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"Festivals of Karnataka"

Dussehra :
This festival commemorates the victory of Goddess Chamundi over the demon Mahishasura. In Mysore, the parade of caparisoned elephants and soldiers in ceremonial attire winding their way from the brightly illuminated Mysore Palace gates on Bani Mantap, together with the pomp and music, creates a wondrous kaleidoscope of colour and sound. The highlight of Dussehra festivities in Madikeri, coorg is a procession of beautifully-lit temple cars vying for the coveted prize of best decorated car.
Month : October

Hampi Festival ( Vijaya Utsav ) :
Every year, the ruins at Hampi come alive with the strains of classical music and dance when it hosts the Vijaya Utsav to recreate the grandeur of the erstwhile Vijayanagar Empire. Similar festivals are held at Halebid, Pattadakal, Karavalli and Lakkundi.
Month : November

Tula Sankraman :
It is believed that during this festival, Goddess Cauvery appears in the form of a sudden upsurge of water in a small tank in Coorg to give darshan to her devotees gathered there. This event is known as Theerthodbhava.
Month : October

Vairamudi Festival :
The sleepy town of Melkote comes alive during the annual Vairamudi festival when the deity at the hill shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu is adorned with a legendary diamond studded crown brought from the Mysore Palace. This event is part of the 10 day long Brahmotsavam festivities.
Month : March

Kambala ( Buffalo Race ) :
The Kamba buffalo race in rural southern coastal Karnataka originated as a royal pastime and was later continued by the feudal lords of the Tulu region. The event features water buffaloes racing down a slushy track, egged on by a farmer balancing precariously on a wooden plank trailing behind the beast. A riot of colour and frenzied cheering mark this annual sporting event where the prize goes to the swiftes.
Buffalo racing season : From November to March in Baradi Beedu, Bolantur, Kolatta Majalu, Bajagoli, Puttur, Kamalakatte, Uppinangadi and Kolakebylu.

Vasantha Habba ( Spring Festiva)l :
Each Year, Nrityagram Dance Village, founded by the late Odissi dancer, Protima Gauri Bedi, comes alive during Vasantha Habba. This is a nightlong celebration of dance and music featuring some of India’s most renowed performing artists.
Month : February

Karaga Festival:
This is a 9 day tradition started and sustained by a Tamil speaking community of gardeners called Thigalars. Karaga is held at the Dharmaraya Swamy Temple in Bangalore. Just after dusk on the Karaga day, a priest dressed in female attire leads a spectacular procession to the accompaniment of dazzling swordplay by dhoti clad, bare chested Thigalars. On his head, he carries a flower bedecked pyramid. A unique feature of Karaga is the unbroken tradition of visiting the tomb of an 18th century Muslim saint every year.
Month : April

Kadalekayi Parishe :
Populary know as the ‘Groundnut Festival’, the Kadalekayi Parishe welcomes the first yield of the groundnut corp. Karnataka’s farmers congregate at the Bull Temple each year to seek blessings for a good harvest. Heaps of different varieties of groundnuts spring up in the area surrounding the Bull Temple, the Dodda Ganesha Shrine and the Bugle Rock Park in Basavanagudi, Bangalore.
Month : November

Huthri Festival :
This harvest festival, literally meaning ‘new rice crop,’ is celebrated in Coorg when the paddy is ready to be harvested in the months of November or December. The ceremonial cutting of the new paddy crop by the head of the family falls on a full moon night and is accompanied by chants of “Poli,Poli,Deva" ( Increase, increase, O God!). A single gunshot is fired to summon Lord Iguthappa, the presiding deity of the Kodava people.
Month : November / December

Banashankari Fair :
The annual temple festival at the village temple in Banashankari is more than a religion event. During this time, the streets around the temple are taken over by a huge fair thronging with vibrant colours, gaiety and thousand of devotees.
Month : February – March



Maha Mastakabhisheka, Shravanabelagola
:
Once in 12 years the tranquil Jain pilgrim centre in Shravanabelagola is transformed into a throbbing city with millions of devotees converging to participate in the spectacular ceremonies for the Maha Mastakabhisheka ( sacred head anointing ceremony).

