A festival is a kind of celebration. Festivals are many and varied in nature. Different festivals are observed in different tribes and communities.
In India, we find Hindus, Muslims and Christians, and Hindus form the bulk of the Indian Population. These religious groups observe their respective festivals in their traditional ways. They are as follows:
The Hindus observe a lot of festivals round the year. The Car-festival is the greatest of them. This festival falls generally in the month of July. But the exact date varies from year to year. The Car-festival at Puri is the most important. The three deities of Puri temple, namely Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are placed on three chariots made of wood. These chariots are enormous in size. Mighty strings are attached to them. When the pilgrims pull the strings, these chariots move onward. Car-festival is held in may places of Orissa. But the Car-festival at Puri is the greatest Car-festival of Hindus. Every Hindu in any part of the world bears a desire to see it at least once in his life time.
Puja-festival is the festival of the goddess Durga. It is a Hindu festival. It falls every year in the month of October. This festival continues for ten days. On the tenth day, the images of Durga are carried in procession and immersed in a river or a reservoir. This festival is gorgeously held in the cities of Calcutta and Cuttack.
Diwali is the festival of lamps. It is also known as Deepavali. It is a Hindu festival. Generally, it falls in the month of October. But the exact date varies from year to year. Diwali celebrates the home-coming of Rama after he had killed the demon king Ravana. In the evening of this day, rows of earthen lamps are lit on every house-front. People explode the play-bombs and crackers and play with a lot of fire-works.
This festival falls every year in the month of March. The deities are carried in the wooden carriages, covered overhead. On the shoulders of men and move from house to house to receive the holy offerings. This continues for about a week. Dola festival celebrates the death of the ogress Holika at the hand of Lord Krishna.
Holi is a part of the dola festival. It takes place on the last day of Dola. On this day every Hindu youth is busy with coloured powder and coloured water. They enjoy the smearing of coloured powder and the squirting of coloured water at their friends. But it should not be extended to the unwilling people.
It is a Mohammedan festival held, generally, in the month of March. It is held as a common condolence to commemorate the death of the great Emam Hosen who was killed at the hands of Azid who had wrongfully usurped the khalifaship. Muharam is observed for three days with handsome projections called Tazia.
Christmas is observed by Christians every year on 25th December, as the birthday of Jesus Christ. This festival is very popular in the Christian community. On this day, cards of greetings are exchanged and visits too. Gifts are given and taken. This is a day of great rejoicing for the Christian people.
The Indians observe a large number of festivals. These should be observed with a spirit of peace, order, unity and co-operation.