Important Festivals in India

As India is home to different religions, there are a lot of festivals related to these religions.

Hindu Festivals

Hindus make up approximately 80% of India's population. The Hindu calendar is lunar (or luni-solar), and as such, Hindu festivals don't fall on a fixed day of the Gregorian calendar. Since Hinduism's beliefs and practices are widely varied, there are a large number of festivals. Some are regional, and not all are observed by all Hindus. The more important ones are listed below, and there is no uniformity as to which of these are government holidays.

Pongal is a festival celebrated by the people of Tamil Nadu. Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over or to spill over." The boiling of milk in clay pot signifies material abundance in the households of the rural folk.  more

Makara Sankranthi:
Makara Sankranthi is also a harvest festival and falls around the same time. The festival is celebrated with a lot of fervor all over India. According to the lunar calendar when the Sun moves from the tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn it can be identified as the beginning of the harvest festival and also the end of the north east monsoon.  more

Thaipusam, is a very famous festival in Tamil Nadu and signifies celebrates the victory of good over evil.  more

Maha Shivratri:
The festival of Mahashivaratri falls on the 13th or the 14th night of the new moon during Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Phalgun. Krishna Paksha means the period of waning moon.  more

The colorful festival of Holi is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which comes in February end or early March. Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of 'good' over 'bad'.  more

Ugadi /Gudi Padwa:
This festival marks the beginning of new year in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Karnataka. This festival is known as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.  more

Ram Navami:
Sriram Navami is followed to celebrate the birth of Lord Sriram, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The nineth day (Navami) in the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra is referred to as Ram Navami.  more

Onam is the biggest festival in the Indian state of Kerala. Onam Festival falls during the Malayali month of Chingam (Aug - Sep) and marks the homecoming of legendary King Mahabali.  more

Sri Krishna Jayanti / Janmashtami:
Sri Krishna Jayanti marks the celebration of the birth of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Lord Sri Krishna was born on the 'Rohini' nakshatram (star) on Ashtami day.  more

Ganesh Chaturthi:
Ganesh Chaturthi - also known as 'Vinayak Chaturthi' or 'Vinayaka Chavithi' is celebrated by Hindus around the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesha.  more

Vijayadasami, or Durgadasami, also known as Dasara, is celebrated on Ashwayuja Shukla Dasami. It is celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over evil.  more

Durga Puja:
Durga Puja is an important Hindu festival which is marked by worshipping Goddess Durga during a period lasting 9 days. Celebrations of Durga Puja are visible throughout the country especially in the state of West Bengal where it is very grand.  more

The nine-day Navratri festival held in Ashwin month (September - October) coincides with the Durga Puja festival held during the same period.  more


Diwali is also called the festival of lights and is one Indias most popular festivals. The festival is celebrated by lighting diyas and candles to drive away the darkness of Amavasya.  more

A beautiful festival to celebrate the beautiful relationship that a brother and sister share: that is Rakhi. Feasting, merry making, gifting are the highlights of the day, together with the inherent religious elements.  more

Islamic Festivals

Muslims account for approximately 13% of India's population. The Islamic calendar is also lunar and so festival dates are variable. Moreover, they are not known in advance and are determined by the sighting of the moon. The major ones are:

Eid ul-Fitr:
Eid ul-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of Shaw'waal, at the completion of Ramadan. Shaw'waal is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.  more

Eid ul-Adha (Bakrid):
Eid ul-Adha (Bakrid) is the Festival of Sacrifice. Eid Al-Adha begins on the 10th of Dhu'l-Hijja, the last month of the Islamic calendar, and lasts for four days. It begins the day after Muslims on the Hajj descend from Mount Arafat.  more

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Every day during this month, Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours from Sunrise to Sunset in a complete fast.  more

Christian Festivals

Christmas festival, which marks the birthday of Jesus Christ, is celebrated in almost all parts of the country with lot of pomp and gusto. It is a national festival, even though Christian population is only about 2.3 percent in India. One of the legacies of the British rule is; Christmas is called �Bara Din� or Big Day, and on this day the entire country is in a festive mood.   more

Good Friday:
Good Friday is observed on the Friday before Easter Sunday.Many Christians spend this day in fasting, prayer, repentance, and meditation on the agony and suffering of Christ on the cross.  more

Easter is the celebration of Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead, after His crucifixion which took place on what is now termed Good Friday.  more

Other Religion Festivals

Buddha Purnima:
Or Buddha Jayanti commemorates the birth anniversary of the Lord Buddha. It is widely celebrated on a full moon night in Vaisakha according to the Hindu calendar and usually falls during April or May.

Mahavir Jayanti:
Mahavir Jayanti, as the term suggests, marks the birth of the revered Jain saint, Mahavir. He was born in 540 B.C. as Vardhamana, in a small town called Vaishali.more

Guru Nanak Jayanti:
Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh guru and the founder of the Sikh religion, was born on the full moon day in the month of Kartik as per the Hindu calendar. Hence, his birthday is celebrated as Guru Nanak Jayanti.

Guru Gobind Singh Jayanthi:
Guru Gobind Singh was the last and the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. This tenth Nanak or Sikh Guru was born at Patna Sahib on 22nd December, 1666, on Poh Sudi Saptmi. His birthday falls in the month of December or January or sometimes twice a year as it is calculated according to Hindu Bikrami Calendar, which is based on the lunar calendar

Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom Day:
This religious occasion is celebrated in the month of November or December. Of the ten Gurus in the Sikh Faith, Guru Tegh Bahadur is one eminent personality and is much honoured by the Sikhs for his valor and spirituality.

Also known as Baishakhi. Is an ancient harvest festival in the Punjab region, which also marks beginning of a new solar year, and new harvest season.