Being an exceptionally sacred land of diversity, festivals are at the core of every individual living in India. India celebrates an array of colorful festivals of vivid culture and religions with great pomp and shows throughout the year. The prosperity and spirituality of Indian festivals are distinctive in its own way.
As we all know India is a democratic country, here festivals of different religions are celebrated harmoniously. The wide list of religious festivals in India reflects its rich culture and traditions. So, don’t miss out these most popular festivals in India for a truly remarkable experience.
To give you a clear vision about all the festivals, we have compiled a list of Top 20 Most popular festivals in India in 2020! So, go ahead, rekindle the bond of love & togetherness and also learn the importance of the biggest festivals in India!
The number of festivals brings out in the land of India. Every Indian feel proud when they grand celebrate their regional or national festivals. The beauty of India is expanded by these most popular festivals in India.
So mark your calendar with upcoming festivals 2020 to celebrate with your friends & family.
List of Top 20 Most Popular Festivals in India 2020
These festivals of India not only add zing to the single life but also manifest the vibrant and dynamic culture of the county.
1. Diwali – known as the ‘Festival of Lights’
Being one of the most important Hindu festivals of India, Diwali is celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. This grand festival of lights is a true symbol of victory of good over evil. People across India eagerly wait throughout the year to experience the exhilarating festive vibes of this grand festival.
They beautify their homes with beautiful diyas, fluorescent lights, lamps, flowers, Ashoka leaves, etc. They also draw beautiful rangoli patterns at the entrance of their homes as a welcome gesture and to attract happiness & positivity on this auspicious day.
Indian People wear new colourful clothes, participate in Lakshmi Puja, burst firecrackers, and share gifts & sweets with their loved ones on Diwali.
- Diwali Date: November 14, 2020.
Importance: Hindu People of India celebrate the pious day of Diwali in honour of the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, after a long exile of 14 years.
When: This festival of lights is celebrated on the Kartik month as per Hindu calendar which comes every year between mid-October and mid-November
Main Attractions: Homes decorated with decorative diyas, candles, lights, clay lamps, brighten shops and markets, and a sky full of vivid fireworks. Lakshmi Puja is performed to bring wealth and prosperity.
2. Dussehra: The Witness of Victory of Good over Evil
Dussehra, the festival that marks the win of good over evil, also holds great importance in the list of top 20 famous festivals of India. This is one of the biggest Indian Festivals aka Vijayadashami and truly a spectacle to behold. It is celebrated on the last day of Navaratri to honour the triumph of Lord Rama over the Ravana.
Do you know Dussehra is celebrated differently state wise? Yes, it’s true, there are various festivals of India state wise differ from each other and, Dussehra is one from that.
This holy festival pays the highest regard to the ideals of Lord Rama, who was an epitome of Lord Vishnu. Dussehra boosts the Holy Spirit in devotees and encourages them to burn inner evil and stick to the path of righteousness.
- Dussehra Date 2020: (Sunday) October 25, 2020.
Importance: Dussehra celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana.
When: It is celebrated PAN India on the tenth day of the Navratris that come in the month of September or October.
Main Attractions: Ramlila Plays (Ramayana scenes enactments) is held PAN India for 10 days during Navratris. It’s concluded with “Ravan Dahan” – the big Dussehra Fairs with the burning of big effigies of Ravana and his brothers Meghnath and Kumbhkaran.
3. Navratri: The Nine Days of Devotion to Maa Ambe
>Navratri is one of the most significant festivals in India. This celebration is commended by all Indians in different manners. As far as, Navratri celebration in Gujarat is concerned, it brings a delightful festivity of nine days.
Right from rocking Garba eves to highly enthusiastic Dandiya Raas moves, you can experience a lot of celebrations in Gujarat during Navratris. The Youthful Dandiya events are being organized, where various people come dressed up in traditional attires and participate in invigorating dance moves.
Navaratri 2020 in India will begin on
- Saturday, 17 October 2020 and ends on
- Sunday, 25 October 2020 Dates may vary.
Importance: It epitomizes the celebration of the nine different forms of Goddess Amba.
When: Navratri is celebrated almost all over the country, especially in Gujarat, Maharashtra etc. The first nine days of the month of Ashwina (Based on the Hindu lunisolar calendar) this comes between September and October as per the Gregorian calendar.
Main Attractions: The Dandiya dance festivities in Gujarat for nine days, the ethereal traditional dresses like Chaniya Choli aka Ghagra Choli, Special Gujarati Delicacies such as Dhoklas, Mandvi Pak, Dudhi no halo, Sabudana Khichdi, Fafda, Singoda ki Kheer etc.
