What are the various festivals observed in India ?

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NATIONAL FESTIVALS

In India, some days are celebrated to honor important national events. These are known as National Days. Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanti are our national days.

INDEPENDENCE DAY :

On 15th August 1947 India became a free nation. This day is celebrated as Independence Day.

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The Prime Minister unfurls the National Flag at Red Fort in Delhi. He is presented with a guard of honor while a band plays the National Anthem. The Prime Minister reminds the people of our brave freedom fighters, and also of our duties as citizens. Schools and colleges also celebrate this day. Students sing songs and stage plays about the freedom movement.

REPUBLIC DAY :

26th January is celebrated as Republic Day. It is on this day in 1950 that we became a Democratic Republic and our Constitution came into force.

This day is celebrated with great pomp and show. In New Delhi, the three wings of the Armed Forces – Army, Navy and Air Force – take part in a grand parade. Our President takes the salute. The Armed Forces’ bands play music as soldiers march. They are followed by tanks and trucks carrying weap­ons. School children dressed in colorful costumes present drills and dances. ‘Jhankis1 or floats Parade at Rajpat of different States of India drive past giving us a picture of the progress made in each state. Then come folk dancers. They sing and play their instruments as they come dancing down Rajpath. Some buildings, like the Rashtrapati Bhavan, are illuminated at night.

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GANDHI JAYANTI :

Another National Day is 2nd October. It was on this day in 1869 that Mahatma Gandhi was born.

Mahatma Gandhi is known as the Father of the Nation. He led the freedom struggle. He believed in truth and non-violence. He considered everyone equal and fought for the welfare of the people from the lower castes.

In Delhi, a special function is held at Rajghat, the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi. The President, the Prime Minister and other leaders come to pay their homage in his memory.

HINDU FESTIVALS :

The day on which Lord Rama killed Ravana is celebrated as DUSSEHRA. Ravan’s effigy is burnt along with the effigies of his brother and son.

DIWALI :

the festival of lights, celebrates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after winning the battle against Ravana. Houses are decorated with lights. Crackers and fireworks are burst.

SIKH FESTIVALS :

There were ten Sikh Gurus in all. The Sikhs celebrate the birth and death anniversaries of some of these Gurus. These days are called GURUPARVS. On these days, the Guru Granth Sahib is taken in procession through the main bazars. Prayers are offered at Gurudwaras and ‘prasad’ is distributed.

MUSLIM FESTIVALS :

ID-UL-ZUHA

Is celebrated to honour Prophet Abraham who was asked by Allah to sacrifice his son as a test. When he was about to do so, Allah stopped him. Muslims sacrifice an animal in the memory of this faith.

Muslims fast for a month every year. This month is known as RAMZAN. After Ramzan comes ID-UL-FITR. Everyone wears his best clothes. The men pray in mosques. After the prayer they embrace each other and say Id Mubarak. Alms are given to the poor.

JAIN FESTIVALS :

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The birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir is celebrated as MAHAVIR JAYANTI. Jains go to visit Pavapuri in Bihar where the Lord got supreme knowledge. Those who cannot go there pray at home.

BUDDHIST FESTIVALS :

BUDDHA PURNIMA or BUDDHA JAYANTI celebrates the birth of the Buddha. It is said that the Bodhi tree at Gaya, under which the Buddha got supreme knowledge also sprouted on the same day. This was the day he became enlightened. Buddhists fast on this day and break it at night by having a light meal.

CHRISTIAN FESTIVALS :

The birth anniversary of Lord Jesus Christ is celebrated on 25 December every year as CHRISTMAS. People go to Church in their best clothes to pray. Homes and shops are decorated and gifts are exchanged.

The day on which Jesus Christ was crucified is known as GOOD FRIDAY. It is believed that 3 days after the crucifixion, Christ rose from the dead. This day is celebrated as EASTER with great joy and happiness.

PARIS FESTIVALS

Parsis celebrate NAOROZ as their New Year Day. This day was celebrated earlier as the spring festival. Now it is a day of religious duties and festivities. India is a land of many languages. Eighteen main languages and 1562 languages and dialects are spoken in our country. A dialect is a form of language spoken by the people of an area.

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The eighteen main languages are Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Urdu, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, Manipuri, Konkani and Nepali. The last three are recent additions to the list. The official language of India is Hindi. However, every State has its own language. The Government does most of its work in English, Hindi and one of the State languages.

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