n a country with diverse people who are united by common interests: Cricket, Bollywood, criticizing the government, gossiping and celebrating. Celebration forms a large part of the Indian life, with people from all backgrounds and colors, caste and creeds gathering together to celebrate various phenomena like the harvesting of a certain season’s crop or the coming of spring, winter and other seasons. All these happenings may seem simple, but have been celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm since time unknown, and now they have become festivals. These festivals, while some may be highly traditional, others are extremely modern having water guns (in Holi) but are loved by all and they give everyone an excuse to take a vacation, give a makeover to your home, splurge on all kinds of things, have high calorie food guiltless, dance, drink, pray fervently, and participate in loads of social and highly entertaining activities. So let’s see the top ten most popular festivals:

This one comes as a no-brainer. Earlier mostly celebrated in North India by Hindus to celebrate the return of Lord Ram, the festival now days have crossed all inhibitions with people of all religions taking part in the Diwali celebrations by lighting lamps, firing crackers. Although people of other religions still refrain from praying to Laxmi (Hindu goddess of wealth) they still burst crackers and eat the calorie laden sweets easily available in every nook and corner of India during this time.

It’s the welcoming of the spring, usually around the end of March, which is surely the most colorful festival in the world. Earlier it was played only with natural colors like powder obtained from flowers and turmeric, but nowadays there are all kinds of colors ranging from organic to yucky permanent colors and water guns and Pichkaris available in various colors and materials! Holi has over the years become the symbol of our country in many countries abroad.

It literally means festivity in Arabic, its precise meaning being the festival of generosity. Muslims here celebrate mainly two Eid’s: Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-zuha. Although Eid primarily remains a Muslim festival still it is successful in tempting the foodies of all religions to succumb to its delicious delights of Kheer, sewaiyan and various delicacies prepared of meet.

Raksha Bandhan:
A major North Indian festival, though now celebrated in other parts of India too, thanks to the penetration of Hindi serials and movies, it celebrates the relationship between a brother and the sister, where the brother promises to protect his sister under any circumstance and also gives her a gift. The sister ties a band (Rakhi) on her brother’s wrist as a sign of their love and relation. This festival is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims but it is not refrained only to them.

Karva Chauth:
A festival popularized mainly by Bollywood movies, it signifies and emphasizes the love of a wife for her husband. On this day, the wife keeps a day long fast for her water, and she cannot even have a single drop of water until the full moon is up in the sky and she performs a small pooja, praying for her husband’s long life and then finally breaking her fast, usually with sweets which her husband feeds her.

Celebrated mainly in South India, by the people of Kerala. It commemorates Vishu, and the homecoming of the legendary emperor Mahabali. A major attraction of Onam is the Boat racing where intricately and beautifully decorated snake boats are raced against each other which attracts crowds from near and far alike. The festival proceedings usually last around 10 days.

Durga Pooja:
It’s the most famous festival of West Bengal and other north eastern regions like Assam, lasting nearly 10 days. It marks the victory of goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura. It simply celebrates and promotes the victory of good over evil. The heavily decorated idols of Durga are worth seeing and so are processions that cover the streets of Calcutta.

Republic Day:
Celebrated on the 26th of January, it marks the day our country adopted its Constitution. Marked with a beautiful Independence Day parade at Rashtrapati Bhawan and people of the whole country celebrating unitedly without any discrimination is a reason enough to celebrate this beautiful day when even the skies above are marked with the colors of India.

In the recent years Christmas has entered the list of the most popular festivals in India with people dressed as Santa Claus coming to children school’s and giving them small gifts, and all people keeping huge, and beautiful Christmas trees in their homes and workplaces. The streets in Goa, Kerala, Calcutta and other Christian dominated places are lined with fluffy toys of Santa and reindeers, and with many scrumptious eatables like muffins and dry fruit cakes and pies to mark the birthday of Jesus.

Ganesh Chaturti:
A ten day festival, celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha. It is featured with a grand procession of the elephant-headed god decorated with clothes and gold jewelry, celebrated with a lot of vigor and excitement. It’s a lot of fun and ends with putting the idol of Lord Ganesh in water, and many prayers, and preparing the Ganesh’s favorite delicacy: Laddoos, which Sridevi has made popular in her film, English Vinglish.

Keeping in mind the various festivals celebrated here, one can easily say the people of India are very joyous, and at the same time religious which helps in maintaining the balance of the country, and unifying the citizens.