4. Durga Puja: The Celebration of Goodness, Prosperity and Devotion
This is also one of the most important Hindu festivals of India and people from all regions celebrate this grand festival. Especially Durga Puja in Kolkata is celebrated with much fanfare and grandeur by Bengalis. The ten days of elaborated fast, worship of Goddess Durga, delectable feasts are followed by cultural Bengali songs, dramas and Dhunuchi dance (A native dance form of Bengalis).
Anyone can awe with the beauty of Huge Durga idols placed in specially designed biggest and spectacular Pandals. People come wearing traditional dresses and participate in the pandal while praying, hopping and feasting delicious Bengali cuisines.
Durga Puja 2020 in India will begin on
- Thursday, 22 October 2020 and ends on
- Monday, 26 October 2020
Importance: It memorializes Lord Rama’s worship of Maa Durga before heading to war with the Ravana.
When: Celebrated on the tenth day of Ashwin Shukla Paksha (Based on Hindu lunisolar calendar), this comes around September or October (As per Gregorian calendar). So, you must visit during these days to explore the best places in India during Durga Puja celebrations.
Main Attractions: Luxurious and Lit Puja Pandals, Exceptionally beautiful Durga idols, Durga Puja, Dhunuchi dance etc.
5. Holi: The Joyful Festival of Colours
Holi-The joyful festival of colours is one of the most famous Hindu festivals in India. It is celebrated with utmost zeal and love across the country. This festival is also considered as the “festival of love” as on this day Indian people play Holi with everyone forgetting all ill-will against each other.
The Holi celebration is split into two events i.e., for a night and a day. The ritual begins with the name Holika Dahan aka Choti Holi on the Purnima (Full Moon) eve in the Phalgun month. Holika Dahan brings bonfire lighting, singing and dancing all around it.
This evening celebration epitomizes the win of good over evil. The next day comes as the most revered festival ‘Holi’-a day worth rejoicing. Indian people apply wet and dry colours aka ‘abeer’ to each other and show respect & love. So, if you are planning to visit India, do visit in the month of March and be a part of this one of the most popular Festivals in India-Holi.
Holi 2020 in Festival in India will begin
- the evening of Monday, 9 March 2020 and ends
- the evening of Tuesday, 10 March 2020 Dates may vary.
Importance: This traditional Hindu festival signifies the victory of good (Prince Prahlad) over the evil (Holika) as well as welcomes the spring season.
When: Indians celebrate Holi on the Purnima (Full moon) eve in the Phalgun month (Based on the Hindu lunisolar calendar) in the month of March every year.
Main Attractions: This vibrant celebration begins with Holika bonfire and concluded by playing with colors, and thandai (A kind of Almond Milkshake), bhang, sweets etc.
6. Krishna Janmashtami: The Birth of the Mighty Natkhat Bal Gopal
Again this is one of the most important religious festivals of India in 2020. The Janmashtami celebrations in Mathura and Vrindavan are truly a beautiful sight to behold. This special day is celebrated by all the Hindu People by fasting throughout the day. They break their fast with special feasts in the evening. People visit Krishna temples, praying, sings hymns, dance till the birth of Lord Krishna at the midnight.
Even Janmashtami Celebrations in Schools of India are very popular these days. Small children participate in Janmashtami Functions dress up like Lord Krishna and Radha on this day. Krishna Jhanki’s are also being organized in temples displaying Krishna’s life story.
Krishna Janmashtami 2020 Tuesday, 11 August Date may vary.
Importance: Janmashtami is celebrated in India annually to commemorate the birthday of Lord Krishna.
When: Janmashtami celebrates don the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha (Aka Amavasya) of them based on Hindu lunisolar calendar, which comes in between August and September.
Main Attractions: The Janmashtami functions in Schools, Temples & Societies and the Jhaankis of Lord Krishna’s Life Story.
7. Ganesh Chaturthi: Eleven Days affair of Pleasing Lord Ganesha!
Ganesh Chaturthi- This spectacular festival is celebrated to honour the birth of the Hindu God, dear Lord Ganesha. He is always worshipped first for every auspicious occasion as there is a belief that Lord Ganesha removes all obstacles and brings good fortune.
The festival is celebrated everywhere publicly by the people of the Hindu community. The Ganesh Festival in Mumbai and Andhra Pradesh is especially celebrated with great fervour and grandeur.
