- New Year’s Day: New Year’s Day is celebrated on January 1st according to the Gregorian calendar. It is a day to bid farewell to the by gone year and welcome the New Year with hopes and resolutions. It is a day to greet friends and family and to look forward for a new year which is filled with happiness and prosperity.
- Eid-E-Milad: Eid-e-Milad or Barah Wafat is celebrated on the twelfth day of the third month Rabi-ul-Awwal according to the Muslim calendar. Id-e-Milad or Milad un Nabi is a gazetted holiday in India and it commemorates the birth and death anniversary of Prophet Mohammad.On this day people gather in the mosques to offer prayers and processions are also held.
- Makara Sankranti: Makara Sankranti marks the transition of sun from Dhanu rashi to Makara rashi. It is a major harvest festival in India and the festival is celebrated in many ways in different regions. This festival has significance even in the ancient epics. Makara sankranti is celebrated with great fanfare across the length and breadth of the country.
- Pongal: Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. The word pongal means boiling over. This festival marks the northward movement of the sun called the uttarayana. The festival is celebrated over a period of four days and people exchange sweets and presents during this time. This festival coincides with Makara Sankranti, Bogi and Lohri which is celebrated in the other parts of the country.
- Thiruvalluvar Day: Thiruvalluvar day marks the birth anniversary of the great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar. He is best known for the greatest classic Thirukkural written by him which embodies universal ethical content.His birth anniversary is celebrated on the next day after Pongal. The day is also called Kaanum pongal.
- Guru Govind Singh jayanti: The birth anniversary of Guru Govind Singh is celebrated as Guru Govind Singh jayanti. He was the tenth Sikh guru. He helped in formation of Khalsa. On this day people day offer special prayers for prosperity in Gurudwaras, take out processions and exchange sweets among friends and relatives.
- Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose jayanti: Birth anniversary of the legendary freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is observed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose jayanti. Netaji played a pivotal role in Indian Independence struggle. This day is celebrated to remember his contribution to the county’s freedom struggle. The day is celebrated with great dedication throughout the country especially in Odisha and West Bengal.
- Republic day: The constitution of India came into force on 26th January 1950.India became a sovereign republic nation on this day.to commemorate this 26th January is celebrated as Republic Day Grand celebrations are held in the national capital where a parade takes place in Rajpath in front of the president. Many cultural events are held on this showcasing the country’s rich culture and heritage. Bravery awards are awarded to the people from armed forces and also to civilians for their acts of bravery.
- Losar-Buddhist festival: Losar is a festival celebrated in Sikkim and in places where Buddhist resides in the country. It is one of the most important Buddhist festivals. Losar marks the beginning of New Year. This festival is celebrated for over a period of two weeks. The term ‘Lo’ stands for new and ‘sar’ means year according to the Tibetan language. The Ibex Deer dance is a main attraction of the festival celebrations.
- Sri Panchami or Basant Panchami: Basant Panchami or Sree Panchami also referred to as Saraswati puja is celebrated at the end of winter season and advent of the spring. According to the lunar calendar this day is celebrated on the fifth day of magh month. Saraswati, goddess of knowledge, learning and wisdom is worshipped on this day. Children are taught their first letters on this day.
- Shivaji jayanti: Birth anniversary of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is celebrated on February 19th in the state of Maharashtra. Shivaji was instrumental in uniting the entire Maratha region and creating the Maratha nation. He is not only remembered for his heroism but also for his civil and administration skills. This day is celebrated with great fanfare and in a majestic style across the state.
- Guru Ravidas jayanti: Birth anniversary of the Guru Ravidas is celebrated as Guru Ravidas jayanti. It is celebrated on the full moon day of magh month. He is the satguru of Ravidasi sect and his followers are called as Ravidasis. He fought against caste discrimination and all his teachings today are known as Ravidasi.
- Swami Dayananda Saraswati Jayanti: Swami Dayananda Saraswati jayanti marks the birth anniversary of the Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj. According to the Hindu calendar he was born on the tenth day during Krishna Paksha of the phalgun month. It was he who first made the call swarajya which was then carried forward by Lokamanya Tilak. He was a great scholar and religious leader who believed in Vedic ideologies.
- Maha Shivratri: Lord Shiva is worshipped on the Maha Shivaratri which literally means night of Shiva. This festival falls on the night of the 14th day of the dark half of magha month. On this day people fast for the entire day and night long vigil are held. The celebrations are mainly held during the night. It is believed that on this day the lord Shiva perfumed the ‘tandava’ nritya.
- Holi: Holi also known as festival of colours is one of the prominent Hindu festivals. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the phalgun month. The festival is celebrated in the spring season and marks the victory of good over evil. This festival is celebrated mainly in the northern India and is known by different names in different regions.
