Himachal in fact can be termed as a mini India. Here people of different races have come together and mixed in the main stream of national life to celebrate festivals of Himachal Pradesh.
Festivals unite the people by bringing them together in joyful celebration of significant events.
The land of majestic landscape and spectacular vistas, Himachal Pradesh is also a place of diverse and multiple colorful fairs and festivals. The people of this state celebrate its rich culture, social diversity and seek the blessings of God for prosperity.
Here I am listing some of the major festivals of Himachal Pradesh:
1. Halda Festival :
On the occasion of Magha Purnima people of Lamaisitic tradition celebrates this festival. It closely resembles Diwali because of the light celebration in night. Shiskar Apa, the goddess of wealth is the main reason why they celebrate this festival. This festival lasts for 2 days.
People gather at a chosen spot with lit cedar twigs and light a massive bonfire. This most-awaited festival of Himachal Pradesh is all about family and community gatherings, local beverages and regional dishes. People make special offerings to deities for prosperity of everyone.
It is an occasion of joy and happiness when people come together from different parts of the state to celebrate the New Year.
2. Sazo Festival:
People celebrates this famous festival in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is one of the most famous festivals of Himachal Pradesh. The locals believe that deities go to heaven for a short period of time. Locals strictly follow the rituals.
People take bath in hot springs or Satluj river and worship their god & goddess 3 times a day. In the evening after third prayer local offers deities with ‘wine’ and ‘halwa’. After this music and dance celebration starts.
After celebration is over, locals believe that deities start their journey to heaven in Kailash mountain. It offers you the chance to understand the significance of religion because of faith of the people.
3. Lohri Festival:
As we all are aware that people of North India celebrates this festival with lot of zeal. People of himachal are no more a exception as they also celebrates this in happiness of fertility of crops.
During Lohri, a bonfire is lit and men, women and children dance around it to the tunes of feet-tapping music. If you visit himachal Pradesh during this festival you will witness people wearing traditional clothes. However, celebration of Lohri festival is same as in other parts of northern India.
People throws Popcorn, puffed rice and sweets into the flames of the bonfire to the God in the hopes of a rich harvest. Locals believe that Lord Krishna listen to their wishes and bless them.
4. Doongri Festival:
This doongri festival or fair associates with Epic Mahabharat as it links with the birthday of Hadimba, Bheem’s wife. People organizes a vast fair on Basant Panchami that marks the arrival of spring season.
This festival takes place in may every year and you can definitely witness a lot of kites and colorful flowers in this festival. The main attraction of this fair is the numbers of awe-inspiring parades which they carry to Hadimba temple.
Priest carry out some rituals at the temple due to which it is a splendid opportunity to witness the culture. However, you can visit the temple throughout the year.
5. Losar Festival
This is a religious and famous festival of Himachal Pradesh as it shows the uniqueness of Tibetan culture. However, this festival is celebrated over the span of 15 days but the main attraction is from 24 feb to 26 feb. Moreover, it marks the beginning of winters in Lahaul & Spiti.
Earlier it was known as Agrarian festival as they celebrate it as blossoming of Apricot trees. However, post Buddhist period they celebrate it to honour Dalai lama. Obviously, Lamas decide the date of the festival according to lunar calendar.
6. Dussehra Festival in Kullu
Kullu Dussehra is one of the most famous festivals in Himachal Pradesh. It embarks the organizing of a grand fair in Dhalpur Maidan. In addition to this local organizes huge feasts.
On the first day of the festival people places an idol of Lord Rama in a huge chariot. Whereas on last day of the festival people sacrifices a fish, crab, rooster, buffalo and lamb.
History: The history of this carnival dates back to the 17th century when the local king, Jagat Singh, installed an idol of Lord Raghunath on his throne on the advice of a Brahmin in order to eradicate his curse, after taking it from Lord Rama’s kingdom, Ayodhya.
7. Himachal Winter Carnival
This winter carnival is no less than a festival because Himachal govt. has given it a state level honour. You must visit Manali during this festival to have a experience of life time.
In this carnival the most famous attraction is skiing competition. The Carnival begins with a massive parade which includes boys and girls dressed in beautiful traditional attires.
The Winter Carnival aims to encourage and promote talented individuals from the grassroots. Moreover, this carnival also carry out talent shows and winter queen competition.
8. Phulaich Festival
This festival is known as the festival of flowers. It takes place in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
With the dawn of the 16th day of Bhado month, ten people belonging to the Rajput tribe will go to the high hills with the instruction of picking the best flowers of the season.
On the 18th day, these people return with their exotic collection of ladra flowers. It is obvious that the people who take part in this tradition for the first time tend to feel a sense of dizziness.
One can see the happy faces of the villagers dressed in their best attires, dancing under the trees. Then by the 23rd day of the month, all the deities are brought back to their temples. On the same day, a goat or lamb is sacrificed.
Rice, food and wine are made as offerings for the deceased which is then given away to the poor.
If you are a nature lover, you must visit Himachal pradesh at least once in ypur life time. We guarantee you will love it as much as we do.