Indian Festivals celebrated by varied cultures and through their special rituals add to the colours of Indian Heritage. Some festivals welcome the seasons of the year, the harvest, the rains, or the full moon. Others celebrate religious occasions, the birthdays of divine beings, saints, and gurus (revered teachers), or the advent of the New Year. A number of these festivals are common to most parts of India. However, they may be called by different names in various parts of the country or may be celebrated in a different fashion.
Many festivals celebrate the various harvests; commemorate great historical figures and events, while many express devotion to the deities of different religions.
Every celebration centres around the rituals of prayer, seeking blessings, exchanging goodwill, decorating houses, wearing new cloths, music, dance and feasting.
In India every region and every religion has something to celebrate. The festivals reflect the vigour and life-style of its people. Vibrant colours, music and festivity make the country come alive throughout the year.
The emphasis laid on the different festivals differs in different parts of the country. For instance, Navaratri is celebrated with maximum fervour in West Bengal as compared to that in other parts of the country. Holi is celebrated with gusto in the north, and although it is also observed in the western and eastern parts of India, in the south it is almost unknown. There are also a few regional festivals like Pongal in Tamil Nadu; Onam in Kerala and the various other temple festivals devoted to the specific patron Gods and Goddesses of the temples, which are celebrated exclusively in those areas, which may be limited to one or a few villages. This galaxy of festivals that exist do contribute in inter-spicing Indian life with gaiety and colour as also in giving the country the distinction of having the maximum number of holidays.