Each country has its own traditional holidays and special festivals; and perhaps in the East, spring is the season of festivals. Indeed, when taking a tour around the countries such as Japan, China, Vietnam, South Korea, etc., we can see how the people are excited to welcome the New Year. And there is a Western Asian country where you should travel to discover the unique festivals with strange customs and exotic dishes. That country is India. Here are the festivals which you should at least once participate in when visiting the country of Taj Mahal temple.
This is one of the most popular and colorful festivals held in India. This festival comes when the cold weather gives way to the hot summer. Men and women in the festival throw colorful powder on each other. Everyone is dyed garish. The atmosphere of the festival really is joyous. The festival often falls on the full moon day during the month of Phalguna, sometimes in late March. This is the time when the weather changes significantly, especially the phlegm - thawing with the onset of summer. Therefore, physiologically people in India, particularly in the north rave for more sensuous and sensual pleasures with both the sexes longing to mate!
Holi is generally associated with Lord Krishna, who in his childhood and adolescence ran around with his band of cowherds and maidens of the village. When it comes to this Holi festival, another story goes like this: once upon a time, there is a demon named Hiranyakashyapu wanted all the people to worship him and not Lord Vishnu (a character is always worshiped by the Indian). Even so, even his son Prahlad did not follow this. The demons tried all tricks to kill Prahlad but in vain. At last, Holika, the demon's sister vowed to kill her nephew. So she sat on a pile of firewood along with her nephew and asked the demons to set it ablaze. Since Holika did not know that the fire could kill her, therefore, she was willing to do this action. However, to the surprise of everyone, she was killed but Prahlad was left unscathed. And to commemorate this death of evil, people started celebrating Holi.
Prior to this day, people write down all unwanted things to be burnt on Holi day. In addition to throwing colorful powder in all directions, everyone gathers around to sing and dance in joy on the beat of Dholas and Nagaras (Indian musical instrumentals). During these days, sweet homemade cakes called Goojhas are prepared and offered to every guest. In addition, "papri", "samosa", kachauris", "kanje ke bari", etc. are also prepared.
Holi brings the people is a festival of joy revelry and of abandonment of all taboos and restrictions: to forget the innumerable obligations that weigh us down and breathe the air of freedom.
This is the most famous festival of the Parsis, India. Every year on March 21, Navroze is celebrated. It is considered the Parsi New Year only by one sect of Parsis. However, all Parsis join in the festival. March 21 is the first day of the spring, and therefore a logical day to celebrate the beginning of yet another year. Hence, the name "Navroze", which literally means the New Day.
The festival was celebrated as far back as the 6th century BC ,when Cyrus and Darius ruled over the Persian Empire. The celebration commences with cleaning the house, seeping out cobwebs, painting the whole house. New clothes would be ordered for the entire family. Garlands of roses and jasmine decorate all doors and windows. Food is also an important component in these celebrations. Parsi food is a blend of West Asian and Indian style of cooking. "Rava", the popular dish is cooked with Sooji, milk and sugar. When the mixture thickens, it is flavored with rose water and sprinkled with grated nutmegs. The other popular breakfast is fried vermicelli, cooked in sugar syrup and sprinkled with almonds and raisins.
Then they go to the temples for worship where they offer sandalwood sticks to the fire. It is customary for the Parsis to cover their heads once inside the temples. The children wear small round caps of gold and silver brocade, while men wear small black velvet caps. The women pull their sarees (Indian women's clothes) over their heads. After the prayers they greet one another by bear hugs and say "Sal Mubarak"- meaning may the coming year be prosperous.
Visitors to the house that day are offered sweets and a glass of "Faluda"- a sweet milky drink cooked with a special type of vermicelli flavored with rose essence and served chilled. Pulaos rich with saffron, fish steamed in banana leaves, chicken curries with ground almonds and plain rice and Moong Dal are considered to be appropriate lunch for the day.
In addition, growing of wheat in small earthenware bowls was also an age-old custom of the Parsis. On the 13th day after the Navroze, they tossed these tiny sprouts of plants into the nearby water-head, as a means of reverence for the water and greenery.
Bihu is the biggest festival of the people of the Assam region. This is truly a regional festival, which brings a sense of solidarity and unity among the people of the Assam region. It comes three times a year and marks the changes in the seasons. The first of the three Bihus is called Bihag Bihu or Rangoli bihu. In fact, Bihu is a festival to celebrate fertility. Rangoli Bihu is the most festive and joyful of all the Bihus. Other Bihus are known as Magh Bihu and Kati Bihu.
The Rangoli Bihu is celebrated in spring and related to agriculture in India. The first day of Rangoli Bihu is known as Gori Bihu and is reserved for cattle rites. On this day, household cattle get special attention and they are decorated with colorful garlands of flowers and given good food. The next day is called Manuh Bihu and in order to pay homage to elders. On this day, a special meal is prepared with Chivra (flattened rice), curds and sweets. An attractive feature is the offering of presented called Bhiguwan, which consists of a napkin woven by women in the family loom. The next day is Gosain Bihu, which is reserved for religious services. There is not a general rule for this day; however, all religions will be organized according to their traditions.
The harvest festival celebrated in the winter is the Magh Bihu, when the crops have been harvested. Feasting forms the main feature of this Bihu. It is also connected with fire rites and the lighting of bonfires. On the Bihu Eve, every household has a special meal of fish and meat.
The Bihu specialties among food items are "Chivra"(beaten rice), "Pitha"(rice cakes), "Laru" (sweet balls). These are eaten as mid-day meals. It is also customary for the young to get blessings from the older members of the family.
The last of the Bihus is the "Kati Bihu" which is a one-day celebration. It falls around October, when the paddy crops are yet to mature and the granaries are almost empty. Hence it is called "Kangali" or Poor Bihu. Naturally, there is no feasting on this day. Special Puja Tulsi Pujas (an Indian God) are held on this day.
Being a country with an indigenous culture and interesting festivals, India is waiting for you to harmoniously join together with the people at that place!