Big Lord Ganesha’s idols are being placed in outdoor Pandals as well as in homes. Ten days Puja in the morning and in the evening is scheduled to pamper Lord Ganesha. The last day of Ganesh Chaturthi is observed as Ganesha’s Idol Visarjan (Immersion of Idol in Running Water). You can expect crowded streets with boisterous devotees dancing and singing Lord Ganesha bhajans or hymns, chanting ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’ throughout the festival.
Ganesh Chaturthi 2020 Saturday, 22 August.
Importance: It is celebrated in India annually to commemorate the elephant-headed God- Lord Ganesha.
When: On the fourth day of the Shukla Chaturthi (first fortnight) based on Hindu lunisolar calendar somewhere in between August and September
Main attractions: The beautifully crafted huge artistic idols of Lord Ganesha, and the Visarjan on the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi.
8. Raksha Bandhan: The Strengthened Bond of Love between Siblings
The Top 20 Most popular festivals in India also listed this special festival of affection and care. Also known as Rakhi, this festival is celebrated among the Hindu People of India. The day symbolizes the true bonding of love and affection between brothers and sisters.
Wanna know how Is Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) Celebrated in India? Well, on the Raksha Bandhan Day, the sister performs traditional rituals such as Aarti (prayer) of her brother with a thali including Diya.
After then, she applies tilak and ties Rakhi (a sacred thread) on her brother’s wrist. She then wishes him for good fortune and great well-being. In return, brother gifts her chocolates, her favourite things, and shagun as well. He also vows to protect his sister for the lifetime.
Importance: It signifies the strong bond of love between brother and sister.
When: On the Purnima (full moon) of Shravana month (As per Hindu lunisolar calendar), which comes in between August month every year.
Main attractions: The Raksha Bandhan rituals and the brilliantly decked up malls, markets exhibiting a range of colorful rakhis, gifts, sweets, etc.
9. Gurpurab: The Grand Religious Sikh Festival
Guru Nanak Jayanti is also known as Prakash Utsav is a Grand Sikh festival. It is celebrated on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He was the founder of Sikh Religion. Gurpurab is one of the most important Sikh festivals in India. This is celebrated with great grandeur across the country by all the Sikh and Punjabi communities’ people.
On Gurpurab day, Special prayers (aka Path) assemblies are being organized in all Gurudwara’s and langars are also organized. Nagar Kirtan (hymn chanting processions) are held all across the city and Karah Prasad is distributed among all. At night, people decorate their homes with lights, lanterns, candles and burst firecrackers to celebrate this special day.
Importance: This festival is the symbol of the birth anniversary of the Sikh Guru-Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and all other Sikh Gurus.
When: It is celebrated on the Purnima (full moon) in the Kartik Month ( As per Hindu lunisolar calendar), which schedules in between November month every year.
Main attractions: The soulful Nagar Kirtan, Gurbani Path in the Gurdwaras, the Karah Prasad and the Langar.
10. Christmas: The Birthday celebration of Lord Jesus Christ
Christmas is the most awaited festival in India and in the world. This is the celebration that brings excitement in children as well as elders alike. The traditional narrative behind celebrating Christmas is to commemorate the birth anniversary of Lord Jesus Christ on December 25 every year. However, Christmas is the main festival of the Christian religion, though it has universal appeal and celebrated by almost all religions.
This festival is eagerly awaited specifically by the children as they expect surprise gifts from Santa. For Christmas celebrations, all the churches and homes are decorated with Christmas tree and lit up with beautiful candles, led lights, etc and the Christmas carols are sung on Christmas Eve. And this is how Christmas is celebrated around the world in more than 160 countries around the world.
Importance: To mark the birth anniversary of Lord Jesus
Where: You can experience Christmas festival celebrations everywhere in India. The best places to celebrate Christmas in India are Kerala, Goa, and Pondicherry.
Main attractions: Christmas Carols, Santa Claus Gifts, Decorated Christmas trees, prayers to Lord Jesus
11. Eid-al-Fitr: Ramadan Farewell celebrations
Eid al-Fitr is one of the most important festivals of Muslims in India. This festival is celebrated to mark the farewell of Ramadan fasts. Muslim People dress up in traditional attires; attend Eid namaz (special prayer of Muslims) in the morning, visit their loved ones, distribute sweets, gifts, etc. Children receive Eidi (gifts or money) from their elders. Usually, the Eid festival is three days celebration in all Muslim countries, however, the official holiday varies by country to country.
