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  • 13 Dec 2022 GS Paper 1 Indian Heritage & Culture

    Day 30

    Question 1. Discuss the ways of celebration of the New year in various region of India also mention their significance. (250 words) 

    Question 2. Discuss the prominent religious festivals celebrated in India and also mention their significance. (250 words)

    Answer 1


    • Introduce the celebration of new years in various parts of India.
    • Discuss the various ways of celebrating new years in India.
    • Conclude suitably


    Indian society is full of festivals and celebration. The celebration in Indian society is ranging from religious (Holi, Diwali, Eid, etc.), Secular festival (Khajuraho Dance Festival, Teej, Sair-e-Gul-faroshan, etc.) and New Year festivals and so on.


    The new year celebration in different regions of the India is:

    • Vaishakhi:
      • Vaisakhi is the biggest harvest festival celebrated across the entire North India. Vaisakhi holds a special place in the land of five rivers, Punjab. Commemorating the first day of the Vaisakh month, the Sikh community of Punjab also celebrates this day as the formation of the Sikh Khalsa. It is celebrated mainly at the birthplace of the Khalsa and the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
      • It is also pronounced as Vaisakhi, observed by Hindus and Sikhs. It marks the beginning of Hindu Solar New year.
    • Vishu:
      • It is a Hindu festival celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala, Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka, Mahe district of Union Territory of Pondicherry, neighbouring areas of Tamil Nadu and their diaspora communities.
      • The festival marks the first day of Medam, the ninth month in the solar calendar in Kerala.
      • It therefore always falls in the middle of April in the Gregorian calendar on 14th or 15th April every year.
    • Puthandu:
      • Also known as Puthuvarudam or Tamil New Year, is the first day of the year on the Tamil calendar and traditionally celebrated as a festival.
      • The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai.
      • It therefore falls on or about 14th April every year on the Gregorian calendar.
    • Bohag Bihu:
      • Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu also called Xaat Bihu (seven Bihus) is a traditional aboriginal ethnic festival celebrated in the state of Assam and other parts of northeastern India by the indigenous ethnic groups of Assam.
      • It marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year.
      • It usually falls in the 2nd week of April, historically signifying the time of harvest.
    • Naba Barsha:
      • Naba Barsha is the celebration of the new year in West Bengal as per the Bengali Calendar.
      • It is also popularly known as the Poila Baisakh which literally translates to first Baisakhi (a month in the lunisolar calendar of the Bengalis).
        • The people of Bengal come together and celebrate this new year in their own way by making it loud and magical like every other Bengali festival.
      • The festival is celebrated by all castes and religions all across Bengal.
      • After Durga Pooja, this is the second most hyped festival in Bengal, this festival connects the people of Bengal, especially the Bengalis who are originally Hindu.
    • Gudi Padwa and Ugadi
      • These festivals are celebrated by the people in the Deccan region including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
      • The common practice in the celebrations of both the festivals is the festive food that is prepared with a mix of sweet and bitter.
      • A famous concoction served is jaggery (sweet) and neem (bitter), called bevu-bella in the South, signifying that life brings both happiness and sorrows.
      • Gudi is a doll prepared in Maharashtrian homes.
        • A bamboo stick is adorned with green or red brocade to make the gudi. This gudi is placed prominently in the house or outside a window/ door for all to see.
      • For Ugadi, doors in homes are adorned with mango leaf decorations called toranalu or Torana in Kannada.
    • Cheti Chand
      • Sindhis celebrate the new year as Cheti Chand. Chaitra month is called 'Chet' in Sindhi.
      • The day commemorates the birth anniversary of Uderolal/Jhulelal, the patron saint of Sindhis.
    • Navreh
      • It is the lunar new year that is celebrated in Kashmir.
      • It is the Sanskrit word ‘Nav-Varsha’ from where the word ‘Navreh’ has been derived.
        • It falls on the first day of the Chaitra Navratri.
      • On this day, Kashmiri pandits look at a bowl of rice which is considered as a symbol of riches and fertility.


    Festivals and fairs form an intrinsic part of Indian culture being an outpouring medium of our beliefs and emotions. India is a secular country and holidays are declared for a number of festivals belonging to different faith and community. Festivals are inimical to understand the culture of India.

    Answer 2


    • Introduce the religious festivals in India.
    • Discuss a number of prominent religious festivals in India with their significance.
    • Conclude suitably.


    • India is known for its festivals and is known as the land of festivals. The religious festivals in India have very significant weightage in the chain of festivals because of their socio-economic and customary relevance among the societies.
    • Religious festivals are celebrated by those who believe in a particular religion and practice their rituals. Most religious denominations have particular festivals that are vital to their culture. For Example, the Hindu community all over the world celebrates the festival of Diwali.


