10 Most Famous Festivals Of India

India is a land of festivals, where people from different religions together. The wide variety of festivals celebrated in India is a true display of its rich culture and traditions. There are many Indian festivals and celebrations happening all over the year, but October to January is the time when the country can be seen at its best.

India is one country where every religion and community celebrates their culture freely keeping peace and harmony. These festivals are religion-based, or community-wise and some are national holidays. So, every day is a new celebration in this country.

To give you a fair idea about all the festivals of India in 2021 and their dates, before you begin, here is a piece of information that would prove essential for you! It will also tell you dates of the famous festivals of India!

Indian Festivals Calendar 2020

Here is a list of religious and national festivals of India that are celebrated in the country . Plan your holidays around these festivals if you wish to explore the vibrant culture of India.

MonthFestivalDate (2020)Day
JanuaryMakar Sakranti15th JanuaryWednesday
JanuaryPongalBegins on 15th JanuaryWednesday
JanuaryBasant Panchami29th JanuaryWednesday
 FebruaryMaha Shivratri21st FebruaryFriday
MarchHoli29th MarchMonday
MarchMewarBegins from 27th MarchFriday
AprilBaisakhi13th AprilMonday
AprilBihuBegins on 14th AprilTuesday
MayThrissur Pooram3rd MaySunday
MayBuddha Jayanti7th MayThursday
MayEid Ul Fitr23rd MaySaturday
JuneRatha Yatra23rd JuneTuesday
JuneHemis30th JuneTuesday
AugustRakshabandhan3rd AugustMonday
AugustJanmashtmi12th AugustWednesday
AugustIndependence Day15th AugustSaturday
AugustOnamBegins on 22nd AugustSaturday
AugustGanesh Chaturthi22nd AugustSaturday
OctoberNavratriFrom 17th to 25th OctoberMonday
OctoberDurga Puja26th OctoberMonday
OctoberDussehra26th OctoberMonday
NovemberDiwali4th NovemberThursday
NovemberGurupurab30th NovemberMonday
DecemberChristmas25th DecemberFriday

10 Popular Festivals Of India in 2021

Here is a quick list of the most famous festivals of India . The regional festivals of India too are celebrated with much pomp and show and with grand celebrations.

1. Diwali: The Grand Festival Of Lights (4th November, Saturday)

A collage of the festivities of Diwali

Diwali, one of the most prominent Hindu festivals of India, celebrated with a lot of sweets lights and fireworks. During this festival of lights, houses are decorated with clay lamps, candles etc.. People participate in family pooja, burst crackers, and share sweets with friends, families, and neighbors. It is the most popular festival in India.

Significance: The festival marks the return of Lord Ram, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, after a long exile of 14 years.
Key attractions: Homes decorated with fancy lights, candles and clay lamps, bustling fireworks and crackers
When: The darkest new moon night of Kartik month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to mid-October – mid-November as per the Gregorian Calendar
Where: All over the country
Diwali 2020: 4th November (Thursday)

2. Holi: The Vibrant Festival Of Colours (29th March, Tuesday)

A collage of Holika bonfire and holi celebrations

Also known as the festival of colors, holi is one of the famous festivals of India, celebrated with a lot of passion across the country. One day before Holi, people make huge Holika bonfires and sing and dance around it. On the day of Holi, the famous festival of India, people gather in open areas and apply dry and wet colors to each other, with some kids carry water guns and colored water-filled balloons. It tops the charts of 10 famous festivals in India as it is celebrated all across the world with happiness.

Significance: It signifies the victory of good (Prince Prahlad) over evil (Holika) and the arrival of spring.
Key attractions: Holika bonfire, playing with colors, and bhang thandai
When: Full moon (Purnima) of the Phalgun month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to the month of March of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Most vibrant celebrations can be seen in North Indian states
Holi 2020: 29th March (Tuesday)

3. Dussehra: The Triumph Of Good Over Evil (25th October, Sunday)

Celebrations of Dussehra in Delhi

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Dussehra, also referred to as Vijayadashami, is also one of the most famous festivals of India in Hindu religion. Ramlila (enactment of scenes from Ramayana) is held everywhere for 10 days. It’s ends with “Ravan Dahan” – the burning of huge effigies of Ravana, Meghnath, and Kumbhkaran which is a real spectacle to see. In Mysore, a colorful procession is taken out, in Kullu it is celebrated for days welcoming their mountain deities in the valley. The Mysore Palace is lit like a bride and the air is filed with the music of drums. It is a spectacle to not miss on your trip to the city of royals. It is one of the most religious festivals of India. 

