December Festivals celebrated in India
There is no month in the Indian calendar in which there is no festival. December is the last month of the year and there are so many special days to celebrate both in India and Internationally. Being the time of winter plus the end of the year so all its festival is celebrated with more fervor and enthusiasm. Christmas the birth of Jesus Christ is a special time not only for India but the whole world. Hornbill festival in Nagaland is also the biggest festival in northeast India during December. Here we are bringing the popular festival of India celebrated in the month of December.
Christmas is the time where millions of people across the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ (Son of God). Christmas originates from Cristes maesse, or ‘Christ’s Mass’ on the day the Mass of Christ is held and is celebrated in December all over the world. It is one of the biggest Christian festivals and not only celebrated by Christians it is also celebrated by non-Christians worldwide.
People celebrate Christmas by attending mass at church, and together with family and loved ones. Churches, Markets, and malls are fully decorated and people also decorate Christmas trees in homes which is popular all over the world for its grandeur. On Christmas eve the whole family attends a massive feast of different delicacies and giving and receiving gifts then they attend the midnight mass. After the service, the church bells ring to announce that Christmas Day has arrived.
When: December 25th, 2023.
Where: Throughout India
What is Special: Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the celebration include the exchange of gifts, church service, a special meal, and various Christmas decorations.
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and the eve of the last day is celebrated with evening parties and fireworks, the parties continue into the early hours of January 1st of next year. People celebrate New Year’s Eve by attending parties bidding farewell to the finishing year and to celebrate and welcome the year to come. There are a lot of places in India that host big New Year Eve events and parties and people come here to attend them from all over the country, of which beach parties in Goa are most happening and visited.
When: December 31st, 2023.
Where: Throughout the country
What is Special: The beach-side parties in Goa and Pondicherry on New Year’s eve are the best to visit and enjoy.
Hot Air Balloon Festival
In a bid to place Karnataka as the premier Adventure Tourism destination on the Indian tourism map, Karnataka Tourism is all set to unleash a slew of initiatives to promote adventure sports and other activities in the state of which Hot-air Ballooning Festival is one. Hot-air Ballooning Festival takes place from December to January for four days and is organized in three different regions of Karnataka, Mysore, Hampi, and Bidar.
In this festival, you can notice the huge participation of hot-air balloon enthusiastic crowd from India and abroad also. It is a four-day-long festival and is aimed to build an interest in adventure sports among the youth. In a hot air balloon flight, you can enjoy the panoramic beauty of Karnataka, a wonderful experience to share with your friends and family.
When: End of December 2023.
Where: Mysore, Hampi, and Bidar of Karnataka
What is Special: Attending the Hot-Air Ballooning Festival in Karnataka is going to be an interesting and engaging affair for all the sky lovers.
Rann Utsav is one of the most popular festivals of Kutch, Gujarat. During the chilly winter months November to February when the dessert is most attractive the festival comes alive. The festival celebrates the unique culture of Gujarat with music and dance performances, storytelling sessions, walks through the desert, fabulous displays of handicrafts, and of course some authentic, mouth-watering food native to the Rann of Kutch. Kutch Rann Utsav is the shimmering landscape that gives the enchanting moments of this Fest, which feels like Heaven On Earth during Festival Time.
When: November 10, 2023 – February 25th, 2024
Where: Kutch, Gujarat
What is Special: Enjoy spectacular performances under the moonlight and learn about the traditional music and culture of Gujarat.
Rajasthan Winter Festival
Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajasthan, and its mesmerizing beauty makes it a paradise for adventure lovers, honeymooning couples, friend groups, and family tourists. The Mount Abu’s winter festival is celebrated with heart and soul near New Year’s Eve. The festival is jointly organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and the Municipal Board of Mount Abu.
It becomes more entertaining due to folk dance, pleasant music, meaningful poetry, and the taste of adventure. The festival features traditional dancing, concerts, fairs, and a fireworks display; participants include folk artists from majorly Rajasthan and also from Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat. The festival opens with a procession to Nakki Lake. Winter Festival in Mount Abu adds glory to The Land of Maharajas.
When: 29 December – 31 December 2023.
Where: Mount Abu, Rajasthan
What is Special: The mesmerizing beauty of Mount Abu makes it a paradise for adventure lovers, honeymooning couples, friend groups, and family tourists, especially during the winter festival.
Konark Dance Festival
Konark Dance Festival is organized in the famous sun temple, Konark Sun Temple, built back in the 13th century that displays the traditional dance of Odissa. The festival is a cultural meet of various dance forms – artists perform different contemporary dance forms from the regional Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Manipuri, Kuchipudi. Mohiniattam and myriad of classical, tribal, or folk dances of India on the artificial stage, Natyashala created in the temple.