    • These are the festivals that are celebrated by specific communities but there are no restrictions for people from different religions to enjoy a festival. Several religious festivals celebrated in India divided as per the respective religion.

    Hindu Festivals

    • Diwali or Deepawali: It is more commonly known as the 'Festival of Lights' and falls on the auspicious day of the 'new moon' or Amavasya in the month of Karthik (October or November). It is also called as 'Krishna Chaturdashi'.
      • This day is holy for two reasons: It is the day when Lord Rama came back to Ayodhya from his fourteen-year long exile to the forest. It signifies the victory of light over darkness.
        • During the Puja in the evening, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped, as she is the harbinger of wealth.
    • Holi: It is called the ‘Festival of Colours’. The festival is celebrated in the month of Phalgun and falls during end of February and early March. It also marks the beginning of spring and the end of winter.
      • According to the legend, the Holi is also called 'Holika Dahan' or the day of burning demoness 'Holika'.
      • Another legend attached to the main day of Holi is of the eternal love of Lord Krishna and Radha. The colours and festivity are representative of the 'God of Love' or Kama.
      • In West Bengal and parts of Assam it is called Basant Utsav or Dhol Jatra. Some people also indulge in Bhang or thandai which are made of marijuana or a particular type of weed.
    • Janmashthami: It is the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna and is celebrated across the nation by the Hindu community. It falls in the month of Shravan (July/August).
      • In Maharashtra, this festival is called Dahi-handi and is celebrated by an elaborate manner.
    • Chhath: Chhath is a popular Hindu festival celebrated since the Vedic times. It is dedicated to the Sun God (Surya) who sustains all life on Earth. It is celebrated on the sixth day of the lunar fortnight of Kartik month i.e, six days after Diwali. It is the State festival of Bihar.

    Muslim Festivals

    • Eid-ul-Fitr: The festival falls on the last day of the holy month of Ramadan (Ramzan), which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
      • During the month of Ramadan, people fast for the entire day, beginning from the sunrise to the sunset.
      • This month is also important for the Muslim calendar because historically Prophet Muhammad achieved victory during the Battle of Badr that led to the victory of the city of Mecca.
    • Shab-e-Barat: It is also known as the ‘Night of Emancipation’ and is observed on the night falling between 14th and 15th day of the month of Shaban. The destiny of every person is determined on this night. Imam Muhammad Al-Mahdi, the twelfth imam is credited with ridding the world from oppression and injustice.

    Christian Festivals

    • Christmas: This day is celebrated all across the world as the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ. It falls on the 25th of December every year. People visit the church where several programmes are arranged for the devotees to remember the good work of Christ. People visit each other’s houses and exchange gifts.
      • The two rituals attached to the festival are of the Christmas Tree, which is set in everyone’s house. It is decorated with lamps, lights and holly.
      • The other myth is of Santa Claus who is supposed to be a harbinger of gifts. People sing carols and distribute sweets and cakes on this day.
    • Easter & Good Friday: This is the day celebrated for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, three days after Jesus was crucified, he was resurrected and hence, Easter is supposed to signify the triumph of life over death.
      • The festival of Good Friday is to commemorate the day of crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It falls in the month of April each year. The death of Jesus is considered necessary for his rebirth and hence, it is good sign and gives hope to human beings.

    Jain Festivals

    • Mahavir Jayanti: It is held to celebrate the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira who was the 24th Tirthankara and one of the founders of Jainism. It falls on the thirteenth day of the month of rising moon called Chaitra.
      • The festival is celebrated with great pomp and all the Jain temples are decorated with the saffron flag. The idol of Mahavira is washed with milk and given a ceremonial bath (abhishek). It is then carried in a procession.
    • Varshi Tapa or Akshay Tritiya Tapa: This festival is related with first Jain Tirthankara Rishabhdev who went for a fasting of 13 months and 13 days continuously.
      • His fasting came to an end on 3rd day of the bright fortnight of Vaishakh month of Jain Calendar. People who perform this fasting are known as Varshi tapa.
    • Maun-Agiyara: This occasion is celebrated on 11th day of Magshar month of Jain Calendar (October/November). On this day, complete silence is observed and fasting is kept. Meditation is also performed.
    • Navapad Oli: The nine-day Oli is a period of semi-fasting. During this period, Jains take only one meal a day of very plain food. It comes twice a year during March/April and September/October.

    Sikhs Festivals

    • Gurpurab: It is celebrated for the birth anniversaries of all the 10 Sikh gurus but the most important are the Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh.
    • Parkash Utsav Dasveh Patshah: This festival is celebrated on the birthday of 10th Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. It also means the birth celebration of the 10th Divine Light or divine knowledge.


    The religious festivals in India are full of joy, happiness and optimistic wishes. These festivals also inculcate social values among the generation and bring a healthier and socially praised environment.

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