India is abundantly famous for its heritage and culture, globally. From yoga to its geographical diversity for travel destinations, color-rich fashion and unmissable-ly lots of festivals. Synonymous with color and culture, India’s culturally diverse landscape boasts a myriad of festivals throughout the year. The vast geographical area is divided yet united by many religions, from the east to the west. Each corner of this country brims with vibrant colors, regional languages each different than the other and a local culture that is prevalent only in that particular area. Each culture and religion has its own festival and a dress code. Lashkaraa breaks it down fashionably as it dissects the significance of Indian festivals and of course what it means for the local and global Indian ethnic fashion.
Understanding the Significance of Festivals in India
India is known for its rich tapestry of festivals, each celebrated with passion, cultural significance, and religious devotion. These festivals not only mark the passage of seasons but also have deep spiritual, mythological, and social meanings. From national festivals that are celebrated with much excitement in the nation – think flag hoisting ceremonies, patriotic movies and weekend getaways with families, to religious festivals such as Holi (festival of colors) and Diwali (festival of lights).
Bringing in a lightness in the air and a sense of celebration among the masses, Indian festivals are all about hearty meals that one would feast on, vibrant decorations and new festive Indian ethnic wear. But first, let’s understand with a brief overview of some major festivals in India and their significance. These festivals reflect the diversity, traditions, and unity in India. The rituals and celebrations associated with each festival vary across regions and communities, adding to the cultural richness of the country.
Known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali signifies the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. It commemorates Lord Rama's return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana.
The festival of colors, Holi marks the victory of good over evil and the arrival of spring. It is celebrated with playful splashing of colored powders and water.
Navratri and Durga Puja:
Dedicated to Goddess Durga, Navratri celebrates the victory of the goddess over the buffalo demon Mahishasura. Durga Puja, particularly celebrated in West Bengal, honors the goddess with elaborate decorations and processions. Additionally, during Navratri, it is common to wear different colors on all nine days, symbolizing various aspects and avatars of the goddess.
Celebrated by Muslims, Eid-al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. It is a day of feasting, prayers, and giving to charity.
A festival celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters, sisters tie a protective thread (rakhi) around their brothers’ wrists, symbolizing love and protection.
Honoring the elephant-headed god Ganesha, this festival marks his birth. Idols of Ganesha are installed in homes and public places, and the festival concludes with the immersion of the idols in water.
Celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, Janmashtami involves fasting, singing devotional songs, and enacting scenes from Krishna’s life.
Also known as Bakrid, this festival commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. Families sacrifice animals, and the meat is distributed among relatives and the needy.
Aharvest festival celebrated in Kerala, Onam marks the return of the mythical king Mahabali. It involves feasting, dance, and elaborate flower arrangements.
Celebrated in different parts of India, Pongal in the south and Makar Sankranti in the north mark the harvest season. It involves cooking a special dish, flying kites, and other regional customs.
What's Coming Up: Preview of Indian Festivals 2024
Starting from the beginning of the year, January marks widely celebrated festivals like Makar Sankranti, Lohri and Pongal. March celebrates Holi. April sees Ramadan, Baisakhi and Eid. Bakrid and Eid-al-Adha are in June. July celebrates Islamic New Year and Muharram. The second half of the year is packed with festivals according to the Hindu calendar. August sees major festivals like Rakhi and Krishna Janmashtami. Ganesh Chaturthi and Onam come in September. October will see Durga Ashtami, Dusshehra and Karva Chauth. Diwali will come in November, the biggest Indian festival that is celebrated by all religions across the nation.
Exploring India’s Vibrant Holidays
Vibrant, color-rich holidays and festivals in India demand equally exuberant clothes. In the land where each month there’s a celebration around the corner, one needs a variety of Indian ethnic wear to prepare for each holiday. When it comes to Indian festive styling, the only rule is to be unafraid of experimenting with colors. Lashkaraa’s wide selection of ethnic wear will take you through all the festivals and weddings that you’re attending this season.
For the upcoming winter festivities and the wedding season, styles from the Sitara collection like the Blue Embroidered Velvet Sharara, Blue Embroidered Velvet Lehenga and Dark Green Embroidered Velvet Saree, are perfect additions to a winter ethnic wardrobe. The velvet fabric helps to keep warm while the dark shades like deep blue and dark green are ideal winter hues. A combination of both the colors in a comfortable silhouette like an Anarkali is the Navy Blue and Green Embroidered Anarkali. To add more drama to the festivities, one can go for lehenga styles like the Teal Embroidered Velvet Lehenga. Some simpler yet still color-rich ensembles would be the Dusty Olive Embroidered Straight Suit, White Embroidered Lehenga and the Pink Embroidered Peplum Style Punjabi Suit from the Jhalak collection. No matter the holiday, there’s a color and style with Lashkaraa.
Infusing Color and Culture: The Unique Traditions of Indian Festivals
Religion and spirituality are at the heart of daily life in India. Multiple faiths make up its cultural fabric — including Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism. From India’s most colorful festival, Holi, to Bihu, each reveres different deities, so it’s little wonder that India has a buzzing festival for nearly every month of the year, with unique legends, rituals and culinary traditions.
While Holi is associated with the devotional love of Lord Krishna and Radha, where the streets come alive with people applying gulal (colored powders) and drenching each other with water balloons and pichkaris (water guns), the Hindu festival of Mahashivratri celebrates Lord Shiva’s wedding to Parvati and is observed on the new moon night of Phalgun. Devotees fast through the day before visiting Shiva temples just before midnight. The Shivalinga (idol) is bathed with milk, yogurt, and honey and the night rings out with bhajans (devotional songs). Among other unique traditions that span through different festivals in India, Rongali Bihu, celebrated in Assam, is another important festival that celebrates the beginning of the harvest season and marks the Assamese New Year. Held over seven days, it is a festival of happiness and involves plenty of merrymaking where people dress up in their best traditional attire and get together for Bihu naach (traditional dancing) to folk songs. Families and friends meet over festive meals of masor tenga (sour fish curry), assorted pitha (sweets made from rice flour) and apong (traditional rice beer).
Being in India means a host of celebrations and festivals at every corner and every month of the year. Embrace the festivities to the fullest as you delve deeper into them!