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India's DECEMBER Festivities

India is well known for its culture, traditions, festivals, art, etc. Everyone celebrates several festivals in a year and December is the last month of celebrations. As India is the secular country, there are many religions, languages, cultures and castes. It is always crowded with the people involved in the fairs and festivals celebration. Every festival has its own rituals. Here, the SAFARI INDIA is giving a short glimpse of Indian festivals.

HORNBILL FESTIVAL

 
  People celebrating Hornbill Festival in Nagaland

Hornbill Festival is organized by the State Directorate of Tourism, Nagaland. This festival showcases a mélange of cultural displays under one roof. It takes place between the first week of December in Kohima. Hornbill Festival is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival. The aim of the festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its extravaganza and traditions. For visitors it means a closer understanding of the people and culture of Nagaland. The weeklong festival unites one and all in Nagaland and people enjoy the colourful performances, crafts, sports, food fairs, games and religious ceremonies. Traditional arts which include paintings, wood carvings and sculptures are displayed.

GALDEN NAMCHOT

 
  Galdan Namchat Festival is celebrated with a grand fervor by the people in Ladakh

It is mainly celebrated to commemorate the birthday and the Buddhahood of the Tibetan saint-scholar, Tsongkhapa. Tsongkhapa was the founder of the Gelukpa School that preached Tibetan Buddhism during the 14th century. In the later years, this Gelukpa School emerged as a major and dominant monastic order in the central Tibet region. Galdan Namchat Festival is celebrated with a grand fervor by the people in Ladakh. All the monasteries, as well as other buildings, are lit up to present a beautiful sight across Ladakh. The Galdan Namchot marks the beginning of the New Year celebrations in Ladakh. A custom of the Galdan Namchot Festival is the preparation of all kinds of traditional dishes. An interesting display of fire and light is created by the whirling of the flaming torches which are then thrown away in a gesture to bid farewell to the old year and to welcome the new.

RANN UTSAV

 
  Rann Utsav festival celebrated in the white sandy deserts of Kutch

The Rann Utsav ot the Kutch Mahotsav is a celebration in the white sandy deserts of Kutch. During the Rann Utsav tents are set up in the desert for the tourists and the Government facilitates tourists the opportunity to experience the local culture, cuisine and hospitality. When you look over the horizon at Rann of Kutch, the salty white sand merges with deep blue open sky and creates one of the most breathtaking scenery you would ever come across in life. The Rann Utsav celebrates life. The festival is a colourful spectacle on the white desert highlighting the vibrancy of the Kutch regions culture and heritage. There’s folk music, folk dances, shopping (local handcrafted goods) and more. You will be surrounded with culture from every direction at the festival. To top this experience, there are luxurious tents to spend the night in the white coloured desert. On full moon night during Rann Utsav, the region looks even more beautiful.

CHRISTMAS

 
  A man dressed as Santa Claus during Christmas festival

Christmas day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Jesus Christ, who is considered as the son of God and founder of the Christian religion. Basically, Christmas is a festival of Christians, but it is also celebrated by other communities around the globe. ‘Merry Christmas’ is a phrase exchanged by everyone on this day. ‘Merry’ means cheerful or festive, so everyone gives cheerful wishes. However, the most widely accepted meaning of the word is peaceful or blessed. Wishing someone ‘Merry Christmas’ means giving them a true wish of peace or bless. The celebrations of Christmas become more special because it falls during the holiday season and ushers in the New Year. A week or ten days before, everyone hangs a beautiful star outside their houses or schools or markets. Apart from this, all decorations are done by beautiful ornaments, lights, pretty Christmas trees and gifts. Everyone eats traditional Christmas cakes, puddings and other goodies on Christmas Day.

SUNBURN FESTIVAL

 
  Sunburn Festival, a celebration of music in Goa

The Sunburn Festival is a non-stop three day celebration of music in Goa. However, that is not all to this festival. The festival not only offers brilliant music to groove to but also provides the attendee with scrumptious fare, excellent entertainment and shopping experience. Goa gets frenetic with wild beach parties that are held all around the tropical paradise. Happening at the very end of December, the festival cemented itself as the nirvana for travellers spending the holidays away from home, with its audience spanning over 40 different countries. As for the music, Sunburn’s lineups never disappoint, previously featuring acts like Axwell & Ingrosso, Armin Van, Buuren, DJ Snake, Dimitri Vegas & Kike Mike and Martin Garrix as well as an immense amount of regional support. Multiple stages offer up the full spectrum of electronic music with the main ‘Cubezoid’ stage often being praised as one of Asia’s largest.

NEW YEAR EVE

 
  Girls celebrating New Year party

New Year Eve is the most awaited festival across the world. People wait for the festival with great excitement as it marks the new beginning of the next phase of life. The New Year Carnival in India is perhaps one of the occasions which quite ideally unfurls the real allure of the country where tradition and culture blends with convention and rituals. The craze for the festival in India has risen from recent past due to the influence of western culture. December 31 is celebrated as New Year’s Eve, the final day of the Gregorian Year and the day before the New Year’s Day. The celebration of the day, usually starts in the evening and gets into full swing at 12 o’ clock midnight and lasts till late night. In India, New Year celebrations are lavish and grand in metropolitan cities with the western influence while in smaller cities and towns these celebrations tend to be comparatively unfussy. There is the trend of family and friends gatherings and partying together on this eve to bid farewell to the bygone year and welcome the New Year bountifully. Many discotheques, pubs and restaurants organize special programs and sparkling fireworks for the celebration.

(For full stories read SAFARI INDIA)