It marks the harvest festivities of the agricultural communities.
It is observed for three days is celebrated as a family festival. Surya Pongal, the second day, is dedicated to the Sun (Surya). Mattu Pongal is the third day, and is also the day when cattle is decorated with ornamens. Pongal (rice cooked in milk and jaggery) is boiled and offered to the Sun on this day. Friends greet one another by asking, “Has the Pongal brimmed over in the pot?” An answer in the affirmative is followed by great rejoicing.
The New Year Festival or Ugadi follows Holi (the Festival of Colours). The Flame of the Forest (a tree with scarlet flowers) is in full bloom during the season, signifying a time of affluence and beauty. It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon, Lord Brahma, started his work of creation on this day. Also the great Indian mathematician Bhaskaracharya’s calculations proclaimed Ugadi as the beginning of new life. Ugadi is heralded with the heavy perfume of jasmine blooms. The flower is woven into garlands and offered to the gods. It also finds favour with young girls, who wear clusters of it in their long braids of hair.
Navratri is the celebration for the divine goddess, Durga. According to the Hindu calendar, the festival occurs four times a year but the one in the month of Ashwin (September/October) is the most popular. During the festivities, the streets throng with devotees performing the Garbas and the Raas (unique folk dance forms), especially in the state of Gujarat.
A five-day utsav that coincides with a week prior to Shivratri. Dancers from all over the country pay tribute to Lord Nataraja (Lord Shiva).
FETE DE PONDICHERRY / YOGA FESTIVAL, Pondicherry (15th-17th August) A cultural pageant, coinciding with the Liberation Day of the state. The Park monument is brilliantly decorated with lights.NISHAGANDHI FESTIVAL, Thiruvananthapuram (5th April)
A festival of dance and music in Kerala.CHENNAI MUSIC SEASON, Chennai (December/ January)
The season begins in the first week of December and goes on till mid-January. It promises a sumptuous treat to the rasikas (local enthusiasts) and tourists alike. For it celebrates Carnatic Music and its expression in vocal, instrumental, as well as dance forms.MAMALLAPURAM DANCE FESTIVAL, Tamil Nadu (25th December – 30th January)
Dancers and musicians participate from across the country, in this festival. It is conducted with Arjuna’s Penance, at Mamallapuram, as its backdrop.HAMPI DANCE FESTIVAL, Karnataka (1st week of November)
The ruins of the magnificent city of Hampi, 353 kilometres from Bangalore, come alive during this dance and music fiesta Hampi was once the capital of the ancient Vijaynagar Empire (one of the most powerful in the country). Its ruins of stone temples, elephant stables, barracks and palaces offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the people who once resided there. The Hampi Festival is a concoction of dance, drama, music, fireworks, puppet shows and spectacular processions that recreate the grandeur of the bygone era..THRISSUR POORAM, Kerala (April-May)
The Thrissur Pooram Festival is a mammoth spectacle with rows upon rows of caparisoned elephants bedecked with ornaments. The elephants face each other in two straight, disciplined rows – with the grace and nobility of a royal entourage. The ancient resonance of Panchavadhyam, the five instruments comprising the conch, cymbals, trumpet and two kinds of drums, build up the final, glorious crescendo of the spectacle.