Significance: It celebrates the death of the demon king Ravana at the hands of Lord Rama.
Key attractions: Hustle bustle of the decorated markets, Ram-Leela acts, and the big event of the burning of effigies of Ravana, Meghnath, and Kumbhkaran
When: 10th day of the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to September or October of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Pan India
Dussehra 2020: 25th October (Sunday)

Navratri is one of famous festivals of India

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Navratri is one of the most important festivals of India. This festival is celebrated by all people throughout India in different ways. In Gujarat, it is a nine-day celebration of rejuvenating Garba nights and highly energetic Dandiya Raas dances. People are dressed in beautiful, colorful traditional clothes and the environment is very youthful and invigorating. Fasting is a famous tradition of Hindu religion and is associated with a scientific fact. Whenever there is a change in season, one should fast to give rest to their digestive system and boost their immunity for the next season. 

Significance: It represents the celebration of the Goddess Amba (Power) in nine different forms.
Key attractions: The 9 days of dance festivities in Gujarat, the exquisite Chaniya Choli’s (traditional skirt & blouse), and the Gujarati cuisine – Sabudana Khichdi, Mandvi Paak, Singoda ki Kheer, and Potato Wafers
When: The first nine days of the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to September or October of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Almost all over the country; most vibrant in Gujarat, Maharashtra and the metros
Navratri 2020: From 17th October to 25th October (Sunday)

5. Durga Puja: Of Prosperity, Goodness, And Devotion ( Begins On 22nd October, Thursday)

A man offering aarti to maa during Kolkata Durga Puja celebrations

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One of the important Hindu festivals of India, Durga Puja is celebrated with grandeur by Bengalis, throughout the country and is ranked as one of the top in the list of religious festivals of India. The 10 days of fast, feast, and worship of Goddess Durga are accompanied by cultural songs, dances, and dramas. Huge and beautiful Durga idols are made and placed in specially made artistic Pandals(canopies). People dress in traditional wear and go around the pandal-hopping, praying, and feasting.

Significance: It commemorates Lord Rama’s invocation of Goddess Durga before going to war with the demon king Ravana.
Key attractions: Plush pandals, incredibly beautiful ten armed Durga idols, and the puja
When: 10th day of Ashwina Shukla paksha according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to September or October of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Kolkata and the metros are the best places to be in India during Durga Puja celebrations
Durga Puja 2020: 26th October (Monday)

6. Krishna Janmashtami: The Birth Of The Mighty & Mischievous (12th August, Wednesday)

A collage of the Janamashtmi festival

Janmashtami is again a beautiful one among the most important religious festivals of India. Janmashtami celebrations in Mathura and Vrindavan are very popular. People fast throughout the day and break it with a special meal after dusk which makes it one of the important in the list of festivals of India. Visiting temples, praying, dancing, and singing bhajans (hymns) at midnight is a part of the celebrations of the birth of Lord Krishna. Often, small children dress up like Lord Krishna on this day. Images and picturization of Krishna’s life story are depicted in the “jhankis” in temples. It is one of the popular festivals of India. 

Significance: It is the annual celebration of the birthday of Lord Krishna.
Key attractions: The Janmashtami puja and festivities in the temples and the jhaankis of Lord Krishna
When: The 8th day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Bhadrapada according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to August or September of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Celebrated by the Hindu community all over, but the festivities at Mathura and Vrindavan are very popular
Janmashtami 2020: 12th August (Wednesday)

Suggested Read: Holi In Mumbai 2020: Know How Mumbaikars Reveal Their Happy Colours

7. Ganesh Chaturthi: Eleven Days Of Pampering Lord Ganesha! (22nd August, Saturday)

A collage of the festivities of Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi, another one of the important Hindu religious festivals of India , is a 10-day affair of colorful festivities. Huge handcrafted Ganesh idols are installed in homes or outdoors, in public pandals. Pujas are performed in the morning and the evening. The last day is the day of Visarjan – immersion of an idol in a water body. Cultural activities of singing, dancing, and theater, and free medical and blood donation camps are held.

