December festival fun – Here’s what’s happening

christmas-trivandrum

It’s a big month for Christians and Muslims with Christmas and Milad un-Nabi coming up.  It’s also wedding season, so it’s time to get in party mood.  To find out what else is going on around the city and country check out our rundown of festival fun right here.

It’s Shaadee season for the next few months!

You probably already heard the music which means wedding season is in full flow! Demonetisation has hit families hard, but for many the positive alignment of the stars and planets means that the wedding must go ahead.  So listen out for the bands, keep an eye out for white horses and look out for processions of bright lights.  It’s time to eat, drink and dance.

An amazing spectacle, attending a wedding bash is a must.  Weddings aren’t cheap for anyone and the rich really go to town to show off.  One wedding, which caused an uproar just after demonetisation, was estimated to cost about 5bn rupees ( that’s US$74m).  Yes you did read that right.

Hornbill Festival – 1st to the 10th December

Organised by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments of Nagaland, the Hornbill Festival brings together the tribes of Nagaland to a specially designed mela ground where the culture and tradition of the North East can be celebrated.  If you want to go to this year’s festival, you’ll need to get a move on.  To help you decide click here for a rundown of what’s happening at this year’s extravaganza.

International Sand Art Festival – 1st until the 5th December

Another festival where you will have to move quick,because the sands of time are passing at Konark, Odisha, India.  Up to 40 Indian and International sand artists are participating in a competition with prize money of 100,000 INR (in new notes) up for grabs.  Find out more at Odisha Tourism website.

Milad un-Nabi (Id-e-Milad) – 13th December

Mila un Nabi, a gazetted holiday, is the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.  It falls on  the 12th day of Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar.

It’s a  day for remembering the prophets birth, deeds and teaching,  Marches and parades, festive banners and decorations adorn homes and streets, night long prayer meeting and stories and poems about the prophet’s life and teachings we be read.  The tombs, shrines and streets around Old Delhi, Nizamuddin and Mehrauli will be in full festive flow.

Chennai Music & Dance Festival (Margazhi Festival) – 15th December until 15th January

This month long festive hosts hundreds of concerts with thousands of participants in the South Indian city of Chennai.  Celebrating the finest exponents of South Indian music and dance, the festivals draws in Indians from across the world to celebrate the Hindu Gods.

Started in the 1920’s to celebrate the achievements of the Madras Music Academy, and held in the Tamil month of Margazhi, the festival is popularly known as the Margazhi festival.   Find out more, what’s on and when, by following the special pages in the Hindu newspaper.

Poush Mela takes place from the 23rd until the 26th December

Celebrated in Santiniketan, in the Birbhum District of West Bengal, the Poush Mela is an Bengali arts festival that celebrates Bengali music, dance and tribal sports.  There’s also the chance to shop with handicrafts experts from West Bengal and beyond coming to the town

The celebration falls on the 7th day of the Bengali month of Poush every year.  It’ also sees an gathering of Bauls, wandering Bengali folk minstrels who play one string instruments called ekteras.  The festivities start with a firework display on the first evening and then it’s over to the musicians and dancers.  And yes, there’s plenty of chances try that other thing that Bengal is famous for – food and sweets.  Yum.

25th December – Christmas

Christians make up just over 2% of India’s population, but that translates to about 24 million people celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, their saviour, at Christmas.

In Delhi Christians will gather at places of worship including The Cathedral Of The Sacred Heart, a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Connaught Place, the Cathedral Church of Redemption, Connaught Place (also known as the Viceroy’s Church), the Anglican St James Church in Old Delhi (also known as Skinner’s Church), St Stephen’s Church (just off Chandni Chowk) and the Red Brick St Thomas Church, Church Lane, in RK Puram.

Christmas in Kochi – The Cochin (Kochi) Carnival

Inaugurated with the hoisting of the Carnival Flag at Vasco De Gama square, the Cochin Carnival dates all the way back to 1600 when Portuguese colonisers managed the areas lucrative spice trade.  The festive celebrations were not simply a religious affair , but also a chance for the colonisers to show off their wealth to one another with grand parties and displays of pageantry.

The foundations of the modern day carnival are more recent, dating back to 1984. Three young men organised a week-long festival to celebrate the United Nation’s International Youth Year, which included a procession on New Year’s Day to celebrate its conclusion.

Today, a weekof celebrations, which still includes sporting events, sees Elephants dressed in ornamental attire lead a procession of music, dance and floats at a magnificent New Year’s pageant.  On New Years Eve, at the stroke of midnight, a great statue of Papanai, an old man, is set alight to signal the end of one year and the start of another.  Why does it happen?  Who knows, you’ll have to head down to Kochi to find out.

Christmas in Goa

Goa, with its rich Portuguese and European history, also celebrates Christmas in style.  Churches are decorated, Christmas cake with dry fruit and wine can be found everywhere and the celebrations last until to the 6 January, when the Feast of Magi takes place.

Department of Goa Tourist website is a reasonable starting point for a search about what happens and when in the seaside state.

That’s it for this month and this year, come back in January to hear more about festival fun stuff in 2017.  There’s going to be loads to see and do.

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One thought on “December festival fun – Here’s what’s happening

  1. Pingback: What’s on this week? Here’s Your Delhi Diary | Namaste New Delhi

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