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Festivals of February
Andhra Pradesh
MahaShivratri is celebrated with religious fervor all over the country. MahaShivratri falls on the 13th (or 14th) day of the dark half of 'Phalgun' (February-March). The literal meaning of Shivratri is "the night of Shiva Devotees believe that Lord Shiva was tied in knot with Parvati, on the auspicious day of Shivratri. Devotees pray to Lord Shiva and sing Shiva hymns for whole night. Special programs are organized on the occasion at Shiva temples all over the country. Mhashivratri is observed in great esteem not only in India but also in Nepal and Mauritius.Grand festivities are observed at Sri Kalahasti temple in Andhra Pradesh on the occasion of Mahashivratri.
Arunachal Pradesh
The Losar Festival
The New Year festival, called "Losar", is perhaps the most important festival of Tawang District in Arunachal Pradesh. The Losar festival of the Monpas is their new year of festival. On this occasion people clean out their homes to usher in the new year and to discard the old. It mostly falls in the last part of February or early part of March and is celebrated with lots of fun and festivity, which lasts for about 8 to 15 days.
The Tamladu Festival
Another important festival is Tamladu, essentially celebrated by the Digaru Mishmis tribe. During the festival, prayers are offered to the God of Earth and the God of Water for protection against natural calamities. The supreme- Lord Jebmalu, is worshipped and welfare of human beings, the standing crops and domestic animals.
Elephant Festival
The north eastern state of Assam in India organises one of India's largest elephant festivals for the conservation and protection of Asiatic elephant. The Elepahant Festival of Assam draws a huge number of crowd in the north eastern state of Assam during this period. The gathering is aimed at increasing eco-tourism and raising awareness of the elephant's struggle for limited resources with man. The objective in holding the festival is to highlight and find ways to resolve the increasing man-elephant conflict.
Shivaratri is celebrated on the 6th night of the dark Phalgun (Feb or March) every year. On the auspicious day, devotees observe fast and keep vigil all night. Mahashivaratri marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava'. It is also believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati Ma. On this day Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves on Shiva Linga.
Madai festival
The festival of Gonds, an old tribal community in Chhattisgarh, Madai Festival is a means to meet relatives settled in different villages and purchase yearlong supplies of daily needs such as salt and cooking oil. Devotees sacrifice a goat beneath the sacred village tree to honor the tribal goddess; the night is marked with non-stop drinking and dancing. The best place to visit to attend the festival is Narayanpur in Bastar.
Dadra & Nagar Haveli
Masimagam Festival
The Masi Magam Festival of Pondicherry is celebrated on the full moon day of the Tamil month of Masi, corresponding to the months of February - March by the Gregorian calendar. The focus of the festival lies on the bathing of the deities in the waters of `theerthavari' or Bay of Bengal. Idols from as many as 64 temples are brought in the early morning to the sea front near Kuruchikuppam in Pondicherry and given a ceremonial bath through various rituals.
Shivaratri is celebrated on the 6th night of the dark Phalgun (Feb or March) every year. On the auspicious day, devotees observe fast and keep vigil all night. Mahashivaratri marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava'. It is also believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati Ma. On this day Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves on Shiva Linga.
Feast of Our Lady of Candelaria
Feast of Our Lady of Candelaria is a popular Christian festival celebrated on the 2nd February at Pomburpa, North Goa District. This annual festival is also known as Feast of Candles. On this day, the devotees pay homage to the patron saint of Candelaria by lighting candles. Sweet dishes are prepared by the festival-goers in order to celebrate the event. Major attraction of this feast is that the Goans of all religions, colors and creeds gather at Pomburpa to celebrate this Christian festival.
POP, Beat & Jazz Music Festival
Held over two days in February at the Kala Academy-Panaji.
Urs of Shah Abdullah
Muslim's, death anniversary of saint Urs of Shah Abdullah. On this day of 17th February Muslims sing lyrical Muslim devotional songs called quawwalis, often sung through the night at Ponda
Goa Carnival
The original reason for the carnival was to celebrate the arrival of Spring and it is observed within the Catholic community as three days of partying before the start of Lent. In Panaji the festivities center around a procession of colorful floats which takes place on Sabado Gordo or Fat Sunday. The event is opened by the arrival of King Momo who makes a traditional decree ordering his subjects to forget their worries and have a good time.
