National Festivals in India: Culture, Values and Heritage

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India is a land of festivals, with a rich and diverse culture that is celebrated throughout the year. Every month there is a major festival where people of all religions and backgrounds come together to celebrate. These festivals are a time of joy, happiness, and unity.

National festivals

There are three national holidays in India: Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. These festivals are celebrated by all Indians, irrespective of their religion, caste or creed.

Republic Day

Republic Day (गणतंत्र दिवस) is celebrated on 26 January to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India. On this day, Indians celebrate their freedom and democracy. To read about India’s Republic Day in detail click HERE.


Independence Day

Independence Day (स्वतंत्रता दिवस) is celebrated on 15 August to commemorate India’s independence from British rule. On this day, Indians celebrate their freedom and the sacrifices made by their forefathers. More about Independence Day click HERE.

Gandhi Jayanti

This day is celebrated on 2 October to commemorate the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation. On this day, Indians celebrate Gandhi’s principles of non-violence and peace.

Indian festivals

India is a land of festivals, with a rich and diverse culture that is celebrated throughout the year. Every month there is a major festival that people of all religions and backgrounds come together to celebrate. Some of these festivals are:


Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights and one of the most popular festivals in India. It is celebrated on the darkest night of the Hindu lunar month of Kartika, which usually falls in October or November. Diwali is a time for families and friends to come together and celebrate the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated in honor of Lord Ram who after his victory over the demon king Ravana enters Ayodhyaya his kingdom people welcome Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana and the entire city erupts in joy and celebrations. To know more about Diwali or Deepawali click HERE.


Holi is the Hindu festival of colors and one of the most joyous festivals in India. It is celebrated on the last full moon night of the Hindu lunar month of Phalguna, which usually falls in February or March. Holi is a time to let loose and have fun. Holi is also associated with Lord Krishna and his gopies.  On this day, the Lathmar Holi festival is celebrated in Vrindavan which is a unique and colorful celebration of the festival of Holi. It is celebrated in the twin towns of Barsana and Nandgaon, which are associated with the Hindu deities Krishna and Radha, respectively.



Dussehra is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated on the tenth day of the Hindu lunar month Ashwin, which usually falls in September or October.  Dussehra is celebrated in different ways across India, but it is most commonly associated with the burning of effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Meghnad, which represent evil. This symbolizes the triumph of good over evil


Eid-ul-Fitr is the Muslim festival that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It is celebrated on the first day of the Islamic month of Shavwal. Eid-ul-Fitr is a festival for Muslims to celebrate with their families and friends.


Christmas is the Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on 25 December. Christmas is a time for Christians to celebrate the birth of their Saviour and spend time with their loved ones.

Some other important festivals

In addition to the vibrant and diverse festivals already mentioned, India has a variety of cultural festivals that are celebrated throughout the year. These festivals reflect the country’s deep-rooted traditions and spiritual diversity and offer a fascinating insight into the country’s cultural mosaic.


Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti, often celebrated in January, marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn. It is the time when colorful kites take to the sky, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness. This festival is celebrated mainly in the northern states of India.


Pongal, celebrated mainly in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, is a festival to celebrate the rich harvest. Families come together to cook a special dish of rice and lentils and thank the sun god for agricultural prosperity.

Basant Panchami

Basant Panchami heralds the arrival of spring in India and is usually celebrated in February. It is a tribute to Goddess Saraswati, the patroness of knowledge, art, and music. People adorn themselves with yellow robes and take part in cultural activities and prayers.

Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri, the festival in honor of Lord Shiva, falls in either February or March. Devotees fast, meditate, and hold all-night vigils in Shiva temples to attain blessings and spiritual enlightenment.


Baisakhi is a joyous harvest festival in the northern regions, especially Punjab. It marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year and is celebrated with lively processions, traditional dances such as the bhangra, and feasts.


Onam celebrated only in the southern state of Kerala, is a ten-day festival commemorating the mythical King Mahabali. It includes grand feasts, snake boat races, and colorful flower carpets called ‘pookalam’

Durga Puja

Durga Puja, celebrated mainly in West Bengal, is a grand tribute to Goddess Durga. Ornate idols are made and the city comes alive during this time with processions, dance, and music.

Chhath puja

Known in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Chhath Puja is dedicated to the sun god Surya. Devotees gather on riverbanks to offer prayers, sing devotional songs, and make offerings to the setting sun.

Guru Nanak Jayanti

Guru Nanak Jayanti, the festival commemorating the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, is an important festival for the Sikhs. It is marked by prayers, the recitation of hymns, and community service.

These and many other festivals exemplify the cultural diversity and spiritual fervor that is India. Each festival is a living tapestry of traditions, rituals and joyous moments that bring people together in a spirit of unity and togetherness.