Significance: It’s the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God.
Key attractions: The beautifully crafted life size idols of Ganesha, and the immersion ceremony
When: The 4th day of the first fortnight (Shukla Chaturthi) in the month of Bhadrapada of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to August or September of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Celebrated in the states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh with fervor and gaiety
Ganesh Chaturthi 2020: 22nd August (Saturday)

Suggested Read: Rang Barse!- 6 Awesome Places to Celebrate Holi this Year

8. Gurpurab: Religious Processions & Peaceful Hymns (30th November, Monday)

A collage of the festivities of Gurupurab

One of the most important Sikh festivals of India, special assemblies on the lives and teachings of the gurus, and langars (community meals) are organized in the gurudwaras. Karah Prasad is distributed among all, and hymn chanting processions are held in the city. People light up their homes with lamps and candles and burst crackers to celebrate Gurpurab.

Significance: It is the celebration of the anniversary of the ten Sikh Gurus
Key attractions: The soulful Bhajan-Kirtan (hymns), Gurbani in the Gurdwaras, the Langar and the Karah Prasad
When: The full moon day in the month of Kartik of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds
to November of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Celebrated by the Sikh community all over the world, especially in Punjab
Gurupurab 2020: 30th November (Monday)

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9. Raksha Bandhan: Strengthening The Bond Of Kinship (3rd August, Monday)

The thali of rakhi on Raksha Bandhan

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One of the famous festivals in the list of festivals of India, Rakhi is celebrated among Hindu. Signifying the brother-sister bonding, during Rakhi, the sister performs Aarti (prayer), applies tilak, and ties rakhi (a sacred thread) on the brother’s wrist wishing his well being. The brother, in return, vows to protect the sister. Another festival which has a strong similarity to Rakhi is Bhai Dooj which comes just after Diwali.

Significance: It symbolizes the strong bonding of a brother and sister.
Key attractions: The ritual of Rakhi and the brightly decked up markets showcasing a colourful variety of rakhis and sweets
When: The full moon day of Shravana month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which corresponds to August of the Gregorian calendar
Where: Particularly in North, Central and West India
Raksha Bandhan 2020: 3rd August (Monday)

Suggested Read: 10 Vibrant Festivals In August in India: Save The Dates To Rejoice With Full Vigour

19. Maha Shivratri: Devotion To Lord Shiva (21st February, Friday)

maha shivratri

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Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this Indian festival holds great reverence among the devotees of Lord Shiva. It has a huge significance in Hindu mythology celebrated on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun. It is believed that whoever worships Lord Shiva on this day attains salvation and redemption from their sins. It is also among the most crucial festivals of India for unmarried and married women to attain marital bliss.

Significance: Devotion to Lord Shiva
Key attractions: Fasting and worshipping Lord Shiva
When: 21st February (Friday)
Where: North India and Nepal

Suggested Read: 10 Popular Manipur Festivals That Show The Cultural Diversity Of The Northeast

15. Christmas: Celebrating The Birth Of Jesus Christ (25th December, Friday)

A shot of a decorated Christmas tree by the side of a fireplace in a house

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One of the most famous and awaited festivals in India and the world, Christmas happens to be of sheer significance for elders and children alike. Everyone regardless of their religion wait for this day, children specifically for the surprise gifts from Santa. All the churches are lit up and decorated to celebrate the birth of Lord Jesus.

Significance: Birthday of Lord Jesus
Key attractions: Christmas tree decoration, prayers, birth of Lord Jesus and Santa Claus
When: 25th December
Where: The festival is celebrated across India. The best places to celebrate Christmas in India are Goa, Pondicherry and Kerala.
Christmas 2020: 25th December (Friday)

Suggested Read: 13 Must-Attend Events And Festivals In December In India: Block Your Dates & Head Out

17. Baisakhi: The Rich Traditions And Cultural Prosperity (13th April, Monday)

baisakhi festival of india

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Baisakhi, one of the famous festivals of India is celebrated by the Sikh community of Punjab and those around the world. It celebrates the welcoming of the harvest season for the rabi crops. The Sikhs celebrate this festival with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm by performing local folk dances such as Giddha and Bhangra. The festival is of great religious significance in India as it marks the day when the tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, laid out the foundation stone for the Panth Khalsa-the Order back in 1699.

Significance: Welcoming the harvest season
Key attractions: Folk dance like Bhangra and Giddha, Punjabi feasts, decorations in houses and Gurudwaras
When: 13th April (Monday)
Where: The festival is celebrated across Sikh communities in India. The best place to celebrate Baisakhi in India is Punjab.

