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Regional Festivals

India is a vast country having a population of over one billion and large geographical area. The cultures and traditions of India differ from one region to another region. People of the country living in various regions have their specific festivals related to crop, animal, local deities or old traditions.

Thrissur Pooram (Kerela)

Celebrated in  the month of April-May, Thrissur Pooram consists of parades of richly dressed up elephants from various neighboring temples to the Vadakumnathan Temple. There is no other single festival in Kerala that draws such an incredible number of people. The festival of colors and sound, the Pooram displays the goodness of the people of Trichur. Unlike most other temple festivals, Thrissur Pooram is participated and conducted by people of all caste and religions. It is an expression of well-admired appeal for sound and colour. Because of the pompous attributes, this festival, appeals to all people. This colorful festival is indubitably an extraordinary delicacy both for the eyes and the ears. This is the largest temple festival held in the property of Vadakkumnathan Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Long before the initiation of Thrissur Pooram, Thrissur Taluk was the largest temple festival at Arattupuzha.Temples in and around Thrissur were regular participants of this religious festival. But once they were deprived of the entry by the prime chief of the Peruvanam area of Cherpu. So to avenge the wounded feelings of the spirituals of Thrissur, Raja Rama Varma (1751-1805), the ruler of the Cochin state invited all these temples to bring their deities to Thrissur where they could pray to Lord (Sri) Vadakunnathan together. This background determines the course of the Pooram program for the common man.
The Pooram festival is celebrated by two rival groups, representing the two divisions of Thrissur Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi. They challenge and try to overshadow each other with a more magnificent display of fireworks and better barded elephants. The participants are permitted to showcase 15 beautifully decorated elephants each during the festival. For this purpose, the groups leave no stone unturned to get the best elephants of the area. Fireworks add to the dazzling beauty of the environment. Devotees perform various folk arts like Kummatti, Karivela and Andivela during the festival. The celebrations embark on early in the morning and last till the next morning dawn. With a great elephant march, harmonious percussion, colorful procession and musical performances, the Pooram festival is the most thunderous, spectacular and dazzling festival of the region.

Onam is an annual harvest festival, celebrated mostly in the God's Own Country- Kerala. It is one of the most important festivals for the community of Malayalese celebrated in the month of Chingam, the first month of Malayalam calendar. This corresponds with the month of August according to the Hindu calendar. This festival like many others is celebrated by people of all religions. The festival marks the home coming of the king Mahabali and brings out the best of Kerala's culture and tradition. Intricately decorated Rangoli with flowers and colours, Kathakkali Dance and the snake boat race are some of the major features of the festival of Onam.
Onam is a harvest festival and is held with great enthusiasm. The weather at this time seems very pleasant and comforting. The farmers feel very happy looking at the fruit of their hard labour. The whole area of Keral looks green. Children eagerly wait for this colourful festival because they get new clothes, toys and great food. The carnival of Onam lasts from four to ten days. It is the popularity of the Onam festival that made the Government announce it as a National festival of Kerala in 1961.It is said that during the reign of demon king Mahabali, Kerala saw a golden era. Everybody in the state was happy and prosperous. The people of his kingdom had deep respect and affection for him. But his egotism was one of the major drawbacks of the King. His this weakness was utilized by the God to bring his reign to an end. However for all his good deeds, God granted him a boon that he could annually visit his people with whom he was very attached.It is this visit of Mahabali that is celebrated as Onam every year. People make all efforts to celebrate the festival in a grand way and impress upon their dear King that they are happy and wish him well.
The rich culture of Kerala is at its best during the Onam festival. The ten days festival proves to be like a carnival where everybody seems to enjoy himself/herself. The most impressive part of Onam celebration is the grand feast called Onasadya, prepared on Thiruonam.It is a nine course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. Onasadya is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal.
Another important feature of Onam is the Snake Boat Race that takes place on the river Pampa. It proves really an enchanting experience to watch the colourfully decorated boats competing with each other in the boat race.