It is one of the most thrilling acts of worship seen anywhere in the word with devotees bathing the magnificent 18m high statue of Lord Bahubali atop of the vindyagiri hillock with hundreds of litres of milk, sugarcane juice, pastes of saffron and sandalwood, followed by a torrent of coconut, turmeric, saffron and vermilion powder. Offering also include showers of precious gems, coins, and gold and silver petals. In a fitting finale to the grand proceedings, a helicopter flies over the statue showering the choicest flowers on Lord Bahubali.

This event commemorates the first Maha Mastakabhisheka performed in 981 A.D., by Chavundaraya – Prime Minister of the erstwhile Ganga kingdom.
Years : 2018 / 2030 / 2042 / 2054 / 2066

"Festivals of Kerala"

Onam :
Onam is the biggest and the most important festival of the state of Kerala. It is a harvest festival and is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm all over the state by people of all communities. According to a popular legend, the festival is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam.

Onam is celebrated in the beginning of the month of Chingam, the first month of Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham). This corresponds with the month of August-September according to Gregorian Calendar.

Carnival of Onam lasts from four to ten days. First day, Atham and tenth day, Thiruonam are most important of all. Popularity and presentation of rich culture of the state during the carnival made Onam the National Festival of Kerala in 1961. Elaborate feasts, folk songs, elegant dances, energetic games, elephants, boats and flowers all are a part of the dynamic festival called Onam.

Government of India has taken due notice of this vibrant and colorful festival. It promotes Onam internationally in a big way and celebrates 'Tourist Week' for Kerala during Onam celebrations. Thousands of domestic and foreign tourists visit Kerala to be a part of Onam.

Vishu Festival :
Falls on the first day of Malayalam month Medam (April), which is the astronomical New Year Day when the sun crosses the equator.

Through Vishu is identified with the Hindus religious beliefs, it is not in any way a religious festival. As per popular belief, the first thing people see on Vishu, the 'Vishukkani', is decisive to the year's prosperity.

Thus the 'Vishukkani' has over the years become a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles like raw rice, fresh linen, golden cucumber, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, the yellow flowers 'konna' (cassia fistula), and a holy text and coins, in a bell metal vessel called 'uruli'. A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside.

As Vishu ushers in a New Year dawn, people wake up to behold the ritualistic arrangement. Giving off handsel (kaineettam) to the younger members of the family is part of the celebrations.

Aranmula Boat Race :

The boat race in Aranmula is held on the River Pampa. A temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Arjuna is located at Aranmula. The boat race takes place in the vicinity of this Parthasarathy temple. The banks of the Pampa River are overcrowded with people who are keen on witnessing this impressive event.

The small hamlets on the banks of the Pampa Rivers are the contestants of this boat race. But it would be more appropriate to term it as part of festive celebrations rather than as a competition. It is true that that winning does bring a lot of joy to the villagers but there is no fierce rivalry between them.

4 helmsmen, 100 oarsmen and 25 singers are seen in these 100 ft long snake boats or Chundan Vallams. The atmosphere is simply exhilarating when these boats start moving to reach the finishing line. The songs as well as the shouts and cheers fill the air. The joyous excitement of the crowd reaches its high water mark.

It is indeed a visual treat to watch the ornamentally decorated boats racing through the water. They are beautifully adorned with golden laces, colorful flags and opulently decorated umbrellas. The rowers are also dressed in the same attire – spotlessly white dhotis and turbans.

The Aranmula Boat Race begins each year on the last day of the Onam festival. It lasts for two days.

Nehru Trophy Boat Race :
Alappuzha is famous for its annual boat race, held on the second Saturday of August every year. The long elegant snake boats, with crews of over hundred men vying to win the coveted trophy, attract spectators from all over.

This was started in 1952 when India's first Prime Minister, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, visited Alappuzha, and inaugurated the function in which the gigantic snake boats with over 100 rowers in each raced one another.

It is called a Snake Boat Race as its 135 feet length has since been overtaken by Vellankulangara snake boat, which is 140 feet long.

