April 2021
Things To Do: Take bath in the holy river, attend ceremonies and pujas, attend lectures by spiritual gurus
29. Losar – The Tibetan New Year (14th February, Sunday)
A famous Tibetan festival, Losar is one of the greatest Indian festivals and celebrations. Majorly celebrated in the neighbouring region, Tibet, Losar is a festival that is also celebrated in India by the Tibetans or the followers of Buddhism residing in this nation. Losar is the Tibetan New Year that is celebrated in a fun and frolic way. This also involves a way to show gratitude to God for the harvest.
Significance: Celebrated as the day when the lunar pattern, according to the Tibetan calendar, begins.
Key attractions: The celebrations are spread over three days, where different activities take place on each day.
When: 14th February (Sunday)
Where: Himachal Pradesh, Leh And Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh
Losar 2021: 12th February to 14th February
Things To Do: Indulge in local celebrations
30. Hornbill Festival – The Festival Of Festivals (5th December, Sunday)
One of the grand festivals falling in the list of Indian festivals that is celebrated in Nagaland is none other than the Hornbill. This week long festival is celebrated to show respect to their culture and folklore. Also famed as the ‘Festival of Festivals’, Hornbill is all about celebrating the ancient tribal traditions, lifestyles, and heritage.
Significance: Celebrated as the day to promote intercultural harmony between various tribes.
Key attractions: On this day, there are various activities that take place throughout the week such as horse-riding, craft space, painting, flower show, herbal medicine sales, chilli eating challenge, performances, sports, games, and much more!
When: 5th December (Sunday)
Hornbill Festival 2021: NA
Things To Do: Horse-riding, craft space, painting, flower show, herbal medicine sales, chilli eating challenge, performances
31. Mewar Festival – An Insight Into Rajasthani Culture (29th March, Monday)
This festival happens in the city of Rajasthan, Udaipur. The festival is celebrated to mark the arrival of the spring season. If you want to be a witness to the cultural and traditional aspects of Rajasthan at large, you shouldn’t forget to attend this festival. This festival has a vast history and has been celebrated since when the Sisodia Dynasty was ruling India.
Significance: Celebrated to welcome the season of Spring
Key attractions: the whole festival is quite colorful and women in Udaipur can be seen actively taking part in the various ceremonies
When: 29th March 2021
Mewar Festival 2021: 27th March to 29th March
Things To Do: Attend celebrations
32. Buddha Jayanti – Celebrating The Birth Of A Spiritual Being (26th May, Wednesday)
This is one of the holiest festivals celebrated in the country of India. It is also known by the name Buddha Purnima. The festival is celebrated as the birthday of Gautama Buddha who introduced the philosophy of Buddhism in the world. In order to make the most of this day, people indulge themselves in attending Buddhist teachings and wear white clothes to follow the tradition.
Significance: People celebrate this festival because on this day Gautama Buddha was born
Key attractions: on this day, people impart the teachings of Buddhism and everyone wears white clothes
When: 26th May 2021 (Wednesday)
Where: Darjeeling, Bodh Gaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Kurseong, Darjeeling, and Maharashtra
Buddha Jayanti 2021: 26th May
Things To Do: Visit Buddhist temples and monasteries, attend lectures and prayers
33. Thrissur Pooram – When Moon And Pooram Star Rise Together (23rd April, Friday)
Considered amongst the most famous amongst all the festivals celebrated in Kerala, Thrissur Pooram will be a great event to attend. People from around the country gather to celebrate this festival. The celebrations for Thrissur Pooram do not end before 36 hours. Fireworks as well as Parasol displays form a crucial part of this festival.
Significance: The festival is celebrated to commemorate the establishment of 10 temples around Vadakkunnathan Temple
Key attractions: attend this festival to observe Parasol displays and fireworks
When: 23rd April, Friday 2021
Thrissur Pooram 2021: 23rd April
Things To Do: Attend the processions
34. Ratha Yatra – A Festival Celebrated For Lord Jagannath (12th July, Monday)
This is a festival of chariots that is celebrated as an event dedicated to the Lord Jagannath. People assemble at the famous Puri Jagannath Temple in the Indian state of Odisha. The idols of Goddess Subhadra, Lord Jagannath, and Lord Balabhadra are placed on a chariot and taken out for the procession.
Significance: It is celebrated to pay reverence to the Lord Jagannath
Key attractions: chariots with the idols of Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra are taken out on a chariot
When: 12th July, Monday 2021
Jagannath Yatra 2021: 12th July
Things To Do: Attend Rath Yatra
35. Dree Festival – A Harvest Festival In Arunachal Pradesh
Celebrated in the picturesque Ziro Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, this festival is the biggest harvest festival that happens here. This festival is celebrated to gather people together and pray for a successful harvest. Moreover, people are served with cucumber, symbolizing the richness of the harvest.
Significance: This is considered to be one of the major harvest festivals in India
Key attractions: people assemble and pray unanimously for the smooth harvest
Where: Ziro Valley
Dree Festival 2021: NA
Things To Do: Attend ceremonies
36. Independence Day – Celebration Of Freedom (15th August, Sunday)
One of the most crucial and celebrated national festivals, Independence Day is celebrated to feel the spirit of India’s freedom. The flag hoisting ceremony is also held during this day, carried out by the Prime Minister of India at Red Fort. This event is then followed by 21 gunshots that are fired as a way to give salutation.
Significance: Celebrated to commemorate the freedom attained on 15th August, 1947
Key attractions: the salutation given through 21 gunshots and the Prime Minister of India hoisting the flag
When: 15th August 2021 (Sunday)
Independence Day: 15th August
Things To Do: Celebrate your freedom with friends and loved ones, fly kites, attend ceremonies, feel patriotic
The myriad of important festivals of India boasts of the nation’s rich and varied culture and the religious sentiments of the people. Hope this list of famous festivals of India sparked an urge to travel to different places and be a part of celebrations. If you want to know a little more about the Indian festive spirit, these commonly-asked questions will be helpful. And don’t hesitate to plan a trip to India !