Customs Of India

Festivals

Festivals of Goa

Goa is a land of mixed culture and tradition. Goa celebrates a host of festivals each year. It has a sizeable number of Hindus and therefore almost all Hindu festivals are celebrated in Goa. The most popular festivals are Shivratri, Basant Panchami, Ramnavami, Gokul Ashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dusshera, Diwali and Govardhan Puja. Typical Goan festivals and feasts are also organized in the state like Shigmoutsav, Feast of Our Lady of Candelaria, Pop and Jazz Music Festival and Feast of Three Kings.

Festival of Karnataka

Karnataka has a multi-religious and a multi-cultural population. Hence a variety of festivals are held in the state. Karnataka like most of its southern neighbors has several temples which also account for a number of festivals being held each year. Dusshera, the most important Hindu festival is celebrated with extravagance over a period of ten days. This festival was started by the rulers of the Vijaynagar Empire. Other festivals celebrated in Karnataka are Yugadi, Karaga celebrated at the Darmaraya Temple and Rajyotsava Day. Makara Samkramana, Sri Ramanavami, Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi and Deepavali are the other festivals celebrated in Karnataka along with the rest of the country. The fairs which are held in Karnataka are Sri Vithappa Fair, the Godachi Fair, Shri Yellamma Devi Fair and Banashankari Devi Fair.


These Are Common Festivals In India

Diwali

Diwali is a five day festival that represents the start of the Hindu New Year. It's known as the "Festival of Lights" for all the fireworks, small clay lamps, and candles that are lit during the celebrations. These lights are said to represent the victory of good over evil, and brightness over darkness. The candlelight makes Diwali a very warm and atmospheric festival, and it's observed with much joy and happiness.


Onam

Onam is a traditional ten day harvest festival that marks the homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. It’s a festival rich in culture and heritage. People strikingly decorate the ground in front of their houses with flowers arranged in beautiful patterns to welcome the King. The festival is also celebrated with new clothes, feasts served on banana leaves, dancing, sports, games, and snake boat races.


Vishu

Vishu, the Malayalam New Year, is one of the most important traditional Kerala festivals. The New Year’s Day falls on ‘Medam’ in the Malayalam calendar which would be during the March – April period. The state is transformed into a hub of revelry and merrymaking during the auspicious occasion of Vishu. The celebration begins at dawn of the New Year’s Day with elaborate rituals in the temples and exchange of greetings and gifts. Early before dawn the ‘kani’ (a symbol of good-luck) is prepared at homes. It is believed that if the first sight that greets a person on the day of Vishu is ‘kani’, good luck and prosperity will inevitably follow throughout the year.
People are seen clad in traditional attire thronging the temples early in the morning. Traditional singing and dancing are part of the Vishu celebrations. The traditional vegetarian ‘sadya’ is prepared in homes and hotels for lunch. Cultural celebrations are organized to make this day a truly delightful start for the year.


Holi

Holi is a two day festival that also celebrates the victory of good over evil, as well as the abundance of the spring harvest season. It's commonly referred to as the "Festival of Colors". People exuberantly throw colored powder and water all over each other, have parties, and dance under water sprinklers. Bhang (a paste made from cannabis plants) is also traditionally consumed during the celebrations. Holi is a very carefree festival that's great fun to participate in if you don’t mind getting wet and dirty.


Foods

North India

- Jammu Kashmir: Rogan Josh, Tabak Maaz, Gustaba, Dum Aloo, Haak Saag, Yakhni, Kahava (Green tea Latte)

- Punjab: Makki-Roti and Sarson-Saag, Rajma and Chawal, Cholay and Bhature, Amritsar Machhli, Makhani Dal, Kulcha, Sooji Halwa (Parsad), Lassi (whipped yogurt)

- Haryana: Kachri Subzi, Cholia, Chach (Matha, natural skimmed buttermilk), Bajra Khichri

- Rajasthan: Dal-Baati-Choorma, Ker-Sangari, Lal-Maas, Gatta, Piyaz Kachori, Ghewar, Kalakand. Bhang available at state stores. You might be able to find Ganja and even Afeem

