India is a land of festivals, and no month passes by without a festival being celebrated. There is a lot of pomp, splendour and gaiety associated with each festival. Sharing of gifts, gift articles and tokens of money are a part of such celebrations. Some of the major festivals are mentioned below with a description of each festival mentioned underneath.
Navratri / Dussehra – 28th September – 6th October 2011
Navratri, meaning nine nights, is the worship of nine forms of Shakti, or divine energy of the Goddess Durga. This festival lasts nine nights and is celebrated during the commencement of Sharad Ritu – i.e the winter months of September and October. People purchase new clothes like chaniya cholis, jewellery, and other finery to participate in the Navratri celebrations.
Boss’s Day – 16th October 2011
Boss’s day is celebrated to thank bosses for their motivation and encouragement to their staff and employees. People celebrate this day by giving cards and gifts to their bosses.
Durga Puja – 3rd October 2011
Durga Puja is celebrated with pomp and splendour all over India especially in West Bengal in worship of Goddess Durga. People purchase new clothes, jewellery, and other finery to participate in the Durga Puja celebrations.
Dhanteras – 24th October 2011
Dhanteras is an auspicious day is celebrated on the 13th day of the dark fortnight (shukla paksh) of the month of Kartik. It is celebrated either in worship of Goddess Lakshmi – the Goddess of wealth or in the honour of Dhanavantari – the physician of the Gods.
Diwali – 26th October 2011
Diwali is the Indian festival of lights. It is celebrated to commemorate the return of Lord Ram and His wife Sita to Ayodhya after 14 years in exile. On this day, people light lamps and burst crackers. It is symbolic of the victory of good over evil. People also send gifts like sweets, dry fruits, gift hampers, diwali decor, diwali puja thali and such to each other.
Bhai Dooj – 28th October 2011
Also called Bhaiya Dooj, this festival is celebrated two days after Diwali in the Hindu month of Kartik. Sisters apply auspicious ‘tikka’ on their brother’s foreheads and brothers promise to protect them and keep them away from harm. Towards the end of this custom, they exchange gifts and sweets for each other.
Children’s Day – 14th November 2011
Children’s day in India is celebrated on 14th November – the birthday of India’s first Prime Minister – Jawahar Lal Nehru. Celebrating this day means giving children the right to enjoy their childhood and grow to become healthy and educated children of the country.
Thanksgiving Gifts – 24th November 2011
Thanksgiving Day is a traditional North American Holiday, which is a form of harvest festival. It is celebration as a way of thanks for whatever one has at the end of the harvest season.
Christmas – 25th December, 2011
Christmas is traditionally celebrated on 25th December of every year with aplomb and much gaiety as the birth of Jesus Christ. Although a Christian holiday, it is also observed as a cultural holiday the world over. On this day, Jesus was born in a manger. He has millions of followers all across the world.
New Year – 1st January, 2012
New Year day celebrates the end of one year and the beginning of another year. New Year is celebrated by many cultures and countries around the world including the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and India.
Lohri – 13th January, 2012
Lohri is an annual thanksgiving Indian festival at the end of the harvest season that is celebrated with much joy and gaiety especially in Northern India.
Makar Sakranti / Uttarayan – 14th January, 2012
Makar Sankranti celebrates the transition journey of the sun from the Saggitarius to Capricon (Makar Rashi). This festival is celebrated in various ways in many states across India. In Gujarat, people celebrate this occasion by flying kites. In other states, people exchange sweets made from jaggery, sesame seeds, and puffed rice.
Pongal – 14th January, 2012
Pongal is the annual harvest festival in southern India, especially in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu. It marks the auspicious beginning of Uttarayan – the transition of the sun towards the northern hemisphere. This festival lasts four days.
Valentine’s Day – 14th February, 2012
Valentine’s Day is a cultural holiday on which lovers express their love for one another by sending greeting cards and gifts to each other. It is essentially a western festival and is celebrated by western and western influenced cultures. Recenty, the trend of celebrating St.Valentine’s day is picking up in India as well. Historically, it is the name of several martyred saints of ancient Rome.
Holi – 8th March, 2012
Holi is the festival of colours celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Phagun, which falls in late February or early March according to the Gregorian calendar. On Holi eve, people burn a bonfire of Holika. According to legend, Holika was King Hiranyakashyap’s sister who was endowed with a boon that she would remain protected even if she would enter fire.