- Good Friday: Good Friday is a religious festival celebrated by Christians. This Friday falls before the Easter Sunday. This day is a gazetted holiday in India. This day commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. On this day special services are held in churches and many Christians fast on this day.
- Easter: Easter is a Christian festival and on this day Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. It is day of great celebration for the Christian community are churches are filled with people offering special prayers.
- Chaitra Sukladi/ Gudi Padwa/ Ugadi/ Cheti Chand: Ugadi marks the beginning of the New Year for the Hindus in the Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. This festival is known in Maharashtra as gudi padva, in Punjab as baisakhi and Sindhi community call this day as cheti chand. It is believed that Lord Brahma began creating the universe on this day. This day is also very auspicious to start a new venture.
- Baisakhi: Baisakhi also called baisakhi is an important Sikh festival. This festival is celebrated during the first harvesting of crops and it also commemorates the creation of Khalsa. This a very colourful festival with lots of singing and dancing and people celebrate baisakhi with great fanfare and grandeur.
- Vishu/Measdi: Vishu festival marks the beginning of New Year in Kerala and also in neighbouring MangaloreVishu means equal and this day falls in the second week of April according to the Gregorian calendar. This day is considered to be very auspicious and is celebrated with great enthusiasm. People wear new clothes and sumptuous meals are served on this day.
- Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti: Birth anniversary of Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is celebrated as Dr. Ambedkar jayanti on 14th April every year.This day is declared as a public holiday in India. Ambedkar played an important role in India’s freedom struggle and also fought for the upliftment of the deprived classes. He played a pivotal role in drafting the Indian constitution and is also known as father of Indian constitution.
- Bohag Bihu (Assam): Bihu is an important festival in Assam which is celebrated by all people irrespective of caste and creed. This festival occurs three times in a year. In April it is called Rongali Bihu. In October it is called the Kati Bihu and in January it is called the Magh Bihu. Rongali Bihu or Bohaag Bihu is celebrated in the first moth of Assamese calendar Bohaag and it marks the arrival of spring and agricultural New Year.
- Ram Navami: Birth anniversary of lord Rama is celebrated as Sri Ram Navami. Lord Rama is on of the ten avatars of lord Vishnu. It is an important Hindu festival and is celebrated with great devotion. This festival is celebrated on the ninth day of the month of chaitra month according to the Hindu calendar. Important celebrations are held in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh where thousands of devotees visit the temple. People take out processions of the idols of lord Rama and Sita on this day and in some places a ceremonial wedding is also performed in the temples.
- Mahavir Jayanti: Mahavir jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Mahavira also referred to as sage Vardhamana. He was the last teerrthankara of the twenty-four teerthankaras. This is one of the most important festivals for the Jains. He preached essence of life and nonviolence. On this day the Jain shrines are decorated beautifully and grand processions are taken out. The statue of lord Mahavira is given a ceremonial bath called abhisheka on this day.
- May day: The first day of the May month is celebrated as Labour Day in India and in more than 80 countries around the world. It is a public holiday on this day. This day commemorates the contribution of working men and women. International Labour Day is also celebrated on this day which has its in origin in US. Various processions are held by trade unions and workers to safeguard their rights on this day.
- Guru Rabindra nath birthday: Birth anniversary of the great poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore is marked as Ravindra jayanti. On this day people remember the great man known for his musical brilliance. He was the composer of our national anthem along with some remarkable poetic works like Gitanjali. Also called as Pocheeshe Boishakh this day is celebrated with great fervour specially in West Bengal
- Parashuram Jayanti: The third day of shukla paksha of Vaishakh month is celebrated as Parashurama Jayanti. He was the sixth incarnation of lord Vishnu. It is believed that he is the saviour of the lands of Konkan and Malabar regions and these regions are called Parashurama kshetra. This day is also called Akshaya Tritiya and is considered vey auspicious to buy gold or start new ventures.
- Hazarat Ali Birthday: Hazarat Ali’s birth anniversary is a day of great importance among the Muslim community. He was the son-in-law and cousin of the Prophet Mohammad. He was the fourth caliph and ruled over the Islamic caliphate from 651 to 661, which was considered as one of the most turbulent periods in the Muslim history. He was a man of great wisdom, a warrior and a writer. He is known for his courage, generosity and great dedication towards Islam.
- Buddha Purnima: Birth anniversary of Lord Buddha who was the founder of Buddhism is celebrated as Buddha Poornima. This day falls on the full moon night in the month of vaishaka. This day marks three important events in the life of Buddha. First is his birth, second his enlightenment and third his attainment of nirvana.
