Haryana, a state located in the northern region of India, is known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant traditions. One of the most fascinating aspects of this state is its diverse array of festivals, which provide a window into the lives and customs of its people.
From the lively celebrations of harvest festivals to the solemnity of religious observances, Haryana’s festivals are a reflection of its deep-rooted cultural values.
In this article, we will take you on a journey through some of the most significant festivals of Haryana.
Introduction to Festivals of Haryana
Haryana, a state steeped in history and culture, is known for its lively festivities that punctuate the calendar year. These festivals are not just occasions for merrymaking but also hold deep religious, agricultural, and social significance. They provide an insight into the beliefs, values, and way of life of the people of Haryana.
Famous Festivals of Haryana
Here is the list of famous festivals in Haryana:
- Basant Panchami Festival
- Baisakhi Festival
- Diwali Festival
- Gangore Festival
- Gugga Naumi Festival
- Guggapir Festival
- Holi Festival
- Kartik Cultural Festival Haryana
- Kurukshetra Festival
- Lohri Festival
- Mahabharata Festival
- Navratras Festival
- Nirjala Akadshi Festival
- Pinjore Heritage Festival
- Teej Festival
1. Basant Panchami Festival
- Celebrated in Haryana with equal zeal and enthusiasm as the rest of the country, Basant Panchami marks the welcome of the spring season after the dormant winter period.
- The people of Haryana commemorate this joyful festival with great excitement and spirit.
- A prominent highlight of this celebration is the traditional activity of kite flying, adding an extra layer of festivity to the occasion.
2. Baisakhi Festival
- Baisakhi holds immense significance for the Punjabi community in Haryana and is celebrated with exuberant music and dance.
- It occurs annually on the 13th of April, with an exception every 36 years when it falls on the 14th of April.
- On this auspicious day in 1699, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, established the Khalsa.
- Sikhs pay a visit to Gurdwaras, where they listen to Kirtans, devotional songs.
- Following the completion of religious rites and traditions, sweetened semolina is distributed among the masses.
- The festivities culminate in a ‘langar’ or a community lunch.
- The celebration includes mock duels and processions featuring bands playing religious tunes.
- Baisakhi also signifies the last opportunity for relaxation before the commencement of the corn harvesting season.
3. Diwali Festival
- Diwali is commemorated with great zeal in Haryana and is observed throughout the state in the middle of the month of Kartik.
- Preceding the main celebration, ‘Choti Diwali’ or ‘Small Diwali’ kicks off the festivities, characterized by the observance of religious rites and traditions with profound sincerity and devotion.
- As part of a customary practice, vessels containing rice and sugar are prepared, with a paisa placed atop, and distributed to Brahmins and girls. This act is dedicated to the memory of departed ancestors.
- Notably, the affluent and trading classes hold Diwali in special regard, considering it as a festival of particular significance to them.
4. Gangore Festival
- Celebrated on ‘Chet Sudi-3’ or in the months of March/April, the Gangore Festival is a vibrant event in Haryana’s cultural calendar.
- The festival involves a grand procession where towering idols of Gangore and Ishar are carried, accompanied by devotional melodies extolling the Lord, until they are immersed in water.
- Primarily a springtime festival, it is dedicated to honoring the Goddess of abundance, Gauri.
- Unmarried women in households offer worship, seeking a spouse of their own choice, while married women pray for the longevity and well-being of their husbands.
- The Goddess is venerated with fervor over the preceding fortnight, leading up to the grand procession where thousands of participants adorn Goddess Gauri with exquisite dresses and semi-precious jewels.
5. Gugga Naumi Festival
- A distinctive celebration in Haryana, Gugga Naumi is a spiritual festival centered around snake worship.
- Observed in the months of August-September, it holds special significance in the local culture.
- During this festival, people pay homage to Gugga Pir or Zahir Pir, renowned for possessing the ability to heal individuals afflicted by perilous snake bites.
6. Guggapir Festival
- This festival is observed on the day following Janmashtami.
- It is celebrated jointly by both the Hindu and Islamic communities, exemplifying the state of Haryana’s inclusive and secular ethos.
- A lively dance procession is a central feature, with the Panch Pirs taking the lead as the main dancers.
- During the procession, they sing songs in reverence and adoration of Gugga.