Indian Culture

Indian culture is a rich and diverse fabric woven over centuries. It is a culture influenced by a variety of religions, languages and traditions. Some of the most important elements of Indian culture are:

Family values

Indian culture is a multi-layered mosaic that reflects the fusion of various religious, linguistic, and traditional influences that have evolved over the millennia. At its core, Indian culture places an unwavering emphasis on family values. The family is considered the cornerstone of society, and the bonds between its members are revered and deeply valued. This strong family bond fosters a sense of unity and support that spans generations.

Respect for elders

Respect for elders is a cornerstone of Native American culture. Elders are not only revered for their wisdom and experience but are also the keepers of family traditions and values. This reverence for elders underscores the importance of maintaining ancient customs and passing them on to future generations.


Hospitality is another hallmark of Indian culture. Guests are considered a blessing, and hosts go to great lengths to make them feel welcome and comfortable. Offering food and lodging to guests is a cherished tradition that symbolizes warmth and goodwill.


Spirituality is deeply rooted in the Indian way of life. The country is a melting pot of religions where people of different faiths live together in harmony. Spirituality permeates daily life, with rituals, prayers, and festivals playing a central role in connecting individuals with their inner selves and the divine.

Tolerance and diversity

Tolerance and diversity are essential aspects of Indian culture. The enormous diversity of languages, religions, and customs of the country is celebrated and embraced. The spirit of tolerance enables people from different backgrounds to live together peacefully and fosters a unique blend of cultural exchange that makes India a vibrant and inclusive society.

Indian Heritage

India’s rich heritage

India’s ancient heritage is reflected in its art, architecture, music, dance and cuisine. The Taj Mahal, the Red Fort, the Hawa Mahal, the Golden Temple, the Sun Temple of Konark, the caves of Ellora and Ajanta, and the temples of Khajuraho are cultural assets that offer a captivating glimpse into India’s rich and enduring history. These cultural properties showcase India’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and attract visitors from around the world to admire their beauty and historical significance. Below are brief descriptions of each heritage site:

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal in Agra is an incomparable masterpiece of Mughal architecture and a symbol of eternal love. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The gleaming white marble facade and intricately designed interiors are simply breathtaking. The Taj Mahal is an enduring testament to the power of love and the brilliance of human craftsmanship.

The Red Fort

The Red Fort in Delhi, a World Heritage Site ( UNESCO ), is an imposing fortress that once served as the main residence of the Mughal emperors. The red sandstone walls, ornate carvings, and spacious courtyards testify to the grandeur of Mughal rule in India. The fort is a symbol of India’s rich history and the struggle for independence.

The Hawa Mahal

This impressive pink sandstone structure in Jaipur, also known as the “Palace of the Winds,” is an architectural marvel. With its ornate windows, it allowed royal women to observe street festivals while remaining inaccessible to the public. The unique design and historical significance of the Hawa Mahal make it a must-see attraction in Rajasthan.

The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple in Amritsar is the holiest shrine of Sikhism. Its gleaming, gilded exterior, tranquil sarovar (water pool), and the soothing sound of hymns create an atmosphere of unparalleled spirituality. Visitors of all backgrounds are welcomed here with open arms, reflecting the Sikh values of inclusivity and equality.

The sun temple of Konark

The Sun Temple of Konark in Odisha is a fascinating testimony to ancient Indian architecture. It is shaped like a colossal chariot with intricately carved stone wheels and is dedicated to the sun god Surya. The architecture of the temple is not only a visual marvel, but also a celestial representation of the sun’s journey.

The Ellora Caves

The Ellora Caves in Maharashtra is a complex of rock-cut cave temples that represent a unique fusion of Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist architecture. Carved out of the rock, the caves house exquisite sculptures, monolithic pillars, and ornate frescoes that tell stories of faith and devotion over centuries.

The Ajanta Caves

The Ajanta Caves near Ellora are another group of rock-cut caves known for their ancient Buddhist art and murals. These 30 caves, hidden deep in a horseshoe-shaped gorge, reveal the artistic achievements of ancient India and provide a glimpse into the life and teachings of the Buddha.

The Khajuraho Temples

Located in the heart of Madhya Pradesh, the Khajuraho Temples are famous for the erotic sculptures that adorn these temples built by the Chandela dynasty. These intricately carved representations are part of a larger ensemble of temples known for their architectural and artistic brilliance, depicting various aspects of life in medieval India.

Unity in diversity

India is a country of great diversity where people of different religions, languages, and cultures live together in harmony. This diversity is one of India’s greatest strengths and is reflected in its national festivals and cultural celebrations. On national holidays, Indians from all walks of life come together to celebrate their common identity as Indians. These festivals promote unity and understanding between people of different religions and backgrounds.

In Closing

National festivals are an important part of Indian culture. They are an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate their common heritage. National festivals also promote unity and understanding between people of different religions and backgrounds. India is a truly unique country with a rich culture and heritage. Its national festivals are a reflection of this diversity and unity. In summary, Indian culture is a tapestry woven of family values, respect for elders, hospitality, spirituality, and deep respect for diversity. These elements form the foundation of an ancient and ever-evolving culture that offers a unique and enriching experience to those who explore its depths.