- Guru Arjan Dev Martyrdom day: June 16th commemorates the death anniversary of the fifth guru of the Sikhs Guru Arjan Dev. He made many important contributions to the Sikh community most important being the compilation of Adi Granth which he did through compiling the work of the previous four gurus. He himself contributed 2218 hymns to the Sri Guru Granth sahib.
- Rath Yatra: Puri Jagannath rath yatra or car festival is one of the most important religious events in India. This is celebrated in Orissa on second day in the bright fortnight of Ashad month. On this day idols of Lord Puri Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken out in their respective chariots in a grand procession to the Gundicha Temple and remain there for nine days. After nine days the idols are returned back to Jagannath temple. Thousands of people visit Puri during this festival to have a glimpse of the deities and to pull the chariots which is considered as very pious task.
- Eid-Ul-Fitr: Eid al-Fitr is an important Muslim festival. This festival marks the end of month of Ramadan which is a month of fasting and marks the beginning of Shawwal. Eid stands for festivity while fitr means breaking the fast. This day is celebrated with great zest and people wear new dresses, offer prayers and greet friends and family.
- Independence Day: Independence Day is celebrated in India on august 15th to mark the independence of India from the British rule. India became a sovereign independent nation in 1947 after long freedom struggle. This is a national holiday in India and on this day people pay homage to all the leaders who struggled for India’s independence.
- Parsi New Year day: Parsi New Year also called nowroz marks the beginning of New Year for the Parsis. On this dsay people waer new dresses, greet the near and dera ones, decorate their homes and also offers food for the poor. This is day of great joy and festivity and people visit shrines to offer special prayers and special delicacies are served on this day.
- Raksha Bandhan: Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is a day to celebrate the bond of love and affection between brothers and sisters. On this day the sister’s tie rakhis or holy thread around their brother’s wrist for his protection while the brother’s vow to protect their sister. The festival has a great significance in our culture and has been celebrated in India since time immemorial.
- Varalaxmi Puja: Varalaxmi puja is performed in the very auspicious month of Sravana. This festival falls on the Friday and it is considered as a very sacred puja. This pooja is performed by women for the wellbeing and prosperity of their family. Goddess Laxmi who is the goddess of wealth and prosperity is worshipped on this day. This festival is celebrated with great fervour in south Indian states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
- Krishna Janmastami: Birth of lord Krishna is celebrated as Krishna Janmashtami. It is also called Gokulashtami or Ashtami.Lord Krishna who is the eighth avatar of lord Vishnu was born in the ‘Rohini’ nakshatra. This day is filled with joyful celebrations especially in the midnight since it is believed that Krishna was born at that hour. On this day people visit the Shree Krishna temples and wide variety of sweet delicacies are served.
- Ganesh Chaturthi: Birthday of Lord Ganesh is celebrated across the country as Ganesh Chaturthi. This day is of great religious significance for Hindus. The festival starts on shukla chaturthi in the month of Bhaadrapada and lasts for ten days and ends on Anant Chaturdashi. Huge and elaborately crafted statues of Lord Ganesh are installed in podium and homes and worshipped for ten days. On the tenth day statutes are taken out in grand procession for immersion.
- Onam: Onam is one of the important festivals in the state of Kerala and it is their state festival. This festival is celebrated for ten days starting from first day of Atham and continuing till tenth day called Thiru Onam. This festival marks the homecoming of King Mahabali who once ruled Kerala long time ago. The main attractions of the function are beautiful floral carpets, wide variety of delicacies and sports and cultural events like the boat race.
- Gandhi Jayanti: Birth day of Mahatma Gandhi is commemorated as Gandhi jayanti. In India this day is a national holiday. Gandhiji also known as father of our nation played a pivotal role in India’s freedom struggle. He promoted non-violence or Satyagraha and even today his principles continue to inspire many people.
- Mahalaya Amavasya: The dark fortnight of the aswayuja is known as pitra paksha or mahalaya paksha and the last day of the fortnight which is a new moon day is called Mahalaya Amavasya. This day is considered a very important day to offers oblations to departed ancestors. Obsequies and rites are performed on this day to appeased the deceased souls as it is believed that rituals performed this will free the departed souls from all their sins.
- Dussehra (Maha Saptami): Maha Saptami is one of the holy days in nine day long Durga puja. It falls on the seventh day of the shukla paksha in the Ashwin month. On this day many rituals are performed to worship Goddess Durga. Prominent among them is the pre-dawn bath of Kola Bou. ‘Kola Bou or Nabapatrika signifies Durga in the form of a banana plantain. Worshippers recite hymns and offer flowers to the goddess on this day.
- Dussehra (Maha Ashtami): Maha Ashtami is the eight day of the navaratri and is celebrated to signify goddess victory over the demon Maishasura. The bhatukamma festival is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh on this day which is a biggest festival in the state.