Trichur Pooram Festival :
The most spectacular temple festival in Kerala begins as twilight descends on the temple of Vadakkunathan (Shiva) atop a hillock near Trichur. Thirty richly decorated elephants carrying ceremonial umbrellas and fanned by whisks stride out through the gopuram (temple gate). The elephant in the center carries the processional image of the temple deity, Vadakkunathan. To the sound of trumpets and pipes, the elephants go around the temple. A spectacular display of fireworks soon after midnight continues until the break of dawn. 

Arattupuzha Pooram Festival :
Aarattupuzha Pooram, the largest elephant stage entry in which about 70 majestically caparisoned elephants participated. Aarattupuzha is about 14 km from Thrissur town. The famous Ayyappa temple at Aarattupuzha is just 14 kms from Thrissur, and celebrates its annual pooram festival during March.

The final pooram is conducted with sixty one caparisoned elephants bearing bright coloured umbrellas and parasols, presenting an unparalleled spectacle. The temple ensemble lends a majestic tenor to the extravaganza.Legend has it that the patron deities of the neighbouring villages ride majestically caparisoned tuskers to arrive in a procession at the Arattupuzha village on the festival day.

Anandapalli Maramadi :
Anandapalli, a tiny village close to Adoor in Pathanamthitta district is well-known for its annual Maramadi festival, an ox race carnival, normally held in the villages of Kerala during the harvest season (August- September).

Huge stretches of freshly ploughed paddy fields (kandams) form the stadium for the race. Excited villagers crowd around the stadium to cheer the participants.

A pair of oxen managed by three persons forms a participating unit. Nearly 30 such units participate in the race, which starts at noon and continues up to dusk's.
Month : August-September

Jewish Festival:
Among the Jewish festivals, the Sabbath (Saturday) occupies the pride of place. The Sabbath gives the labourer every week a day of rest and leisure. Passover or the feast of unleavened bread is one commemorating the birth of Israel as a nation and deliverance of the Jews from the Egyptian slavery. It falls in April or May. Pentecost is another Jewish festival held in May-June. It has an agricultural and historical significance. The feast of Tabernacle is another pilgrim festival falling in either September or October. During this feast, Jews set temporary booths covered with palm leaves and decorated with citrus and other fruits. The Jewish New Year falls in September or October. It is not a time for revelry, but a solemn season for self-assessment and judgement in the life of the Jew. The Day of Atonement following the New Year is the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. Not a morsel of food or a drop of water will pass the lips of the observant Jews from subset of the previous day till after the nightfall of the next day. The Jews will be in the synagogue of devoting themselves to fervent prayers. The Hannukka or the festival of lights is another popular celebration of the Jews.

"Festivals of Tamil Nadu"

Tamil Nadu has perhaps the largest number of religious celebrations in the year. Most of the temple-festivals take place in September-October and in the post-harvest months of March-June. The duration of each festivals is from three to ten days more. The main deity is draped in colorful bright costumes and adorned with very valuable and rare items of jewellery of the distant past. The deity is mounted on specially constructed carriers called 'Vahanams' and taken round the temple in processions.

Tamil Nadu is a land of temples. Temples and festivals go together. Festivals are not only religious occasions but also cultural and commercial land marks. They are part of the life of the people. They help family re-unions. People meet at festivals which are designed to ensure individual happiness commingled with social joy and domestic éclat. At Ekadasi and Skanda Shasthi festivals, devotees go on fast. All the other Hindu festivals are occasions of great feasting.

The seasons of the Tamils are called Kar, Kuthir, Munpani, Pinpani, Ilavenil and Mudhuvenil. Each of two month duration they denote the cloudy, rainy and chill weather respectively.

The year is also divided into two periods of six months each (1) Uttarayanam, the period of longer days and shorter nights (mid Jan to mid July) and
(2) Dakshinayanam, the period of shorter days, longer nights and inclement weather (mid July to mid January). The first is the chosen period for festivities. The second is generally avoided for them. In the beginning of the Dakshinayanam, spiritual heads and monks observe Chaturmasya halting at a particular place, preaching and practicing a life of intense devotion and meditation.