7. Holi Festival
- In Haryana, the festival of Holi takes on a unique character and is referred to as ‘Dulandi Holi’, signifying the ‘festival of colors’ with its distinct regional flavor.
- The festive celebrations here redefine fun and frolic in various forms, creating a vibrant atmosphere of joy and camaraderie.
- People engage in exchanging greetings with vibrant colors, contributing to an enhanced sense of unity and happiness among all participants.
- A cherished tradition during Holi celebrations in Haryana is the exuberant practice of breaking pots, observed with great enthusiasm.
- A particularly delightful spectacle is witnessing a human pyramid endeavoring to break a pot of buttermilk placed high above on the street.
8. Kartik Cultural Festival Haryana
- The annual Kartik Cultural Festival is organized in the month of November at Nahar Singh Mahal in Ballabgarh.
- This festival is the collaborative effort of various government bodies and organizations including Haryana Tourism, Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Tourism, Department of Culture, Department of Cultural Affairs (Government of India), Development Commissioners Handlooms and Handicrafts, North Central Cultural Centre, North Zone Cultural Centre, Ballabgarh Development and Beautification Society, and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan.
9. Kurukshetra Festival
- The Kurukshetra Festival aligns with the celebration of Gita Jayanti, which marks the birth of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita.
- The Bhagavad Gita encompasses essential truths and offers profound insights into the way of life.
10. Lohri Festival
- Celebrated in Haryana just before Makar Sankranti, Lohri holds a special place in the hearts of the Punjabi community.
- This auspicious and joyous festival commemorates fertility and the essence of life itself.
- With great devotion, locals observe various religious rites and traditions.
- Gathered around a bonfire, they toss sweets, puffed rice, and popcorn into the flames, symbolizing offerings to the fire god.
- The festivities are marked by singing traditional songs and exchanging warm greetings.
- The first Lohri for a newlywed bride and a newlyborn child holds profound significance in the celebration.
11. Mahabharata Festival
- Held annually at Kurukshetra in Haryana, the Mahabharata Festival is a prominent event in the state’s cultural calendar.
- This festival is celebrated with a plethora of events and festivities, drawing enthusiastic participation from locals and visitors alike.
- It stands as one of the most popular festivals in Haryana, paying homage to the epic tale of Mahabharata.
- Navaratri, also known as Navaratra, is a significant Hindu festival that combines devotion and dance.
- Translating to “nine nights” in Sanskrit, Navaratri spans over a period corresponding to Sarad Masi Aswin in the Hindu lunar calendar.
- This festival holds great importance, lasting for eight days and nine nights. It is divided into sets of three days, each dedicated to worshipping distinct aspects of the supreme goddess or goddesses.
13. Nirjala Akadshi Festival
- This festival holds significant importance in the lives of women in Haryana.
- Celebrated in the month of May/June in the English calendar, it is a crucial event for the community.
- Women partake in various religious rites and rituals, aiming for the well-being of their families.
- They observe a complete fast, abstaining not only from food but also from water throughout the duration of the festival.
14. Pinjore Heritage Festival
- The Pinjore Heritage Festival is an annual event held at the ‘Pinjore Garden” in the month of December.
- This festival is dedicated to promoting the rich cultural heritage of Haryana, deeply rooted in its historical traditions.
15. Teej Festival
- Celebrated on Sawan Sudi, Teej marks the welcome of the monsoon season.
- With the onset of the rainy season, a small insect named Teej emerges from the soil in Haryana.
- On this day, girls are exempted from household chores and engage in adorning their hands and feet with henna.
- They are also gifted new clothes by their parents.
- Early in the morning, a special puja or worship is conducted.
- A ‘baya’, containing various food items, is arranged on a platter at the place of worship.
- A decorated square, known as ‘chowk’, is prepared, with an idol or image of Goddess Parvati installed.
- The evening is dedicated to various cultural performances, providing a festive atmosphere.
The festivals of Haryana are a testament to the state’s cultural richness and the deep-rooted traditions of its people. Each festival carries its own unique significance, whether it be celebrating the harvest, welcoming the monsoon, or paying homage to revered deities.
These celebrations not only bind communities together but also provide a glimpse into the heart and soul of this fascinating state.
So, if you find yourself in Haryana during one of these festivals, don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the colors, flavors, and traditions that make these celebrations truly special.