Women’s Day – 8th March, 2012
Womens day observed on 8th March every year in India and all across the World & celebrates the spirit of womanhood. An epitome of care, love and sacrifice, the women plays an all-enveloping character of a mother, daughter, wife, sister, friend, and many more.
Gudi Padva / Ugadi – 23rd March, 2012
Gudi Padva is an auspicious festival celebrated by Hindus in the Maharashtra and Konkan region. This day marks the end of one harvest and the beginning of another. It also signifies the beginning of Chaitra – the month signifying the beginning of spring. This festival essentially venerates Lord Brahma – the first mentioned in the Hindu Trinity.
Mahavir Jayanti – 5th April, 2012
Mahavir Jayanti is the celebration of the birth of Lord Mahavir, who was born on the the 13th day of the rising moon in the Hindu month of Chaitra. It coincides with late march of early April according to the Gregorian calendar.
Easter – 8th April, 2012
Easter is commemorated as the day on which Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. On this day, people gift Easter eggs, cakes, pastries, Easter baskets, and other gifts to each other.
Baisakhi – 14th April, 2012
Baisakhi is celebrated as the beginning of the solar year and the harvest festival of Punjab. People visit Gurudwaras, attend processions and take part in social gatherings on this day.
Mother’s Day in UK – 18th March, 2012
Mother’s day in the UK is the equivalent of Mother’s day in other countries. It is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent. This festival is celebrated since at least the 16th century. It is a time when children honour their mothers by giving them gifts and cards.
Mother’s Day in USA – 13th May, 2012
Mother’s day is a secular festival that is celebrated to honour motherhood and the positive contribution of mothers to American society. On this day, children give cards and gifts to their mothers as a token of appreciation.
Mother’s Day in India – 13th May, 2012
Mother’s day is celebrated to honour motherhood and the positive contribution of mothers to Indian society. People take this day as a time to reflect the positive difference that mother’s day makes to their lives and present gifts and cards to their mothers.
Father’s Day – 17th June 2012
This is a secular festival that commemorates fathers and forefathers. It is related to mother’s day and it celebrates parenting by fathers and guardians. It is celebrated in many countries including India. On this day, children exchange gifts and cards with their fathers…
Parent’s Day – 22nd July 2012
Parent’s day is celebrated as the fourth Sunday of July every year. This festival honours mothers and fathers for their devotion and sacrifices made to provide a secure and promising future for their children. On this day, children give gifts and cards to express their love and honour for their parents.
Friendship Day – 17th June, 2012
Friendship Day is celebrated to honour the relationship between friends. This festival first originated in the USA. On this day, people spend time with friends and exchange cards and gifts.
Raksha Bandhan / Rakhi – 2nd August 2012
Raksha Bandhan is an Indian festival in which sisters tie a sacred thread of protection around their brother’s wrists. By accepting a thread from his sister, the brother is bound to protect his sister from harm.
Janmashtami – 22nd August, 2011
Janmashtami is the festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna on the eight day of the Hindu month of Shravana, which coincides with the 28th of August according to the Gregorian calendar.
Teacher’s Day – 5th September 2011
Teacher’s day in India is celebrated on the birth anniversary of the second president of India Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. School students commemorate this day by conducting various academic activities and celebrations as an act of thanks and remembrance to their teachers. On this day, children offer cards and gifts to their teachers as a token of love and appreciation.
Onam – 9th September 2011
Onam is the annual harvest festival celebrated in the State of Kerala. It falls during the month of Chingam, the first month of the Malayalee calendar, and lasts for 10 days. People send special Onam gifts like jewellery, flowers, apparel, aesthetic indoor decoration, and cards to each other to celebrate the occasion.
Id-ul-Fitr – 30th August 2011
Id-ul-Fitr is a festival that commemorates the end of fasting during Islamic holy month of Ramadan or Ramzan. This festival lasts three days and beings the day after Ramzan ends. The commencement of this festival is verified by the sighting of the new moon. Muslims buy new clothes and exchange sweets as part of the gaieties.
Ganesh Chaturthi – 1st September 2011
Ganesh Chathurthi is the festival that celebrates the birth of Ganesha the son of Siva and Parvati. This festival starts on the fourth day (Shukla Chaturthi) of the waxing period of the moon in the Hindu month of Bhaadrapada, and lasts 10 days in most regions of India. People also celebrate this festival by exchanging gifts and cards amongst each other.
Grandparent’s Day – 11th September 2011
Grandparent’s day is a secular festival that is celebrated to honour and strengthen family values and the role that grandparents play in the family. People celebrate this festival by giving gifts and cards to their grandparents.