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Festivals

The state of Maharashtra is one where festivities do not end no matter what part of the year it is. People here come from different social and economic backgrounds but that does not stop them in mixing with each other and being a part of the festive crowd that escalates the festive spirit in the state to an all new level. The spirit and enthusiasm amongst the people of this state is worth watching.

People forget all their hassles and worries in life as they come out and revel in their devotion to God. Caste and creed hold no barriers for these people who embrace each other and rejoice amidst the festivals that are celebrated in this state throughout the year. The festivals are marked by cultural programs in evening where the children and women of the house participate with great fervor and enthusiasm. The city of Mumbai is a worth having a look as the people forget everything when they dance, sing and enliven their religious self within.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of those festivals that is celebrated with great pomp and show in Maharashtra. The state bears a new look altogether during the brief stay of Lord Ganesha. It is marked by the birthday of beloved Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesha is brought to homes and neighborhoods and a mandap is built specifically for this purpose. All the people of this state forget everything else and get down to devote their complete time to the elephant headed God who in Hindu mythology is considered to be the one who averts problems and disruptions in human lives. The mandaps are conceived according to themes and nowadays the trend of having an eco friendly Ganpati is also hugely rampant.

People visit relatives and friends and exchange greetings. A special offering of ‘modak’ is made to the God as it is believed to be his favorite food item. The evenings witness cultural programs in the neighborhood wherein everyone participates with great enthusiasm. This festival is celebrated throughout the length and breadth of the country but the festivities are not a patch on those in Maharashtra. On the tenth day that is the final day, the idols are immersed in the nearby lake or river and people bid farewell to lord Ganesha and wait in eagerness for him to arrive again next year.

Banganga Festival

Tracing its origin to the year 1992, Banganga Festival has risen to prominence in Mumbai in the past few years. This festival that pays tribute to the rich cultural heritage that Mumbai boasts about. This two day long festival involves song and dance and is celebrated in the month of January every year.

The Banganga Tank that is centuries old is the venue for the Banganga Festival. A lot of music and dance are organized within the tank that also has many temples. Renowned names from the creative field take part in this festival.

Music and Dance Festival in Maharashtra

It is to the credit of Maharashtra Tourism that the state has a festive spirit almost throughout the year. The department organizes various cultural functions in which musicians and dancers from all parts of the country come together and entertain visitors with their talent. The festivals of Ellora, Elephanta, Pune and Kalidas are the most renowned of these. It is really a treat to be a part of these celebrations that begin post sunset and continue till late in the night. Many of India’s renowned artists grace the stage with their presence and mesmerize the crowd with their talent.

Nag Panchami

The cobra has its own religious significance in Hindu mythology. If it is to be believed, the Earth rests on the head of ‘Sheshnag’ – the thousand headed cobra. On Nag Panchami, the cobras are worshipped and this festival is celebrated all over India although in Maharashtra the level of enthusiasm is unparalleled. Clay icons of the cobra are venerated in homes and then worshipped. Milk and sweets are offered to them. Snake charmers show their tricks and collect money from the people, especially in a village near Sangli, Battis Shirale. People over here flock the streets wherein the snake charmers entertain people with their amazing tricks with the cobra.

Gokul Ashtami – Festival of Nandlala

Gokul Ashtami is celebrated in Mumbai with great enthusiasm as it marks the birth of the most mischievous God in Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna. People fast till midnight and break their fast only when the birth of Lord Krishna is announced. They prepare selective dishes that used to be relished by lord Krishna during his childhood days in Gokul. Another important aspect of this festival is the dahi handi. Clay pots filled with milk and puffed rice are strung high up on the streets and enthusiastic people form human pyramids to reach the handi. This is in relevance to the way Lord Krishna and his friends would steal butter from the houses of the gopis (milkmaids).

Gudhi Padava – Day of New Year Celebration

Gudhi Padava is the first day of Chaitra (March/April) and is the first day according to the Hindu solar calendar. Thus, people celebrate this festival and hope to drive the evil away from their house. People wear new clothes and adorn their houses with rangolis that are creatively designed by the maids of the house.  After the Puja, a special concoction prepared as God’s food is then distributed amongst neighbors and relatives. People erect a Gudhi by using bamboo sticks topped with a brass goblet. This supposedly strikes away evil from the house and ensures wellness.

Durga Puja and Navratri

The nine days of Navratri are celebrated in a grand way in Maharashtra. It is marked by the homecoming of Goddess Durga and the festivities are no second to the ones during Ganesh Chaturthi. There are pandals constructed in every nook and corner and Goddess Durga along with her four children visits these pandals. People visit the pandals and worship the deities that are immersed on Dashami, the last day of the festival. This festival is also famous for Dandiya and Garba. Girls and boys dress up in vibrant attires and indulge in the festive mood by dancing to the beats of traditional music. Various cultural programs and performances uplift the mood of the city as it revels in the festivities of Durga puja.

 

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