There are various other events organized during the 5 days of the festival that include Crafts Mela, an exhibition of souvenirs and sculptures created by expert craftsmen. You will also enjoy an array of lip-smacking food. It is a joyful experience of art, culture, and food.
When: December 2023
Where: Sun temple of Konark
What is Special: One can witnesses almost all the classical dances of India in this festival, right from Odissi to Bharatnatyam to Manipuri to Kathak.
The Tibetian new year is known as Galdan Namchot. The festival is celebrated in Ladakh of India very fondly. The celebrations are full of music, dance, feasts, and gifts. People of Ladakh are majorly Buddhist and thus, the festival holds its significance for them.
The day commemorates the birth and death of a revered Buddhist Monk. The festival is celebrated mainly in the Himalayan regions, especially in the Ladakh area. Monasteries are decorated and lit with butter lamps on this auspicious day.
When: 7th December 2023
What is Special: Local people dressed vividly perform the traditional dance on the beats of age-old musical instruments. Homes and monasteries are decorated, people prepare and share dishes like Thukpa, Momo, and Butter tea.
This festival is celebrated with great pomp in Kottamkuzhy, Kerala. It is a ten-day annual affair that celebrates what is known as one of the oldest ritual art forms – the Theyyam festival. The Perumthitta Theyyam, at which most of the Theyyam forms are on display, is a truly grand affair. The festival features talented Theyyam performers who don the roles of ancestral spirits and heroes. The pomp and splendor of the Theyyams are truly breathtaking.
When: December 2023
Where: Kottamkuzhy, Kerala
What is Special: The festival stage for a variety of Theyyams that provides the best visual treat with performers donning the role of heroes and ancestral spirits.
International Sand Art Festival
International Sand Art Festival aims to encourage the young sand artists of the state to display their masterpieces on the golden sands of the river which will help them to expose their artistic excellence and to promote Odisha tourism across the globe. There is competition among the artists and awards and trophies will be given to the winners.
When: December 2023
Where: Chandrabhaga beach, Odisha
What is Special: Witness the magnificent sculptures of sand artists showcasing their talent and creating masterpieces with sand.
Hornbill Festival is also known as Festival of Festivals, celebrates the culture and diversity of the state, and is celebrated by Naga Tribes with much enthusiasm and zeal. It is a live exhibition of the culture and traditions of Nagaland, with music, costumes, dance, food, and much more.
It is one of the major festivals to promote tourism of the state and travelers usually look at this time of the year to visit North-East India. It plays host to a weeklong medley of cultural performances, indigenous games, craft bazaar, music events, fashion, cycling, motor sporting, events, a kid’s carnival, floral galleria, food courts, film festival, and a series of competitions in various activities.
When: 1st December to 10th December 2023
What is Special: Experience the color, sounds, and dances of Nagaland and try the traditional tribal food served to the visitors during this festival.
Feast of Francis Xavier
The Feast of St Francis Xavier is celebrated at the Basilica of Bom Jesus in old Goa each year to pay homage to the saint. The saint is popularly referred to as Goencho Saib, the god of Goa. The Basilica of Bom Jesus house the silver casket that shelters the mortal remains of the saint.
The feast begins with early morning masses that are attended by thousands of pilgrims and faithful devotees. Believers from all over the world gather to celebrate the death anniversary of the revered saint that falls on the 3rd of December.
When: 3rd December 2023
Where: Bom Jesus Basilica of Old Goa
What is Special: The festival gives you a superb opportunity to be a part of the religious festival and also witness the extravagant carnival of Goa.
Mahindra Kabira Festival
Mahindra Kabira Festival promises a specially curated experience of the life and works of Kabir, his music and poetry, and the city of Varanasi, his birthplace, unparalleled for its unique ambiance, flavor, soul, and history. Mahindra Kabira Festival will celebrate the philosophy of Kabir and bring to music-lovers an unforgettable experience.
Leading exponents of the Benares Gharana and folk traditions, Sufi music, Dadra, Thumri, Khayal Gayaki styles, ghazals, and pakhawaj and the tabla are all set to enthrall audiences on the historic ghats of India’s holiest city, Varanasi which resonates with a mélange of voices and colors symbolic of India’s rich cultural matrix.
When: December 2023.
What is Special: The festival creates historic melodies, mystic music and the romance of the river Ganges inspires an experience of intangible beauty and musical intensity.
India Bike Week (IBW)
In 2013 India launched its very own India Bike Week in Goa. The first-ever event of such kind, which appealed to bikers from all around to country, witness the participation of over 5,300 bikers. The number of participants keeps on increasing every year to be part of this iconic motorcycle event.
While by the time it’s December, thousands of bikers ride down to Goa to participate in the IBW, as IBW has developed a cult following which is only expected to grow big year on year. The people who prefer riding down to Goa to participate in IBW are a part of the tradition called the ‘Great Migration’.
