India is land of incredibly diverse, numerous, colourful and lively fairs and festivals. Fairs and festivals are integral part of Indian life. The diversity of religions, sects, faiths and communities ensures a variety of ‘holy’ days which are which are celebrated all over India. Hindu festivals range over the entire year and most of those festivals are celebrated by almost all Hindu communities.

All the great religions of the world have their followers in India. Over the centuries belonging to different racial stocks have come together and mingled in the mainstream of Indian life to make this land a composite of different cultures. Each one of these groups has its own body of beliefs, myths and legends. These are celebrated in different forms of worship and in festivals. Festivals enliven social life and unite the people by bringing them together in joyful celebration of significant events and in shared remembrance of a common past. Festivals in India, like festivals in any part of the world, find expression for the people's zest for living, delight in nature and love of pageantry.

The Indian calendar is one long procession of festivals. These are as varied in origin as they are large in number. Some of them celebrate the birthdays of national heroes; some the eternal cycle of the seasons. Others have origin in religion and in the myths and legends of popular faith.

The Great diversity of India religious beliefs and the varied cultural traditions of the different states never fail to interest the visitor. This diversity accounts for the large number of festivals in India. Some of these are common to the whole country, while others are observed only by a sect or community.

The major festival common to all India are discussed in the following pages in order of their occurrence. No dates have been given for some festivals as these follow the lunar calendar and can occur in any month of the solar calendar. All Muslims festivals fall in this category.

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