Pongal Festival :
India is bestowed with the bliss of festivity. A major segment of the population here depends on agriculture. As a result, most of the festivals are also related to the agricultural activities of the people. These festivals are celebrated with different names and rituals in almost all the parts of India. Pongal is one of such highly revered festivals celebrated in Tamil Nadu to mark the harvesting of crops by farmers. Held in the middle of January, it is the time when the people get ready to thank God, Earth and their Cattle for the wonderful harvest and celebrate the occasion with joyous festivities and rituals.

The four-day Harvest festival is celebrated all over the state in January. The festival begins on the last day of the Tamil month with Bhogi Pongal followed by Surya

Pongal on the next day. It is on this day that Chakkara Pongal, a delicacy of harvest rice cooked with jaggery, ghee and cashew nuts is offered to the Sun God. The third day, Mattu Pongal is dedicated to the Cattle when cows are bathed and adomed with colorful beads and flowers. Jallikattu, the bullfight is held on the last day known as Kannum Pongal.

First day !
The first day of the festival is called Bhogi. On Bhogi all people clean out their homes from all corners, and collect all unwanted goods. In the evening, people will light bonfires and burn what can be burnt.

Second day !
The second day of the festival, Surya Pongal, is the day on which the celebrations actually begins, is the first day of the Tamil month Thai. On this day, Surya, the sun God is worshipped and women will wake early on this day to create elaborate kolum on the grounds in front of their doorway or home. Kolums are created with colored rice flour placed on the ground carefully by using one's hand.

Third day !
The third day is called Maatu Pongal, maatu meaning cattle. This day is devoted to paying homage to cattle. Cows and Bulls are decorated with paint and bells and people pray to them.

Fourth day !
The fourth day is termed as Kaanum Pongal. On this day, people travel to see other family members.

Natyanjali Dance Festival :
Starts from the day of Mahashivaratri, for 5 days. Chidambaram is situated along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, 75 kms south of Pondicherry. Lord Nataraja, according to the Hindu mythology is a cosmic dancer. He is called the Lord of dances. This is an opportunity for all dancers, from all India, to perform and to pay their tribute to Lord Nataraja.The Natyanjali festival, which brings all the prominent dancers of India, together on the same platform, opens on the auspicious occasion of Mahasivaratri, in the month of February. It is performed at the 'Prakara' of the temple, and the dancers, full of intense bliss and devotion, with their evocative abhinaya, offer their dance to the great divinity, Lord Nataraja.

Festivals have great value in Chidambaram. The Natyanjali festival dedicated to the Cosmic Dancer (Lord Shiva) is celebrated every year during February-March. Lord Nataraja, according to Hindu mythology is the cosmic dancer. He is also called "the Lord of Dances".

Natyanjali festival is jointly organised by The Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu, The Ministry Of Tourism, Government of India and The Natyanjali Trust, Chidambaram. It is designed to promote a universal message of 'Unity in Diversity' conveyed in the universal language of music and dance.

Kavadi Festival :
Dancing in a hypnotic trance to the rhythm of drums, devotees of Muruga carry the 'Kavadi' a flower decked decoration, all the way up the Palani Hills to fulfil their vow. According to Hindu mythology, Idumban is said to have carried two sacred hillocks on two ends of a pole laced on his shoulders.

The ancient Tamils when they went on pilgrimage, carried the offerings to the gods tied on the either end of the long stick, which was balanced on the shoulders. In order to lessen the boredom of the long travel they used to sing and dance about the gods. Kavadi Aattam has its origin in this practice. Special songs were created to be sung while carrying the Kavadi Sindhu. This dance is performed only by men. It is done by balancing a pole with pots fixed on either end, filled with milk or coconut water. The poles are made from Purasai or Teak wood. On top, bamboo strips are bent like a half-moon, covered with saffron cloth and further decorated on the sides with peacock feathers. This is mainly a religious dance, performed in worship of Lord Murugan, the second son of Siva. The dance is accompanied by Pambai and Naiyandi Melam.