Festival of Gardens
The biggest rose show in the country, also known as 'Rose Festival' is celebrated in the last week of February. Zakir Rose garden, the venue of the Rose festival, displays huge varieties of roses. The festival includes flower shows, performances of music and dance; both classical and folk, exhibitions by local artists, photographers and craftsman.
Surajkund Crafts Mela
The Surajkund Crafts Mela is held every year in the month of February in Haryana. The festival is also popular amongst the residents of Delhi. It was held for the first time in the year 1981. Surajkund Crafts Mela acts as a platform for displaying folk arts and crafts from all over the nation. Suraj Kund Handicrafts Fair is a unique opportunity for the talented artists, weavers, painters, sculptors and craftsmen from different regions of India, to display their skill.
Himachal Pradesh
This festival marks the beginning of the new year in the areas bordering Tibet. On this day people light lamps in front of the family deity Kimshu and meet all their friends. No one may come out before midday. Early in the morning people sing Darshid songs. A square lump known as Brang-Gyas is made out of mixed flour and placed in a platter. The statues of deities and sweets are grouped around this, along with figures of domestic animals. These must be in odd numbers. It is considered auspicious to see this platter full of statues and figures early in the morning.
Gotsi or Gochi
This is the most popular festival in the valley which is celebrated in the month of February in the houses of those who have been blessed with a son in the past year. People gather in those houses and drink 'chhang' wine. On a large platter, some cakes made of mixed flour are placed and carried to the deity by four men. This place is marked by a tree or a shrub or a little mound.
Renuka Fair
Shri Renuka Ji: On the eve of Devprabodini Akadshi the Five day long state level Shri Renuka Ji fair as begin with the arrival of son Lord Parshuram at Shri Renuka Ji Lake in Himachal, the home of his divine mother Shri Renuka Ji. During five day fair several lakhs of devotees from all over the country arrives here to witness the holy occasion of divine meeting of Lord Parshum &his mother Renuka Ji
Jammu & Kashmir
Shivaratri is celebrated on the 6th night of the dark Phalgun (Feb or March) every year. On the auspicious day, devotees observe fast and keep vigil all night. Mahashivaratri marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava'. It is also believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati Ma. On this day Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves on Shiva Linga.
Guru Ravi Das's birthday
The birthday of Guru Ravidass on February 21st every year is celebrated by the name of Shri Guru Ravidass Jayanti.On the occasion of Ravidas Jayanti several processions are taken out and people dress up like Ravidas and his associates. The birthday is celebrated on a huge scale and various programmes remembering the achievements of the great ruler are organized.
Kunda Mela Pratappur
Kunda Mela is one of the main cattle fairs of Jharkhand and it is held in Chatra district at the time of Phalgun Shivratri. Kunda Mela is mainly organized for cattle trade in Pratappur. The popularity of the fair can be judged by its magnanimous kinds, as large number of people trek through mammoth distances to witness this largest cattle fair of Jharkhand.
Chinakkathoor Pooram
The Chinakkathoor Pooram is an elephant peagent which is held annually at the sacred Sree Chinakkathoor Bhagavathy Temple, at Palappuram in Palakkad district in north Kerala. A huge procession of 33 festooned tuskers is the highlight of the festival. The festival is celebrated in Kumbham month of Malayam calendar.Localiite performs traditional art forms like Vellattu, Theyyam, Poothanum thirayum, Kaalavela, Kuthiravela, Aandi Vedan, Karivela on the Panchavadyam or the temple orchestra. The popular ritualistic show puppetry, Tholppavakkoothu, is performed at the temple premises every evening.
Pariyanampetta Pooram
Pariyanampetta Pooram is a seven day fest held at Pariyanampetta Bhagavathy Temple, Kattukulam in Palakkad district of ‘God’s own country’, Kerala. The Pariyanampetta temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy, the Goddess of 14 Desams. The image of goddess is drawn on floor and songs are sung along with it; this ritualistic drawing is called Kalamezhuthu Pattu and is performed on all the seven days of the festival.