- Himachal Pradesh: Sidu, Aktori and Dham, Apples

- Uttarkhand: Aloo Gutke, Kaapa, Jhangora kheer, Chainsoo
- Uttar Pradesh: Shami Kebab, Awadh Biryani, Aloo Kachori, Moong Dal Halwa, Benaras Chaat, Jalebi and Dahi breakfast


Mid India

Madhya Pradesh: Lapsi, Bafla, Bhutte Kheer, Bhopali Kebab

Chhattisgarh (Eastern part of Madhya Pradesh) is known for Bafauri, Kusli, and Red ant chutney made famous by chef Gordon Ramsey

- Gujarat: Thepla, Dhokla, Khandvi, Handvo, Panki, Dhansak, Ankoori, Nankhatai

- Maharashtra: Shrikhand. Thalipeeth, Vada Pao, Modak, Upma

- Goa: Vindaloo, Xacuti, Bibinca, Prawn Balchao

Vindaloo is oldest hottest dish made with red chilies in Indian food history

-Delhi: Chaat, Paratha (Paranthe wali gali), Cholay and Bhature, Nihari, Seekh kebab, Haleem, Korma, Mutton Pulao, Moti-choor Laddoo, Kulfi and Falooda, Sohan Halwa

Makhni chicken and Tandoori Chicken originated at Daryaganj in Delhi

South India

- Karnataka: Bisi Bele Bhaat, Kesari Bath, Mysore Pak, Dharwad Pedha, Chiroti

- Kerala: Sadya meal, Avial, Malabar Parotha, Payasam, Irachi Stew

- Andhra Pradesh: Hyderabadi Biryani, Mirchi salan, Ghongura pickle, Korikoora
- Tamil Nadu: Appam, Dosai, Idli, Sambhar, Rasam, Chettinad chicken, Pongal

Northern part of Tamil Naidu (Pondicherry) is known for Kadugu Yerra, Vendakkai Patchaddy

Idli is the oldest technically most sophisticated in Indian food history


East India

- West Bengal: Bhapa llish, Rasgulla, Mishti Doi, Machhli Jhoal

- Orissa: Fish Orly, Khirmohan, Rasabali, Chennapodapitha

Rasgulla actually originated in Orissa


Dances Of India

Andhra Pradesh

Kolattam

Kolattam or "the stick dance", is one of the most popular dance narratives in Andhra Pradesh. It is also called as Kolannalu or Kolkolannalu. It's a rural art usually performed during village festivals. It is a combination of rhythmic movements, songs and music. The Kolatam group comprises dancers ranging from 8 to 40 where they are grouped in pairs. The sticks provides the main rhythm. The dancers are led by the leader and move about in two circles. The inner circle receive the strikes on their sticks from the artists in the outer circle that deliver them. Kolattam is also called Kolanna in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh state.

Kuchipudi

Kuchipudi is the dance form started in Andhra Pradesh in a village called Kuchipudi.


Goa

The multi-hued Tarangamel dance is all energy and youthfulness. On the occasions of Dusherra and Holi, the spirited girls and boys swarm the streets in colorful group, waving flags and streamers (tarang), inspiring and inviting one and all to imbibe the festive spirit. They shout "Ho! Ho!" To the beats of 'romut', 'dhol' and 'tasha'. The rainbow like costumes of the dancers and the multi-coloured flags and streamers make Tarangamel a visually appealing affair.

The other popular folk dances are:

  • Dashavatara
  • Dekhni
  • Dhalo
  • Dhangar
  • Fugdi
  • Ghodemodni
  • Goff
  • Jagar
  • Kunbi
  • Mando
  • Muslam Khel
  • Perni Jagar
  • Ranamale
  • Romta Mel
  • Divlyan Nach (Lamp dance)
  • Veerabhadra


Rajasthan

Ghoomar

Ghoomar is a traditional women's folk dance of Rajasthan which was developed by the Bhil tribe of Mewar zone and was adopted by other Rajasthani communities. "NAACHATO RAJASTHAN" is the group of the artist performing it since last 5 years. It is performed by groups of women in swirling robes accompanied by men and women singing together. This folk dance gets its name from ‘ghoomna’, the pirouetting which displays the spectacular colors of the flowing ‘ghaghara’, the long skirt of the Rajasthani women. There is an amazing grace as the skirt flair slowly while the women twirl in circles, their faces covered with the help of the veil. They dance in measured steps and graceful inclinations of body, beating palms or snapping fingers at particular cadences, while singing some lilting songs.