When: 8th December – 9th December 2023.
What is Special: India Bike Week promises to be a treat for all bike enthusiasts, from adventurous riding trails to thrilling performances.
Chennai Music Festival
The Margazhi Festival of Dance and Music in Chennai commonly referred to as the Madras Music Season, is one of the largest cultural events in the world. The festival in southern India is marked by dance and music. The city of Chennai hosts the musical extravaganza every year. The month-long festival has earned a reputation as a classical event for traditional arts. It is also known as Chennai Music Season. The event is attended by audiences and artists from around the globe.
The first event was organized in the year 1927. The organizers later established Madras Music Academy. You can imagine the popularity of the event by the fact that it is considered one of the largest cultural events.
When: December 2023 – January 2024
What is Special: The festival is the world’s largest music festival. Carnatic musicians hold center-stage and it is not just meant for entertainment, it also characterizes Chennai as the ‘seat of culture’.
Chhau Jhumur Utsav
Chau Jhumur Utsav depicts the rich cultural tradition of the Puriulis region and has evolved as a major crowd-puller in the region. This 3-day festival is celebrated with vibrant performing folk art, nearly 3000 artists follow the tradition. The festival is aptly complemented by drums, shenai, reed pipes, and other instruments. Chhau dance is recorded in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010.
When: December 2023.
Where: Maldi village in Balarampur, Purulia, West Bengal
What is Special: A perfect time to witness the colorful martial mask dance that is performed based on mythological tales that spread moral and ethical ideals.
Here is a carnival-inspired from Portuguese New Year celebrations. The carnival is aimed to bring the locals and tourists together for the traditional celebrations. The fourteen days festival is full of dance, music, and live performances. Apart from the performances it also features a grand parade of beautifully decorated Elephants.
The history of the Cochin Carnival could be dated back to the year 1984. Three youths decided to bring the culture of Portuguese alive on the beaches of Cochin. And thus, Cochin Carnival Festival revived again.
When: Last week of December 2023.
Where: Kochi, Kerala
What is Special: Cochin carnival is the time of merrymaking and the entire place gets filled with colors and the joyous laughter of the people, making it the best place to welcome New Year.
Kumbhalgarh Festival is a vibrant and colorful three days an incredible effort by the Department Of Tourism of the state to promote the culture and heritage of Rajasthan. The event is divided into two parts- day and night. In the daytime, there are folk performances by traditional artists and competitions like turban tying and henna applying. On the other hand, the night is filled with impressive explosions of lights, sound, colors, and dance. The Kumbhalgarh Festival is a must-visit for ardent patrons of art, music, and dance.
When: December 2023.
Where: Kumbhalgarh Fort Of Udaipur
What is Special: Kumbhalgarh Festival is the perfect time to experience the multi-hued culture of Rajasthan and their ultimate royalty and hospitality.
Magnetic Fields Festival
You will find almost everything that attracts tourists to Rajasthan in this unique festival. The amalgamation of music, dance, arts, culture, and adventure sports finds home in Alsisar Mahal Palace in Rajasthan. It has nothing to do with science but partying and celebrations. The simple concept brings the dream of living in tents in a vast desert area while the party goes on for three continuous days to reality. The venue has been selected deliberately as Alsisar Palace. The palace is a fine example of Rajput architecture. It goes well with heritage and luxury.
When: December 2023.
Where: Alsisar, Rajasthan
What is Special: Various activities like a treasure hunt, kite flying, secret parties, etc are organized at the festival.
Kurukshetra Festival coincides with Gita Jayanti and is celebrated to commemorate the birth of the holy book Srimad Bhagavad Gita. This festival not only celebrates the birth of Bhagavad Gita but also pays tribute to the exciting war of Mahabharata between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. It is held on the 11th day of Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) of Margashirsh month as per the traditional Lunar calendar. In the festival, there are events of shloka recital, dance, dramas, and deep daan (charity) at the Brahma Sarovar.
When: 22nd December 2023.
Where: Kurukshetra, Haryana
What is Special: Thousands of devotees gather to take a holy dip in the sacred tanks of Brahma Sarovar and Sannehit Sarovar.
This festival or fair is organized primarily to give a platform for local artisans to showcase and sell their handicrafts. Additionally, there are many cultural events like dance, music, and performances at the Bishnupur Festival.
The festival has been proving beneficial for the upliftment of artisans and local craftsmen. You can see and purchase handmade sculptures, woven clothes, and other handicrafts. Many vendors set up stalls in the fair selling local cuisine of West Bengal.
When: 27th December – 31st December 2023.
Where: Bishnupur, West Bengal
What is Special: The festival celebrates the cultural richness of the region, providing the attendees with a glimpse of Bengali cultural heritage.