- Dussehra (Maha Navmi): The ninth day of navartri is called the Maha Navami.It is the last day of Durga puja. In south on this day ayuda puja is held when books and tools of work are wordhipped. In some regions in the north kaya puja is performed on this day where nine young girls who represent nine forms of Durga are worshipped.
- Bakrid: Id-ul-Azha, Id-ul-Zuha or Bakr-id is an important festival for Muslims all around the world. It is also known as the’ festival of sacrifice’. This festival commemorates Ibrahim’s spirit of sacrifice.it is believed that through recurring dreams Allah commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his son to which Ibrahim agreed. But when he was about to sacrifice his son Allah intervened to tell Ibrahim that he had passed the test of devotion and instead he had to sacrifice a lamb. Bakri-Id starts from the tenth to the twelfth day in the Islamic month of Dhu’l Hijjah which is twelfth and last month of Muslim calendar.
- Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti: The birth anniversary of the great sage Maharishi Valmiki who authored the epic Ramayana is celebrated as Valmiki jayanti. It falls on the full moon day of the ashwin month according to the Hindu calendar. Valmiki is also known as Adi kavi or the first poet since he composed the first sloka which set the foundation for the Sanskrit literature.
- Karaka Chaturthi (Karva Chauth): Karva chauth also known as karaka chaturthi is a one of the most famous north Indian Hindu and Sikh festivals. It is a one day festival where married women fast for the entire day for the longevity, prosperity and well being of their husbands. The festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon in the month of kartik. Generally this is celebrated nine days before Diwali.
- Karnataka Rajyothsava: Karnataka or Kannada Rajyothsava is celebrated on November 1st every year to commemorate the formation of the Karnataka state.According to the states reorganisation act all Kannada speaking regions were clubbed together to form a single state and give the name Mysore. However due to some differences the state was renamed as Karnataka in the year 1973.
- Naraka Chaturdasi: Second day of the five day long Diwali is called Naraka chaturdasi. This day marks the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakasur. On this day people follow a custom of taking oil bath in the morning.
- Diwali: The third day of the five day festival is called Diwali. Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals. This festival is also called the festival of lights. Diwali or Deepavali means row of lamps. During Diwali people light earthen oil lamps to signify victory of good over evil and light over darkness. On this day people perform Laxmi puja, wear new clothes and burst crackets to keep away the evil spirits.
- Bhai Dooj: The last day of the five day long Diwali festival is called bhai dooj. Here dooj means second day after the new moon. This festival celebrates the special bond between brothers and sisters. On this day sister’s invite their brothers to their homes and perform the arti and apply tika or vermilion which signifies the sister’s prayers for long and happy life of their brothers. This festival also has mythological significance and is also called ‘Yama Dwiteeya’.
- Muharram: Muharram is the first month of the Muslim calendar. It is believed to be the most sacred month among all months. The tenth day named ‘Ashurah’ is day of mourning for the Shia Muslims to commemorate the martyrdom of Ali’s son and Muhammad’s grandson Husain. Many Muslims fast during the day and processions are also held and Tazia which are replicas of the Martyr’s tomb, are carried in procession.
- Guru Nanak Jayanti: Guru Nanak jaayanti commemorates the birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He was also the founder of sikkism. Guru Nanak was born on the full moon day of the month of kartik according to the Hindu calendar. According to Gregorian calendar his birthday falls in October or November
- Guru Teg Bahadur’s Martyrdom Day: Guru Teg Bahadur’s Martyrdom Day is an important day for the Sikh community. Guru Teg Bahadur was the ninth gurus of the Sikh and he was beheaded in Delhi on the orders of Aurangzeb. This day is to commemorate his sacrifice. On this day the Sikhs take out procession, sing hymns and kirtans and visit Gurudwaras and pay their respect and homage to the guru for his supreme sacrifice.
- Feast of St.Francis Xavier: December 3rd is celebrated as feast of St. Francis Xavier who is also known as ‘Goencho Saib’ means lord of Goa. This day commemorated the great contribution of the saint towards community through his missionary work. It is also a day to honour the death of the St. Francis. Various ceremonies are held on this day in Bom Jesus Basilica where his body is placed in a glass container encased in a silver casket. Thousands of pilgrims visit the church during this time of the year.
- Christmas: Birth anniversary of Jesus Christ is celebrated as Christmas on December 25th. It is the most important festival for the Christians and this is a universal festival celebrated around the world. Mid night mass is an important aspect of the festival when the entire family attends the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. On the Christmas day people decorate the Christmas trees, send greeting cards to near and dear ones, exchange gifts and sing Christmas carols.