India is a land of festivals where each festival has its own significance and charm which brings the vibrant beauty of India at its best. January marks the new year and start of the festival season. The major festival celebrated in the month of January are.
Lohri is the festival of harvest for people of the northern province, Punjab and Haryana. Lohri is the last night of Paush month and in the morning Makar Sankranti is celebrated. It is celebrated on 13th January every year with great fanfare and enthusiasm. The festival is celebrated all over India with different names. It is the day when farmers celebrate their bountiful harvest with pleasant weather with friends and family.
When: 13th January every year
Where: North India mainly Punjab and Haryana
What is Special: Light up bonfire with dance and music, and popcorn, maize seeds, jaggery, rewari, gajak, peanuts, and sesame seeds, are put in the fire as an offering than eaten as prasad.
Makar Sankranti (the festival is also called Magha Sankranti or Magha festival in parts of India) is the festival celebrated on 14 or 15 January every year, when the sun enters cancer in the Pausha month and faces towards the north it is called Uttarayan. The festival is important for farmers who harvest their crops and sow new seeds. On this day people make dishes of sesame, jaggery, and holy bath is taken in several places. People fly kites and there is a custom of eating khichdi on this day.
When: 14th January
Where: Every part of India, it is known as Pedda Panduga in Andhra Pradesh, Makara Sankranti in Karnataka and Maharashtra, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Magh Bihu in Assam, Magha Mela in parts of central and north India, as Makar Sankranti in the west, and by other names. Kite flying is done in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
What is Special: People exchange sweets and greetings, while others take a holy dip in the river and fly kites.
Pongal is a festival of farmers celebrated in south India, it is like Makar Sankranti and Lohri the festival celebrated in north India. The festival is celebrated for four days when people offer prasad to Sun god called Pogal hence the festival is named Pongal. This four-day festival is called Bhogi Pongal, Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal, and Kanya Pongal. The festival begins on the first date of the Tamil month ‘Tai’ hence this festival also brings Tamil New Year.
When: 15th to 18th January
Where: Tamil Nadu
What is Special: People adorned their houses with rangoli (kolam), you can see kolams in the streets everywhere. They cook the Pongal dish have bull fights and bird fights.
Republic Day is one of the three national festival of India and is celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm all over the country. This is the day when the Constitution came into force in India. On this day many programs are held throughout the country and a grand parade show is organized by the Indian Army in Delhi. After the army parade, all the states of the country present their culture and tradition through tableaux. After this, flowers are showered from the sky by the Indian Air Force like the colors of our national flag (saffron, white, and green).
When: 26th January
Where: New Delhi
What is Special: The Republic Day parade which showcases India’s diverse culture and capabilities of armed forces.
Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the month of Magha and from this day Vasant Ritu begins. Goddess Saraswati is worshiped on this day and is celebrated with great enthusiasm especially in eastern India. On this day people wear yellow clothes and offer prayers. Traditionally, this festival has been considered very auspicious for the education of the child. Therefore, in many parts of the country, the education of children is started on this day. The child is taught to write and read the first word.
It is the start of the spring season when the earth is naturally decorated with beautiful flowers and mustard flowers start shining in the fields. Barley and wheat earrings start blooming, mango trees blossom and butterflies start hovering everywhere, which indicates the coming of the festival of Vasant Panchami.
When: 29th January
Where: Various region in the Indian subcontinent especially eastern parts of India, particularly in West Bengal and Bihar, it is celebrated as Saraswati Puja.
What is Special: Vasant Panchami is a famous festival that marks the end of the winter season and ushers in the springtime, people wear yellow clothes and make yellow food as it is believed to bring good luck, in Punjab Meethe Chawal, Maake ki Roti and Sarso Ka Saag are eaten.