Paripally Gajamela
The Paripally Galamela is celebrated at Paripally, 48 km to the north of Thiruvananthapuram. During this elephant fair over 50 elephants are taken out on a ritual procession on the tenth day of the festival.
Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho Festival of Dance
One of the most popular cultural events in India, Khajuraho Festival of Dance is a memorable affair that is held over a week (February and March) and is watched by locals, tourists and celebrities alike. A showcase for the diverse Indian classical dances, the festival attracts the leading performers of Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Bharatnatyam etc. The festival is held before the floodlit temples in the Western Group at Khajuraho where the dancers perform on stage as an offering to the temple gods.
Shivratri Mela, Pachmarhi
Though celebrated throughout India, Shivratri Mela at Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh, is a unique experience. Held in February or March, depending on whether the last day of phagun falls in which month, the festival is attended by lakhs of devotees of Lord Shiva who rests in a shrine on the Satpura Range. The Mahadeo Temple is decked up with tridents that the devotees bring along and plant them on Chauragarh Hill that is nearby.
Madai festival is one of the most colorful tribal festival of Madhya Pradesh. The Madai festival of Madhya Pradesh is held in various villages in line from Mandla to Bastar. The Madai festival is one of its kind festival to be celebrated in Bastar. The Madai festival of Madhya Pradesh is held every year in the third or fourth week of February.
The Elephanta Festival
Elephanta, also known as Gharapuri is a tiny island located about 10 kilometers from the Mumbai harbor. Famous for the beautiful cave shrine that was excavated in the 6th century, Elephanta is a popular tourist site in Mumbai. A World Heritage Site, the Elephanta Caves originally had a marvelous carved elephant on the island.The magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Shiva showcases extraordinary architecture. The imposing pillars and the nine sculptured panels are exceptionally well designed. Organized by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, the Elephanta Festival is primarily a festival of music and dance.
Indian Derby Weekend
The event of Indian Derby Weekend owns the credit of being one of the biggest events on the Mumbai social calendar. The event is fun packed sporting one which goes for a weekend's time attracting around 25,000 people.There are many attractions to this event other than only the horse racing, like international aerial ballet, professional salsa dancing, and live bands playing tributes to The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Cliff Richard.The Indian Derby weekend packs in unmatched grandeur with fashion, entertainment and sport on a mammoth scale.
Shivaji Jayanti
Shivaji Jayanti or the birthday of Shivaji Maharaj is celebrated on a majestic scale in Maharashtra. Shivaji was born on 19th February, 1627. His parents Jijabai and Shahaji Bhonsle named him Shivaji after local Goddess Shivai. Shivaji was the creator of the Maratha nation. He was instrumental in uniting the Maratha chiefs of Mayal, Konkan and Desh regions. His military and civil administration was of greatest importance. He was successful in carving out a small kingdom by defeating the alien powers. Chatrapati Shivaji is a hero not only for the people of Maharashtra but for those of India as well.
Dol Jatra
Yaoshang festival is the premier festival of Manipur and is also known as Dol Jatra. The festival is celebrated for five days starting from the full-moon day of Phalgun i.e. month of February/ March. An inseparable part of this festival is the Thabal Chongba dance.
Nazu Festival
The Nazu Festival, Nagaland is a gala event of the region which is celebrated for 10 days. The Nazu Festival of Nagaland is generally celebrated in the month of February, before the occasion of sowing of seeds for the year. The Nazu Festival at Nagaland is celebrated with great pomp and show. The Pochury tribe during this occasion sing dance and enjoy merry making. The main attraction of the Nazu Festival, Nagaland is the Khupielilie dance, which is performed by the women folk of the Pochury tribe.
Sekrenyi Festival
The Sekrenyi Festival starts with the “kizie' ritual and on the first day the men go for a bath to the village well. Two young tribals then clean the well at night and it is guarded to prevent anyone from using it after it is cleaned. The early mornings again, the men take a bath ceremoniously . The Thekra Hie is the best part of the festival when the young men and women of the tribe sit together, singing traditional tribal songs. There are jugs of rice beer as well as plates of meat kept in front of the participants. The men go for hunting on the seventh day of the Sekrenyi Festival. The most significant part of the festival is on the eight day when there is bridge pulling or gate pulling and there are inter village visits.