Kalbelia

Kalbella dance is performed by "NAACHATO RAJASTHAN" the women's group of the Kalbelia community rajasthan. The main occupation of the community is catching snakes and trading snake venom. Hence, the dance movements and the costumes bear resemblance to that of the serpents. Dancers attired in traditional black swirling skirts sway sinuously to the plaintive notes of the 'been' — the wooden instrument of the snake charmers.

Bhavai

Bhavai is an important dance form originated in Rajasthan. Bhavai is partly entertainment and partly a ritual offering to Goddess Amba, the presiding deity of Bhavai. In the courtyard of the Ambaji temple near Mount Abu, the Navratri festival is celebrated with bhavai performances.

Bhavai according to some scholars is made up of two words: bhava means universe and aai is mother; together it means mother of the universe, Amba.

Subtle social criticism laced with pungent humour is the specialty of bhavai. The pompous and incongruous behaviour of high caste people is scoffed at in bhavai. Probably the anger over injustice suffered by the originator of bhavai, Asaita Thakar, permeated the art of bhavai. Some of the bhavai plays present a scathing review of the caste-ridden social structure. People belonging to all levels of social strata are portrayed in bhavai.


West Bengal

Gambhira


The folk dance/theater of Gambhira originated among the Hindu community of Maldah in West Bengal. After Partition of India, Chapai Nawabganj in Rajshahi became the main center of Gambhira. With time, Gambhira has undergone many changes in terms of theme and style of its presentation. Muslims also became the custodian of the dance, and thereby it became an integral part of their culture. May be for that reason the dancer now wears the Lungi. Gambhira comprises a few characters with dialogues in an atmosphere of music, its themes now being contemporary social problems, fakeness and selfishness of people and so on.


Kalikapatadi


The main story of this Bengali dance form is 'how Shiva calms down angry Kali after killing Asura. It is more prevalent in Howrah. Before the coronation of Shiva on Neelpuja Day (Chaitra Sankranti), the performance of this dance is a must. The green leaves of water hyacinth is used to make the hair of Kali and the black ash of Ganja to decorate the body. Clay mask is used for Mahadeva. Palm leaves reddened with Alta is used as the tongue of Kali. Participants go on fast for the whole day. The dance is being performed for nearly five-hundred years.


Nacnī


Female performers who sing and dance professionally in rural areas, accompanied by male ḍhulkī and nagarā drummers.


Alkap


Alkap is a rural performance, popular in many places of Bengal, especially in Rajshahi, Maldah and Murshidabad districts, and the Rajmahal Hills in the state of Jharkhand. This is associated with the Gajan Festival of Shiva around the middle of April. The beginning of this form was in the late nineteenth century. It has no written script, but scenarios based on popular love stories, which the actors elaborate with extreme dialogues, breaking up for songs, dances and comic or satirical sketches called Kap. It is a composite performance comprising acting, dancing, singing and recitation. Each Alkap group consists of ten to twelve dancers, under the leadership of a 'Sorkar' or 'Guru'. The group includes two or three 'Chhokras', one or two lead singers called 'Gayen' or 'Gayok'. Also, there remain 'Dohars', the chorus called 'Gayokdol' and instrumentalists called 'Bajnadars'. Alkap performances take place at night on an open stage.


Domni


Domni belongs to Maldah in West Bengal. A Domni performance starts with a Vandana dedicated to God. Then the 'Mool Gayen' (Lead Character/Protagonist) and 'Chhokras' (Supporting Characters) offer devotional prayers. The dance performances of the Chhokras are called 'Nachari' or 'Lachari'. The main characters are the roles of husbands, wives, mothers, greedy moneylenders, peasant- girls and so on. The plays are composed taking extracts from small events of everyday life and are presented in a satirical manner. The musical instruments are Harmonium, Dholak, Kartal, Flute and so on. Domni groups are found in Maldah. With change on social life and popular taste/culture, this folk form is becoming extinct.