India is a land of fairs and festivals. Their number is very large because the followers of different faiths and religions have their own festivals. Most of the festivals are religious in their origin.

The Hindus celebrate Janmashtami (the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna), Dussehra (the conquest of Good over Evil), Diwali (marking the return of Shri Ram Chandra after 14 years’ exile), Holi (height of winter), Baisakhi (the end of the harvest season), Basant (the advent of spring) and many other religious and seasonal festivals.

The Muslims celebrate a number of Ids and Muharram. The Sikhs celebrate Gurpurab, Baisakhi, etc. Most of the festivals are thus religious in character. They are associated with the memory of great saints Prophets and heroes. As said above we have seasonal festivals like Holi and Lohri. In the same way, Onam and Pongal, the harvest festivals, are celebrated in Southern India.

Dussehra and Diwali are famous Hindu festivals. Dussehra marks the victory of Good over Evil. Ram Lila is staged ten days before Dussehra On the last day, effigies of the wicked king Ravana, his brother Kumbhkaran and his son Meghnad are burnt in all the cities and towns of Northern India.

Diwali is celebrated in the memory of Shri Rama’s return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. On this day there are merry making and happy festival all around. People take sweets and explode crackers, etc. They send the Diwali gifts and greetings to friends and relatives.

Holi is the festival of colours. People throw coloured water on one another. Basant marks the end of winter and setting in of spring. People wear yellow turbans and take yellow Halwa and rice.

Onam is also a seasonal festival which is celebrated mainly in Kerala. It marks the harvesting of the first paddy. Pongal is celebrated mainly in Madras and Andhra. Cows and bullocks are offered rice cooked with dal The chief Christian festivals are Easter and Christmas. Baisakhi marks the birthday of the Khalsa Panth.

In Addition to the above, we have cattle shows, trade and business melas, industrial fairs, etc., which are celebrated with as much pomp and show as any other festival.

Festivals are an occasion of joy and fun. The rich and the poor, the young and the old, men, women and children, particularly, eagerly look forward to them. Preparations are made in advance to celebrate them. Students await them because they have holidays on festival days.

Festivals come to break the dullness of our routine life. We have a welcome change from the daily routine. Many days before a festival, people give orders for sweets, new clothes, etc.

On festivals, people give charity to the poor. Beggars receive alms in cash and in kind. They get money, clothes, rations, sweets and what not. The houses are cleaned and white-washed on the occasion.

The streets and bazaars are decorated with lights, flags, buntings, pictures, etc. Huge processions with singing dancing, the beating of drums, merry-making etc., are taken out on the eve of a festival.

In short, India is noted for her numberless fairs and festivals. They bring about a change our dull daily routine and make life pleasant, bright and cheerful. But, even on such happy occasions some people drink and gamble. Eve-teasing becomes common. The police should deal severely with the Goondas.

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