| Outside the home, there
is the brotherhood of community worship, moments when the barriers of caste and
creed are forgotten. There is the joy of the congregational view of the deity;
the sharing of specially blessed food, the immersion of idols led in long winding
processions and the chanting of the holy verses. Festivals reinforce the presence
of god in the life of the individual and the family and bind them to the community.
They are also moments for young people to absorb and be part of the age-old, yet
still vibrant and living traditions.
Celebrations of festivals have their own special characteristics in different
parts of India. In MATHURA in northern India is famous for its uninhibited HOLI
and devout JANAMASHTAMI (the birth of Lord Krishna), then CALCUTTA, is the city
to see DURGA PUJA, the ten-day worship of the great goddess who defeated the demon.
GANESH CHATURTHI, dedicated to GANESH, remover of obstacles, whose very presence
is auspicious, is best experienced in the state of MAHARASHTRA. And nowhere outside
of KERALA can one match the sheer spectacle of the caparisoned elephants of TRICHUR
POORAM or the snake-boat races of ONAM. Differences of observance lend local color
to certain festivals – DUSSEHRA, for example, famous equally in the South Indian
city of MYSORE, the Himalayan valley of KULU and the holy city of VARNASI, whose
celebrations in each place follow distinctly regional cultures.
are celebrated throughout the country, in one from or the other, and some are
regional. Festivals in Northern India differ from those in Southern India, but
basis remains the same. Some festivals are held throughout the community in the
whole regions, but some are celebrated in certain places of worship only. But,
whatever may be the differences the jubilation in each of these festivals is equal
and same. Devotion and thanks giving are in the minds of every one. Festivals
are awaited with interest and celebrated with great enthusiasm. Festivals have
become a reason for meeting place of the people, and the common language shared
of human experience, the perception of the larger world as the larger family.
They encourage the outward vision and generosity of heart and mind, a true celebration
of life in every way. Festivals have forever been and will forever be a celebration
that is an exaltation and reaffirmation of life itself.