Taj Mahotsav
A 10 days event, Taj Mahotsav is organised by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism department at Shilpgram close to Taj Mahal in Shilpgram. Starting on 18th February each year the Taj Mahotsav is a much-awaited event and brings together the finest crafts and cultural nuances of India. Here you can get a glimpse of India's rich cultural heritage and extraordinary legacies. Also known as Taj Mahal Utsav, the festival provides a wonderful chance to the skilled artisans to display their magnificent works of art. Highlights of the festival include the display of rich culture, arts, crafts, cuisine, music and dance of Uttar Pradesh.So, visit the festival this February, check out rich arts and crafts of Uttar Pradesh, savour mouth-watery dishes, refresh your mind with soothing music, shake your bones with folk dances and go back to your home some long lasting memories.Any specific legend is not associated with celebration of Taj Mahotsav. The festival is organised annually to recreate the grandeur of Mughals. Besides, it also showcases rich arts and crafts and some of oldest cuisines and the typical preparations of Uttar Pradesh.

Taj Mahotsav begins with a impressive procession inspired by Mughal grandeur. The glorious past of the mighty Mughals are recreated by the bedecked elephants and camels, drummers, folk artists and master craftsmen participating in the festival. For ten days the festival venue comes alive with culture, crafts and traditions of Uttar Pradesh and rest of the India.Some of the popular crafts displayed here include brass and metal ware from Moradabad, wood carvings from Saharanpur, handmade carpets of Badohi, the pottery of Khurja, chickan-work of Lucknow, the silk sarees of Banaras (Varanasi) and many other items. Of course, Marble rules the Taj Mahotsav and you will find a variety of marble items in the festival. Any Indian fair or festival is not complete without exotic cuisine, so in Taj Mahotsav as well you can savour some of the best and richest foods of Uttar Pradesh. The food festival organised during the Taj Mahotsav provides you a wonderful experience to savour with delectable cuisines of the state.Another highlight of Taj Mahotsav is amazing folk music and dance performances by the folk artists of different states of India. You can enjoy folk music and dances of Dundelkhand, Nautanki (drama), Sapera (snake) dance of Rajasthan, Lavani of Maharashtra and many other interesting music and dance forms.If you wish to shake your legs, you can join in with the folk dancers enjoying swinging to a different dancing styles. Musical recitals by maestros, shayari (poetry) by the poets and cultural shows are other highlights of the Taj Mahal festival.

Goa Carnival
Carrnival or 'Carnem Levare' is a Portuguese word which means 'to take away meat' means putting away flesh. It is annual four day celebration sweeping Goa off its feet. Goa's well-known festival has been celebrated since the 18th century. Stated for its feasting-drinking-merrymaking party just before the 40 days of Lent; a time of chastity and devotement. Huge parades through the cities are formulated with bands, floats and dances and balls in the evenings. The final day concludes with the famous Red-and-Black dance held by the Clube Nacional in Panjim.This unique and exclusive festive is heralded in February. For three days and nights the streets come alive with colour. Held in mid February, the week long event is a time for lively processions, floats, the strumming of guitars, exclusive dances and of non-stop party.
The origin of carnival was due to the voluptuous feasts of ancient Rome and Greece. It made its emergence in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, where it was transmuted into the very Latin singing-dancing-drinking turns. The carnival is governed by King Momo, who on the opening day orders his subjects to party. The carnival signifies the fun-loving culture that is symbol of Goa. It was initiated by the erstwhile rulers as a wild celebration in which flour, eggs, oranges, lemons, mud, sand-filled gloves along with dirty water, various liquids and glue were targeted at passersby. Fierce battles were waged in the streets, with eggs, wax lemons and beans. The carnival in Goa still remains the root of the pristine`. A King of Chaos is elected, called King "Momo". He controls over the three-day festivities, which attract visitors from all over India and abroad. Perhaps this was done to abandon the old and the dirty before the Lenten fast.Street Plays, songs, dances and the merrymaking people perform before a fascinating and responsive audience. They compose and rehearse short plays inclusive of song, music and dance to be displayed during the carnival. The plays are generally related to history and are exhibited only by men. They perform the roles of women as well and are dressed in bright colorful costumes. The contestants wear colorful costumes and elaborate masks. They form the head of a parade of colorful and attractive troupes of masked whoopees dressed in gorgeous attires sing and dance in a playful music that is mostly performed live. The best groups are given handsome prizes. In the fun-filled ambience, people smear color on each other, instead of the flour, eggs, fruit and water that was used in past times. These celebrations, cultural functions and competitions are judged by specially selected people. King Momo distributes the prizes to the winners.
In Goan villages, however, the festivities have a natural flavor. Though celebrated by the Christian population of Goa, the carnival's only purpose to Christianity is that it is celebrated before Lent. The festival today has no religious buzz as such as is not celebrated anywhere than in India.