Suggested Read: 10 Global Festivals You’d Never Want To Attend

18. Makar Sankranti: Hindu’s New Year (15th Jan, Wednesday)

kite flying on makar sakranti

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Makar Sankranti is the real new year of North Indians and Sikhs which is celebrated just one day after Lohri. On this day, worship to God is performed to seek his blessings for the new year. It is in a way the end of winter and beginning of spring which means agricultural cycle for farmers. The dates are set according to solar cycles, unlike other Hindu festivals where dates are decided by lunar cycles. People celebrate this day by flying kites and having savory ‘Bajre ki khichdi’ and sweet ’til ladoo’. Gujaratis celebrate this festival by the name of Uttarayan.

Significance: Beginning of agricultural cycle
Key attractions: Kite flying
When: 15th January (Wednesday)
Where: The festival is celebrated across north Indian and Sikh communities in India. The best place to celebrate Makar Sankranti in India is North region.

Suggested Read: 42 Famous Historical Places In India To Visit In 2020

20. Basant Panchami: Dedicated to Goddess Saraswati (29th January, Wednesday)

Goddess_Saraswati_dressed_in_yellow_sari_for_Vasant_Panchami_Festival,_Kolkata

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Celebrated in the months of January or February, Basant Panchmi is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati and is one of the famous festivals of India. It is an important day for scholars and students when they worship the Goddess of Knowledge. It is widely celebrated in the states of Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Punjab, and Haryana. People in Rajasthan offer jasmine garlands to the goddess and langars are held in the state of Punjab.

Significance: It marks the beginning of spring
Key attractions: On this day, people wear yellow colored clothes and make yellow dishes like sweet saffron rice and kadhi.
When: It is celebrated on the fifth day of Magha month of Hindu calendar.
Where: states of Bihar West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Punjab, and Haryana
Basant Panchami 2020: 29th January

21. Mahavir Jayanti: Birth Of Lord Mahavir (6th April, Monday)

Photo_of_lord_adinath_bhagwan_at_kundalpur

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Mahavir Janma Kalyanak is an important day for the people from Jain religion as it marks the birth of Lord Mahavir. If you have noticed, the statue of Lord Mahavir is given a Mahabhishek where it is bathed with milk and flowers. Even a grand procession of Lord Mahavira’s idol is carried out in the streets.

Significance: It is the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir
Key attractions: Prayers are offered and fasting is observed. Rath Yatra is also carried out.
When: It is celebrated on the 13th day of Chaitra month of Hindu Calendar
Where: It is widely celebrated in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan
Mahavir Jayanti 2020: 6th April (Monday)

23. Chhath Puja: A Festival Dedicated To The Sun God (20 November, Friday)

A beautiful snap of the ghats at night on the occasion of Chhath Puja

The Chhath Puja is a 4 day long festival, dedicated to the worship of the sun god. The devotees pray to them thanking for the life, wealth and health of themselves as well as their family. Many also bathe in the holy Ganges river. Many devotees also fast during the puja, following the legend of the fast of Rama and Sita to honour the sun god.

Significance: The festival is dedicated to the worship of the sun god
Key attractions: Some devotees fast from food and water as a ritual of the puja
When: On the sixth day of the Hindu month of Kartika, which falls in October or November on the Gregorian Calendar
Where: Bihar
Chhath Puja 2020: 20 November (Friday)

24. Govardhan Puja: The Day Lord Krishna Defeated Indra Dev (15 November, Sunday)

worshiping

Also known as Annakut Puja, Govardhan Puja is celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated the god of thunder and rain, Indra. In Maharashtra the same day is celebrated as Bali Pratipada while in Gujarat this day coincides with Gujarati New Year day.

Significance: Celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated God Indra
Key attractions: On this day, food made of cereals like wheat, rice and leafy vegetables are cooked and offered to Lord Krishna
When: Most of the times it falls next day after Diwali
Where: All across India
Govardhan Puja 2020: 15 November (Sunday)

25. Gudi Padwa – Grand Harvest Festival Of Maharashtra 

Gudi Padwa is a grand harvest festival mainly celebrated in the state of Maharashtra marking the beginning of an auspicious New Year. People make rangoli designs at the entrance of their homes and decorate it with flowers. Folks meet friends and relatives, and women cook sweets like Shrikhand, Puran Poli and Sunth Paak.

