There are said to be more festivals in India than there are days of the year!
From November, after the Festival of Diwali (Festival of Lights), the single most important festival in India, the weather becomes cooler and drier. The full moon at this time of year, the Hindu month of Kartika, is considered to be particularly auspicious and also heralds the end of the monsoon and start of the wedding season with the Tulsi Vivah, the ceremonial marriage of the Tulsi plant (holy basil) to the Hindu god, Vishnu.
Resembling a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony, a mandap (floral covering) is built around the courtyard of the house. A paper face with a bindi and nose-ring is attached to the Tulsi plant which signifies the bride, and the groom is portrayed by a brass image of Lord Vishnu dressed in a traditional Indian dhoti. Both the images are then bathed and decorated with flowers and garlands, before being linked with a cotton thread as in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony.
Goa, with its large Christian population, is one of the best places to have a traditional Christmas in India - Indian style! Music, dancing, fireworks and sumptuous feasts mark the festivities with midnight mass in its gothic churches, beautifully decorated homes and sumptuous cuisine with Portuguese influences. 3 December is the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, one of the greatest Christian missionaries to visit India, his mummified body is kept in a casket inside the captivating Bom Jesus Basilica in Old Goa. Christians from all over India visit Goa and pray on the anniversary of his burial. The festival, one of the most important Christian events in Goa, continues through to Christmas!
The year ends with the start of Margashirsha, a month of dedication to Lord Vishnu. The full moon day falling in this month is worshiped because it is believed that on this day the moon was blessed with Amrit (divine nectar). This year the full moon falls on 24 December. Traditionally, Hindus bathe with roots of the Tulsi and chant a prayer dedicated to the Sun God. Some believe that taking a dip in the holy river Ganga is considered sacred as it removes all hurdles from the devotee’s life and others believe that donation and charity on this day gives thirty two times better results so is an ideal time to seek divine blessings.
A wonderful mix of traditions, customs, colours, music and joyfulness during the holiday season for us in India and throughout the whole year!
Written by Huzan at Designer Incentives
See our Flavours of the Festive Season Pinterest board.