Konark Festival
The Konark Dance and Music Festival has been organized for the past 24 years(1986) by personal effort of Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, a Padmashree Awardee, cultural and social Activist and founder/director of Konark Natya Mandap situated at Arka Vihar , Konark. The KNM has an open air theatre,a prototype of Konark Temple where Konark Dance and Music Festival has been organised every year to popularize rich cultural heritage of Orissa.Konark Dance and Music Festival is a great platform to perform both by professional and upcoming artistes thereby creating an unique cultural exchange and national integration.
Kalinga Festival
Kalinga Mahotsav or the National Festival of Martial Dance is celebrated to pay tribute to the Kalinga. It shows the vibrant traditions of martial art of India through dance and music. It is in the essence to mark the victory of peace over war. It took place on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar at Dhauli Shanti Stupa on the 10th and 11th of January this year. This Mahotsav attracts Martial artists from all over India.
The auspicious festival of Maha Shivaratri is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor all over India and even beyond. Though fasting and worship of Shiva Linga with a ritual bath remain the common feature of Shivaratri celebrations at all places, minor variations due to regional difference can be observed in some states.
Masimagam Festival
Masi Magam Festival is the annual festival that takes place on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Masi which falls in between February and March. In this festival various traditional customs are observed like deities from the neighboring temples are brought around Karaikal and many devotees come to take holy dip in the sea to cleanse all the sins. The most significant deity is Sowriraja Perumal of Thirukannapuram. The mythological tale is that Sowriraja Perumal was married to a woman of fisherman community and that made him to enter the fisherman village. The festival is observed on that occasion as the deity enters human society and people offers a hearty welcome to him.
Chandigarh Garden Festival
The Festival of Gardens was started to encourage people to explore the most beautiful creation of nature roses and also to attract people to stunning rose garden of the city for enjoying the grandeur of the blooming flowers.The flower show presents large number of rose species in world fame Rose Garden. The festival of gardens is not only limited to the flower show but also serves a lot to its visitors.
Baneshwar Fair
Beneshwar Fair is a five days fair starting from Shukla ekadeshi of Magh month of Hindu calendar. This is the unique and biggest tribal fair of the country attracting lakhs of devotees.This fair is annually held in Dungarpur, Rajasthan. The name Beneshwar is derived from the holy Shiva Linga located in the Shiv temple in Dungarpur. ‘Beneshwar' in the local language (Vagdi) means ‘master of delta'.
Nagaur Fair
The Jodhpur Nagaur Fair is the second biggest fair in India. The fair goes on for eight days. Nagaur Fair of Jodhpur, Rajasthan is held every year during the month of Jan-Feb.It is popularly known as the Cattle fair of Nagaur. This is because the Nagaur Fair is mainly all about trading of animals. Approximately 70,000 bullocks, camels and horses are traded every year in this fair. The animals lavishly decorated and even their owners dress up wearing colorful turbans and long moustaches. Other trading in the Nagaur Fair in Jodhpur, India consists of sheep to Marwari horses to spices. Some other attractions include the Mirchi bazaar (largest red-chilly market of India), wooden items, iron-crafts and camel leather accessories.
Alwar Festival
Alwar festival is a three-day festival which is being organized by the district administration to promote tourism and emphasize the legacy of rich culture in Alwar. An impressive procession through the streets of the town marks the inauguration of the festival on February 13.The events organized at the Alwar Festival include elephant polo, fancy dress and sketching competitions for children, flower show, exhibition of rare and antique items of the region and a film show on the culture and social customs of Alwar.
Brij Festival
The Brij Festival takes place a few days before Holi, the festival of colours. Held in honour of Lord Krishna, this festival is marked by verve and zest. Villagers, in gay, multihued attire, can be seen singing and performing the Raslila dance-the immortal love-story of Radha and Krishna. All of Bharatpur comes alive to the sound of folk melodies on this festival held on the eve of Holi.Men and women, young and old, rich and poor-all are touched by the spirit of this festival. Boisterous revelers spare no one during this festival and delight in splashing colour on everyone around.