The Most Important Custom

The most potent propitiatory rite that a devotee of Lord Muruga undertakes to perform is what is known as the "Kavadi". The benefits that the devotee gains from offering a Kavadi to the Lord are a million fold greater than the little pain that he inflicts upon himself.

Generally, people take a vow to offer the Lord a Kavadi for the sake of tiding over a great calamity. Though this might on the face of it appear mercenary, a moment's reflection will reveal that it contains in it the seed for the supreme love for God. The worldly object is achieved, no doubt, and the devotee takes the Kavadi; but after the ceremony he gets so God-intoxicated that his inner spiritual chamber is opened. This is also a method that ultimately leads to the supreme state of devotion.

Agni Kavadi

This is the most difficult Kavadi-offering. With the Kavadi hanging on his shoulders, the devotee walks through a pit of burning coals. The devotees all around the pit sing hymns in praise of the Lord. The beating of the drums and the burning of the incense make the entire atmosphere awe-inspiring. The real devotee gets into a state of ecstasy and easily walks over the fire.

Celebrations

The Kavadi festival is celebrated at all shrines of Lord Muruga. Dancing in a hypnotic trance to the rhythm of drums, devotees of Muruga carry the Kavadi all the way up the Palani hills to fulfill their vow. Ettukudi Kavadi Festival is a famous festival celebrated during the months of April-May. Devotees from places and villages around this temple come here with Kavadis, milk pots, coconuts, cocks and goats. This is a major crowd pulling festival where one can see the true Tamil culture in its habitat.

Celebration At Palani

At Palani Thaipusam is a ten-day festival held in the Periyanayaki temple. Since the festival falls in January - the post harvest season, the exuberance of the agriculturists and their lusty participation lends unique splendour to the temple. The most remarkable feature of this festival is the parading devout 'Bhaktas' (devotees) bearing Kavadis. The yellow robed 'Bhaktas' coming from several distant places dance their way through the streets to reach the Muruga Sannidhi to the accompaniment of music, both instrumental and vocal. Many strangely and ghastly traditions, like the lips pierced with mini silver lance, and locking of the mouth with metal ring to maintain perfect silence and drawing of small make shift chariot with its chain hooked into the back of devotees strike the eye of spectator during the festival.

 

Karthigai Deepam Festival :
The Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated in the Tamil Month of Karthigai (November - December). It begins on Uttradam day with flag hoisting and goes on the nine days. In the early hours of the tenth day Bharani Deepam in five agantams will be lit in Arunachaleswarar's Sannithi. In the evening, the Pancha Murthis will be brought to the Katchi Mandapam. At dusk (Pradosha) the Karthigai day synchronizing with the full moon day, the deity, Ardhanareeswarar is taken out to this place with the five deepams, which are put in a big receptacle near the flug-stuff. At the same time the beacon light on the hill is lit. The huge concourse of devotees from all parts of our country in a million voice raise a cry simultaneously "Harohara to Annamalai" which will rend the air. It is a sight for the Gods to see!

ROWS OF agal vilakkus in front of every house... this is the image that at once comes to mind when we think of Karthigai Deepam - the festival of lights that is celebrated throughout Tamil Nadu during the month of Karthigai (November-December). Not many of us are aware that it is one of the oldest festivals celebrated in the State, perhaps even before people began celebrating Deepavali and Navarathri. Also, unlike many other Hindu festivals, Karthigai is basically a Tamil festival and is virtually unknown in most other parts of the country.

One of the earliest references to the festival is found in the Ahananuru, a book of poems, which dates back to the Sangam Age (200 B.C. to 300 A.D.). The Ahananuru clearly states that Karthigai is celebrated on the full moon day (pournami) of the Tamil month of Karthigai. It was one of the most important festivals (peruvizha) of the ancient Tamils. Avaiyyar, the renowned poetess of those times, refers to the festival in her songs.

Karthigai is essentially a festival of lamps. The lighted lamp is considered an auspicious symbol. It is believed to ward off evil forces and usher in prosperity and joy. While the lighted lamp is important for all Hindu rituals and festivals, it is indispensable for Karthigai.

Legend !

