Festivals are integral for community building and uniting people together. Just like we have festivals for every season in India, we have festivals of monsoons to welcome the onset of rains with much joy and fervor.
Thanks to the diversity of India, there are more than one ways in which we observe monsoon. It seems like peacocks are not the only who dance and celebrate rains. We humans do too. Every state or caste has its own traditions and customs associated with monsoons which they carry out with much zeal and gusto. We let nobody rain over their parade when it comes to celebrating our spirit. We even have Gods and deities associated with the monsoon, for example, Lord Indra who we appease during the festivities.
Festivals Of Monsoon In India
Here are some of the important festivals of monsoon in India when everyone in the community comes together to celebrate their culture and traditions associated with the season.
One of the most celebrated festivals of monsoon, Teej does not need any introduction. It is primarily a three-day festival in Rajasthan which is celebrated with joy and gaiety. Women in Rajasthan put henna on their hands and fast for their spouses. They take a swing on the trees as they sing songs while men fly kites on the eve of Teej. Delicious food items like Ghewar, kheer, and ever-delicious dal bati churma are made during the festival. It is also celebrated in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar with much gusto.
Where to celebrate: Bundi in Rajasthan
Date: 1st September 2019
Janmashtami or the birth of Lord Krishna is one of the most important festivals of monsoons in India which is celebrated with much fanfare and zeal. While it a grand affair in the Lord’s birthplace – Vrindavan and Mathura, it is celebrated with equal gusto in the western part of Maharashtra. Little children are dressed like Lord Krishna and Radha Ji. Temples recreate scenes from Lord Krishna’s childhood and life, for example, stealing butter or killing his evil uncle. People also participate in Dahi Handi competition where they form a human pyramid to break the pot hanging from a great height and filled with butter and curd. The whole day is filled with fun and excitement.
Where: Vrindavan and Mathura
Date: 24 August
Onam is not just about snake boats and Kathakali Dance. One of the most important festivals of monsoon, it is a huge affair in Kerala and a major lure for the tourists. The festival is important to farmers who rejoice after long toil in the farms and witnessing rains. The best thing about Onam is the twenty-one type of homemade curries and payasam served on the plantain leaf. People dress up in traditional attire and even decorate their houses with colorful rangolis and flowers. Then there is a carnival of elephants and temple rituals to make the event even more special.
Where to celebrate: Kerala
Date: 1-13 September 2019
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4. Raksha Bandhan
Rakshabandhan is one of the major Hindu festivals of India during monsoon. It is the eve when sisters tie silk thread on the wrist of their brother to bless them with long life. It is celebrated all over India to commemorate the cherished bond between sister and brother. Sisters prepare their brother’s favorite dishes on this day and brothers get lavish gifts in return for their sisters. They also make a promise to protect their sisters from all kinds of dangers. It really is a sweet festival.
Where to celebrate: all over India
Date: 15 August
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5. Puri Rath Yatra
You have not seen anything like the grand Rath Yatra in Puri, Orissa. One of the most important festivals of monsoon, Jagannath Yatra is an extravagant affair. Thousands and thousands of people gather in the streets where the temple idols of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra are pulled to take them to Gundicha Temple, the Lord’s aunt. The chariots are as massive as 45.6 feet tall and take 18 wheels to be dragged. Puri Rath Yatra is said to absolve all our sins and grant freedom from the circle of death and life. No wonder why devotees from all across the world come to take part in this auspicious festival of monsoon.
Where: Puri in Orissa
Date: 4 July
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6. Ganesh Chaturthi
Celebrated in Maharashtra and other parts of India, Ganesh Chaturthi is when people welcome Lord Ganesha in their houses and worship him for nine days. Lord Ganesha is the remover of all obstacles. Those who pray him are blessed with prosperity and wealth. A grand farewell is bid to Lord before the idol is immersed in the water bodies. People celebrate this festival with dance, food, and singing. The best part of this festival is Modak, a sweet prepared from condensed milk which is also Lord Ganesha’s favorite.
Where: Mumbai in Maharashtra
Date: 2 September 2019
7. Nariyal Poornima
Another festival of monsoon celebrated in Maharashtra is Nariyal Poornima. The coconut festival is mainly a tradition of the fisher community in the coastal villages of Maharashtra. It is celebrated on the same day as Rakshabandhan at the end of the monsoon season. If you want to experience the culture and traditions of coastal people up close and personal, then you should definitely visit Maharashtra to celebrate the festival.
Date: 15 August 2019
8. Hemis festival
Monsoon i.e. July-August is a great time to plan a trip to Ladakh. Not only it is one of the dry places during monsoon season but also the Hemis Festival takes place during this time. The revered Hemis Gompa is one of the oldest, largest and culturally richest Buddhist monasteries in the world. The 2-day festival is actually the celebration of the birth of Lord Padmasambhava. It is celebrated on the tenth day of Tibetan Lunar month. Monks are dressed in colorful dresses, wear huge animals masks, and give a dramatic dance performance in the premises of monastery. The atmosphere reverberates with the sound of musical drums, longhorns, and cymbals. Hemis Festival should be one of your reasons to take a trip to Ladakh.
Where: Leh, Ladakh
Date: 11-12 July 2019
This festival will give you a major reason to take a trip all the way to the northeast. One of the most important festivals of monsoon in Meghalaya, Behdienkhlam is an annual cleansing ritual celebrated in July. Behdienkhlam means ‘Chasing away the demon of Cholera’ in the local language and also symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. Local tribes come together to celebrate the harvest of the crop and seek blessings from God.
Date: July 14
These were some of the festivals of monsoon in India celebrated in the month of July, August, and September. Plan a trip to these places to take part in the festivities and celebrate the diversity of India in culture and traditions.