The amazing varieties of religious faiths which co-exist in the Indian sub-continent have given rise to multi religious festivals. What a variety, what a variety and yet what a wonderful unity!
Despite the occasional violent incidents arising out of the superiority complex of some people belonging to a higher caste the underlying fabric of unity is still strong. The numerous festivals of India lend an enchanting colour to it as its differently dressed people, as its people of bright, brown and dark complexion, as its people of linguistic differences, as its people of different cultures, live together.
The various festivals of the various religious communities that we all, as Indians celebrate, reveal the greatness of the One Supreme Almighty, who is manifest as different Gods and Goddesses. The annual festivals are reminders to us of the greatness and glories of the various forms of God.
There are Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, and Parsees etc. But the Hindus have the largest number of festivals. The Hindus worship a number of Gods and Goddesses like Rama, Krishna, Siva, Vishnu, Subramanian, Ganesha, Surya, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati and so on. Each God and Goddess is worshipped on an auspicious day in a year. And so there are Pooja and festivals for the Hindus throughout the year. Sri Rama Nava, a ten-day festival celebrated in honour of Sri Rama, is a festival when prayers are offered and songs are sung. Sri Krishna Jayanti which falls in the month of August is celebrated with much fanfare. Sivarathri in honour of Lord Siva is a sacred day when Pooja are conducted in the Siva Temples.
The Navarathri, a nine- day festival in honour of Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Durga and Goddess Saraswati, is also a grand occasion. In south India an exhibition of dolls is held in most of the houses during the nine days. The temple festivals are also grand occasions when the deities of temples are taken in a profession on the streets and devotees in large numbers worship them. The car festival, when the deities are seated in tall, large wonderful chariots, which are drawn through many streets by the devotees, attracts large crowds. Deepavali is a national festival.
The Christians celebrate Christmas with midnight service in Churches and feast. Christmas is a festival celebrated all over the world. The Sikhs celebrate the birthdays of their religious leaders. Among them the martyrdom of Guru Argon Dev is significant. The Parsees celebrate Navroz. The Jains celebrate Mahavir Jayanti. The Buddhists celebrate the Buddha Poornima, the day of enlightenment of Lord Buddha. The Muslims fast during the Raman month. They celebrate Milady Nab, Barked and Muharram.
All the festivals of India have a great significance.