Delhi, being the capital of India, enjoys all the diverse cultures and is also a perfect mix of all religions. Delhi shares its borders with states of Punjab, UP, Rajasthan and Haryana, which gives the city various cultures that helps in incorporating multi-ethnic environment in the city. Different cultural programs, fairs and festivals are held in Delhi all the year round. People from different parts of India and various other countries come, live and work here. Let’s take a glance on a few festivals that electrifies the ever alive Delhi.
1. Republic Day
The national festival of India, Republic Day, is celebrated on 26th January every year throughout the country. This day, in 1950, the constitution of India came into effect and India became a Republic. What would attract you about this day is the spectacular Parade that is held only in Delhi, at Rajpath. The Parade starts from Rajghat and goes along the Vijayapath. Indian Army marches and the breath taking aerobatic is performed by the Indian air force. The folk dances and jhankis (an exhibition) from all the states of India add to the beauty of this event. If you are in Delhi at this time, you must visit this event personally.
It is said that on this day an evil demoness, Holika, tried to burn her nephew Prahlad who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu but got burned herself. Later, people applied the ashes of her bonfire on their foreheads to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Eventually the colors replaced the ashes turning it into a festival of colors. Holi is celebrated with great zest on the full moon day in the month phagun (as per Hindu calendar). People apply colored powder on each other and sometimes mix it with water. The day is celebrated with much enthusiasm, with family and friends and is followed by the mouth-watering delicacies, music and dance.
3. Mango Festival
Delhi is well known for its summers and summer is incomplete without mangoes. India happens to be the largest producer of mangos in the world with over 1200 varieties to choose from. The international mango festival is held in Delhi at Talkatora Stadium in the month of July and buyers participate from all over the world. Mango lovers participate in mango eating competitions and other events like mango folk songs, dances and children’s programs takes place in this festival. Different varieties of mangoes can be tasted for free which come from various states of the country.
Diwali is considered to be the brightest festival of India. It is celebrated in the month of Kartik (as per Hindu calendar). In Delhi, it is celebrated with little more excitement and avidity. It is believed that on this day, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana, who had kidnapped Rama’s wife, Sita. Goddess Lakshmi is also worshipped on this day. People light Diyas(earthen lamps) and candles and decorate their homes with lights and flowers. The entire city looks like a dressed up bride. The malls, streets, markets and residential areas are very well decorated and the evening is enlivened with crackers along with delicious delicacies and sweets.
The festival is celebrated on the birthday of Guru Nanak dev, the founder and the leader of Sikhism. He was born in the month of Kartik (of Hindu calendar). During the 3 days festival, the Holy book ‘Guru Granth sahib’ is read through and this practice is called “Akhand Path” which means without interruption. After the reading is done on the final day, the book is decorated with flowers and all the Gurdwaras are decorated with lights and flowers. You can enjoy the special lunches that are arranged for all the devotees and the passers-by.
6. India International Trade Fair
It is one of the most popular fairs that are held in Delhi during the month of November from 14-27th every year at Pragati Maidan. People from different states participate and showcase the specialties of their work. Despite of being the event for business circuit, the fair is a major tourist attraction. The major segments are Healthcare, Cosmetics, Textiles, Handicraft, Electronics, Gadgets and cuisines from all over the country.
7. Qutub Festival
This festival of Classical music and dance denotes the historic importance of the heritage monument, the Qutub Minar, in Delhi. It is held in the month of November-December for three days in the Qutub complex. The Delhi Tourism organizes this festival to showcase the glory; the rich heritage and culture of India; and Its accomplishment in the past through with various art forms, cultural shows and folk music to keep the heritage monument alive. And if the folk music and dance gets boring, you can surely head towards the regional food stalls and treat yourself with yummy delights from different states.
8. New Year’s Eve
The day where people bid adieu to the past year and welcome the coming year with joy. The last day of every year is celebrated all over the globe. And the wildness is equally noticeable in the winds of Delhi. People start planning for the celebrations much in advance. Many restaurants, clubs, pubs and hotels in Delhi organize specials events and activities. People celebrate with family and friends and some even arrange private parties. On this day people gather and enjoy, eat, light fireworks and dance the night away.
Numerous other festivals are celebrated all the year round with equal excitement in this lively city, as all religions are practiced here. But these are among the few you shouldn’t miss when you are in Delhi. Delhi will always welcome you with the message “Attithi Devo Bhava”(the guest is equivalent to God).