Significance: On this festival, people pray to Lord Vishnu
Key attractions: Local people make Gudi (bamboo doll) using mango and neem leaves and hang them at the entrance
When: 25th March (Date may vary)
Where: Maharashtra
Gudi Padwa 2020: 25th March (Wednesday)

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26. Republic Day – Anniversary Of The Constitution Of India 

Republic Day

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Republic Day is one of those festivals in India where patriotism amidst the citizens is at its peak. For this was the day when the constitution of India came into existence and the transition of the country from a British Dominion to a republic took place. This happened in the year 1950, three years after India got independence. Every year, this day is celebrated with great pride and excitement.

Significance: Celebrated as the day when the Constitution of India came into existence.
Key attractions: On this day, a grand parade is held every year that commences from Rashtrapati Bhavan and continues to Rajpath, India Gate, and then finally Red Fort.
When: 26th January
Where: All across India

28. Kumbh Mela – Major Pilgrimage Festival In Hinduism 

Kumbh Mela

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One of the most religious festivals of India, Kumbh Mela is celebrated in a cycle of 12 years, approximately at four banks of rivers that are considered holy – namely Prayag, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain. The pilgrims in this festival dip in the holy waters to get rid of all their sins in life. Along with this, the celebrations also include an exorbitant fair, religious discourses by gurus and saints, mass feedings of the poor, and more!

Significance: Celebrated based on the astrological positions of the Sun, the Moon, and Jupiter.
Key attractions: Millions and millions of pilgrims visit the kumbh mela and dip in the holy rivers.
When: 14th January to 27th April 2021
Where: Haridwar

Suggested Read: 23 Spellbinding Places To Visit In July In India To Relish The 2020 Monsoon!

29. Losar – The Tibetan New Year 

Losar

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A famous Tibetan festival, Losar is one of the greatest Indian festivals and celebrations. Majorly celebrated in the neighbouring region, Tibet, Losar is a festival that is also celebrated in India by the Tibetans or the followers of Buddhism residing in this nation. Losar is the Tibetan New Year that is celebrated in a fun and frolic way. This also involves a way to show gratitude to God for the harvest.

Significance: Celebrated as the day when the lunar pattern, according to the Tibetan calendar, begins.
Key attractions: The celebrations are spread over three days, where different activities take place on each day.
When: 24th February to 26th February
Where: Himachal Pradesh, Leh And Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh

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32. Buddha Jayanti – Celebrating The Birth Of A Spiritual Being

Buddha idol

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This is one of the holiest festivals celebrated in the country of India. It is also known by the name Buddha Purnima. The festival is celebrated as the birthday of Gautama Buddha who introduced the philosophy of Buddhism in the world. In order to make the most of this day, people indulge themselves in attending Buddhist teachings and wear white clothes to follow the tradition.

Significance: People celebrate this festival because on this day Gautama Buddha was born
Key attractions: on this day, people impart the teachings of Buddhism and everyone wears white clothes
When: 7th May 2020
Where: Darjeeling, Bodh Gaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Kurseong, Darjeeling, and Maharashtra

Suggested Read: 25 Mesmerizing Hill Stations In South India That Are A Must Visit In 2020

36. Independence Day – Celebration Of Freedom

red fort

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One of the most crucial and celebrated national festivals, Independence Day is celebrated to feel the spirit of India’s freedom. The flag hoisting ceremony is also held during this day, carried out by the Prime Minister of India at Red Fort. This event is then followed by 21 gunshots that are fired as a way to give salutation. 

Significance: Celebrated to commemorate the freedom attained on 15th August, 1947
Key attractions: the salutation given through 21 gunshots and the Prime Minister of India hoisting the flag
When: 15th August 2020
Where: Delhi

34. Ratha Yatra – A Festival Celebrated For Lord Jagannath

ratha yatra

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This is a festival of chariots that is celebrated as an event dedicated to the Lord Jagannath. People assemble at the famous Puri Jagannath Temple in the Indian state of Odisha. The idols of Goddess Subhadra, Lord Jagannath, and Lord Balabhadra are placed on a chariot and taken out for the procession.                                                                                                                     

Significance: It is celebrated to pay reverence to the Lord Jagannath
Key attractions: chariots with the idols of Lord Jagannath, Goddess Subhadra, and Lord Balabhadra are taken out on a chariot
When: 23rd June 2020
Where: Puri

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