Khatu Shyamji
Khatu Shyamji is famous for its Shyamji temple. There is a steady stream of devotees the year round, but lakh of them gather at the annual fair from Phalgun Sudi Dashmi to Dwadashi. Apart from being a place of pilgrimage, a large number of people come for the Jadula ceremony (the first time all hair is shaved off the head) of their children.Legend connects the place to the epic Mahabharata war. Krishna, it is believed took the form of a Brahmin and asked for the head of Babhruvahan (Barbrik). He then placed the head on a hillock so that it could watch the war. Pleased with the sacrifice, Krishna, then, blessed Babhruvahan to be worshipped as Shyam himself in Kaliyug.
Shekhawati Festival
Shekhawati, already famous for its frescoes, is fast becoming a rural tourism destination too. Travelling on horse back, the tourists get a closer view of the countryside and the people. And they return with an indelible imprint of not only the friendliness of the people but also of the agricultural revolution sweeping the villages -- the region now exports 80 per cent of its crops whereas only a few years ago it could meet only 10 per cent of its requirement through local production. For a broad-based discovery of Shekhawati's culture, the festival is spread over a number of venues - Nawalgarh, Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu. The programmes include a one day tour of the region, camel and jeep safaris, farm visits, rural games, cultural programmes, haveli competitions and fireworks.
Losar is celebrated usually in the month of February. Actually, the Sikkimese' share their new year with the Tibetans. The youth mostly comprising Tibetans take out procession in the streets of Sikkim. On the festive day, Yak dance is also observed. People throw sampa, which is a kind of greeting and welcoming the New Year with screams of 'Tashi Delek'. The Tibetan community involves itself in the festivity a week prior to the day.
Tamil Nadu
Natyanjali Dance Festival
Natyanjali Festival in Chidambaram is dedicated to Lord Nataraja, the dancing Shiva. The festival stretches on for five days. It begins with the auspicious festival of Maha Shivratri, the birth anniversary of Lord Shiva. Dancers from across the country take part in this amazing festival. Nataraja Temple serves as the backdrop for splendid performances during the festival. The festival aims at conveying the message of 'Unity in Diversity' through the language of music and dance.
Chitri Rai Festival
The festival is held in the famous Madurai Temples and lasts for 10 days during the Tamil month of chithirai Major attractions is the procession of lord kallazhagar otherwise known as lord Vishnu from Azhagarkoil to give away his sister goddess Meenakshi, in Marriage to Lord Sundareswarar.
Mahamagam Festival
A holy festival that will bring you to Kumbakonam once in 12 years - the temple city that gets its name from "Kumbha" - the divine pot. Legend has it that Brahma, the Creator, held a pot containing nectar and the seed of creation. Shiva. in the form of a hunter shot an arrow at the pot - spilling the nectar into the famous Mahamagam tank at the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple.Natyanjali festival opens on the auspicious occasion of the Maha Shivaratri day and of course in the right kind of venue - the 'Prakara' of the Chidambaram temple. The magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, built a thousand years ago, provides a beautiful backdrop for the event. The setting is truly divine-Chidambaram's gold-roofed temple, with pillars depicting Lord Nataraja in 108 poses from Bharatanatyam - Tamil Nadu's classical dance.
Uttar Pradesh
Taj mahotsav
Taj Mahotsav, one of the most eagerly awaited festivals, is celebrated from 18 to 27 February every year at Shilpgram near the Eastern gate of "Taj Mahal".This 10 days long carnival is actually a vibrant platform that brings together India's finest craft and culture at one single place. It is a festive introduction to India as a whole and Uttar Pradesh in particular, where the extensive range of art, craft, culture and cuisine are on display.
West Bengal
Birthday of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Ramakrishna was born in a poor Brahmin Vaishnava family in rural Bengal. He became a priest of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali, which had the influence of the main strands of Bengali bhakti tradition. His first spiritual teacher was an ascetic woman skilled in Tantra and Vaishnava bhakti. Later an Advaita Vedantin ascetic taught him non-dual meditation, and according to Ramakrishna, he experienced nirvikalpa samadhi under his guidance. Ramakrishna also experimented with other religions, notably Islam and Christianity, and said that they all lead to the same God. Though conventionally uneducated, he attracted the attention of the middle class and numerous Bengali intellectuals.
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