There is an interesting story explaining the link between Karthigai and lamps. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma began to quarrel as to who was the more powerful of the two. While they were fighting, Lord Shiva appeared before them in the form of a huge pillar of fire. Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma gave up quarrelling and decided to find the top and the bottom of the pillar.

Accordingly, Brahma assumed the form of a swan and moved upwards. Vishnu transformed himself into a boar and started digging deep into the earth. But even after searching for several years, neither of the two was able to find the ends the pillar. Finally, they realised that the pillar was none other than Lord Shiva.

Soon afterwards, Lord Shiva appeared as a hill (Arunachala Hill) at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu. Indeed, the very names `Tiruvannamalai' and `Arunachala' translate as `holy fire hill.' The Shivalinga in the temple here is the agni linga. The tiny lamps lit during the Karthigai festival (Karthigai Deepam) are believed to be the miniature replicas of the fire linga. Every year thousands of devotees from Chennai and elsewhere flock to Tiruvannamalai to see the spectacular Karthigai Deepam there.

 

Jallikatu Bull Fight :
On the 4th day, Kanya Pongal, coloured balls of the pongal are made and are offered to birds. A kind of bull-fight, called the 'Jallikattu' is held in Madhurai, Tiruchirapalli and Tanjore in Tamil Nadu and several places in Andhra Pradesh. Bundles containing money are tied to the horns of ferocious bulls, and unarmed villagers try to wrest the bundles from them. Bullock cart races and cock-fights are also held. In Andhra Pradesh, every household displays its collection of dolls for three days. Community meals are held at night with freshly harvested ingredients.

Ballads, folk dances, dramas and songs have rich cultural heritages, 'Jallikattu' or bull fight' played in Madurai, Trichy areas are more ferocious than the bull fight which is the beloved sport of Latin speakers in Europe and south America.

Myths and legends, festivals and ceremonials have helped to fashion an exquisitely charming type of handicrafts. The products of tamilnadu workmen cater to as much beauty as to utility, which include metal-ware, wood carving, pottery, leather goods, carpets, pith work, palam left products, etc. handloom textiles both cotton and silk have won global appreciation.

Cattle are decorated with garlands, their horns coloured, and mango leyes hung round their necks. Then they are led about in procession exempted from all labour, and virtually, if not actually, worshipped. On this occasion the Jallikattu (bull fight) is held in Al1angunal1ur, near Chennai. Cattle are decorated with garlands, their horns are coloured and mango leave~re hung round their necks. They are led in a procession.

 

Music Dance Festival Chennai
Music and Dance festival, Chennai. (December) :

The classical tradition is an ancient and sophisticated art form stretching back over thousands of years. Originating in the temples and performed by the devadasis, the classical styles have been associated with mythology, philosophy, and spiritual beliefs of the Hindu culture and, in more recent times, the Islamic tradition.Classical dance has its roots in the Natya Shastra, the earliest known written text on dramaturgy. Attributed to the Sage Bharata in the second century, this Sanskrit treatise defines drama, comprising speech, mime, dance, and music, and lays down the principles governing technique and aesthetics.

Chennai music and dance festival is a celebration of classical music and dance of South India (Carnatic Music) held during mid December to mid January in the capital city of Chennai. The festival is held at a number of venues around the city by various sabhas or organizations.

The 'Margazhi festival of dance and music' started early back in 1927, to commemorate the anniversary of Madras Music Academy every December was later adopted by various organizations which held art festivals in different parts of the city.

The city comes alive with the festival which has now developed into a cultural extravaganza with more than 2000 participants. Performances include Vocal and Instrumental music, Dance - solo and group, both by junior and senior artistes. Even upcoming artists get a chance to perform along with well-established artists. The music includes songs in various South Indian languages like Tamil, Telugu and Kannada and instruments like Flute, 'Veena' (a large string instrument) 'Goottuvadyam' (similar to Veena but without frets), 'Nagaswaram' (pipe), 'Thavil' (percussion instrument), 'Mridangam' (drum), and even 'Ghatam' (a mud pot). Information about the tickets and the venues can be had from the tourist office, Chennai.

Vinayaka Chathurthi :
Lord Ganapathi or Vinayaka is one of the most popular deities in the State, this festival falls in the month of September / October, the pooja celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety

Navarathiri :
This festival lasts for nine nights, hence the name Nava - rathri arrived, falls in the month of September / October Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi are worshipped, celebration is marked by the displays of hand-made dolls in the houses.

Deepavali :
Deepavali is a festival of lights, marks Festival Of Lights celebrates the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. One of the many stories which explain why Deepavali is celebrated describes how Lord Krishna, a Hindu deity, defeated a demon and freed the people from suffering.
One of the biggest festivals of Hindus, Deepawali or Diwali in India is celebrated with lots of enthusiasm and happiness. This festival is celebrated for five continuous days, with the third day being celebrated as the main Diwali or as 'Festival of Lights'. Fireworks are always associated with this festival. The day is celebrated with people lighting diyas, candles all around their house. Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evening to seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth. Diwali gifts are exchanged among all near and dear ones

Saraswathi Pooja :
The festival is celebrated in the honour of Saraswathi - the Goddess of arts and letters. Educational institutions and academies of art naturally take a lively interest in these celebrations. The goddess is invoked in every home and hearth during the celebration

Chitri Rai Festival :
The festival is held in the famous Madurai Temples and lasts for 10 days during the Tamil month of chithirai Major attractions is the procession of lord kallazhagar otherwise known as lord Vishnu from Azhagarkoil to give away his sister goddess Meenakshi, in Marriage to Lord Sundareswarar.

Mahamagam Festival :
A holy festival that will bring you to Kumbakonam once in 12 years - the temple city that gets its name from "Kumbha" - the divine pot. Legend has it that Brahma, the Creator, held a pot containing nectar and the seed of creation. Shiva. in the form of a hunter shot an arrow at the pot - spilling the nectar into the famous Mahamagam tank at the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple

Dance Festival – Mamallapuram :
The festival begins on the 25th of December in Mamallapuram lasts for 6 weeks Sit before an open-air 'stage' created 13 centuries ago the incredible monolithic rock sculptures of the Pallavas, next to the sea in this aesthetic event : Bharatha Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and ancient city of Mamallapuram. Lovers of dance will be treated to a very unique and unforgettably Odissi, presented by the very best exponents of the art besides folk dances.

Arubathimoovar Festival :
Literally, 'Arubathimoovar' refers to the 63 saints of Shiva canonised for leading exemplary lives of devotion and penance. Bronze figures of these 63 saints adorn the magnificent Kapaliswar Temple at Mylapore, Chennai. Once, every year, they are carried in a colourful procession through the streets of Mylapore.

Summer Festival :
The summer festival might find you in the 'Queen of Hill Stations', the evergreen Ooty; the exquisite Kodaikanal or the salubrious heights of Yercaud - where boat races, flower and fruit shows are specially organised. Also, a splendid opportunity to go trekking in any of Tamil Nadu's other hill stations that promise unforgettable holidays off the beaten track.

Saral Vizha ( Kuttalm or Courtallam) :
A festival that makes a celebration out of a simple, daily ritual bathing! And indeed, a bath at the picturesque Courtallam waterfalls is not an ordinary event. The healing waters of the roaring Courtallam are famed for their medicinal properties.

Kanthuri Festivals :
A truly secular festival - where devotees flock to the shrine of saint Quadirwali, believed to do equal good to people of all faiths. One of the descendants of the Saint is chosen as a Peer or spiritual leader and is honoured with offerings. On the tenth day of the festival, the Saint's tomb is anointed with sandalwood - and later the holy sandal paste, renowned for its healing powers, is distributed to everyone.

Velankanni Festivals :
VELANKANNI FESTIVAL Wondrous legends surround the church-the most famous being that of the ship-wrecked Portuguese sailors, who in the 16th century, vowed to build a great shrine for the Virgin Mary, for saving their lives in a terrible storm. The Velankanni festival attracts thousands, clad in orange robes to the sacred spot where the ship landed. Equally famous are the Virgin Mary's miraculous healing powers - earning for the church the name 'Lourdes of the East'.

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