Importance: Eid-al-Fitr is celebrated to bid farewell to the holy month Ramadan.
When: It is celebrated on the first day of the Shawwal month (based on the lunar Hijri calendar), which corresponds in July month.
Main attractions: The exquisitely adorned mosques and markets, the morning namaz at the mosques, and the special dessert sewaiyan (Vermicelli and Milk Porridge).
12. Onam: The homecoming of the Great Mighty Mahabali
Onam holds a specials place among the most important national festivals of India. This festival is considered as the National Festival of Kerala and celebrated by people of all communities with great pomp and show. The Onam festivities last for around 10 days and old and young participate equally with great enthusiasm. People wear traditional clothes, décor their homes with Pookkalam and get ready to relish Onasadya feast.
So, if you are planning to visit India, visit at the time of Onam to experience the fun and frolic of Indian festivals.
Importance: The Onam festival is celebrated to honor the sacrifices of the Great King Mahabali.
When: It is celebrated in the month of Chingam according to the Malayalam calendar, which corresponds between August & September month.
Main attractions: The incredible Vallamkali Boat Race, Pookkalam, grand meal -Onasadya, Onakalikal (kind of game), the enigmatic Kaikottikali dance, and the most awaited event-Elephant procession.
13. Pongal: Welcoming the good harvest with Grand feasts & Artistic Rangolis
One of the most popular festivals in South India, Pongal Festival 2020 is celebrated four-day long. This is considered as the most famous harvest festival of South India. On this day, People wear their traditional clothes and prepare a Pongal dish.
Pongal Festivities include bonfires, cattle races, dancing, Grand feasts, savories and sweets. The houses decor dazzle with Kolam arts, which are traditional floral designs usually patterned with colored powders, rice and flower petals.
Importance: This festival is celebrated with great religious fervor in Tamil Nadu to welcome the good harvesting year
When: This is usually celebrated from January 14 to January 17 and corresponds to Makar Sankranti
Main attractions: The range of unique Kolam designs and exciting cattle races
14. Maha Shivratri: Great Day devoted to Lord Shiva
Maha Shivratri-The The great night dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is one of the most important Hindu festivals of India and holds great devotion among the Lord Shiva devotees. It has great importance in Hindu mythology. On this day, People keep fast, visits temple, perform shivling puja and pray to Lord Shiva. Mahashivratri Celebration in Varanasi is very popular in India. There is a belief that whoever prays to Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri redemption from their sins and attains salvation. It is also believed to the marital bliss for unmarried and married women.
Importance: It is celebrated the as a day of devotion to Lord Shiva for protecting the world as well as the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati.
When: It is celebrated in the Phalgun month on the 14th day of the dark fortnight.
Main attractions: Fasting, traditional Shivalingam Puja, praying Lord Shiva, Delightful delicacies like Sabudana Kheer, Ramdana and Kattu Halwa.
15. Basant Panchami – The Beginning of Spring and Falls
Dedicated to Goddess Saraswati- the deity of knowledge, music, arts, The Basant Panchami festival is celebrated in the months of January or February.
This is considered a very important day for students and scholars and they worship the Goddess of Knowledge. It is widely celebrated in the different states of India- Punjab, Bihar, Haryana, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Rajasthan, etc.
People offer jasmine garlands to the goddess Saraswati on this day, the goddess is dressed in yellow dress and flowers and yellow sweets are also offered to her. All in all, this festival of kites is celebrated with full delight and glee.
Importance: To mark the beginning of auspicious spring and welcome happiness.
When: Celebrated on the 5th day of the month of Magha as per the Hindu calendar.
Main attractions: Yellow-colored attires, Yellow sweets, like saffron sweets, ladoo, kadhi, and rice, Kite flying, etc.
16. Easter: The Celebration of Resurrection of Lord Jesus
An Easter celebration in India is also celebrated just like all other important festivals in India and in the world. Easter festival is celebrated to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the 3rd day after his crucifixion. It is also celebrated with much glee and fervor in many parts of the country. Celebrated during spring month, Easter traditions in India are differentiated by an array of soulful decorations, streets adorned with bright lanterns, plays, dance, Simmel and plum cakes.
Importance: Celebration of the Resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ
Where & When: The Easter festival falls on Full Moon after March 21 every year. Want to visit the best places to celebrate Easter in India? Then plan your visit to Goa, Kerala, and Pondicherry during Easter celebrations.
Main attractions: Modern traditions of Easter are also popular nowadays, as well as traditional Folk dances, songs, chocolates, Easter eggs, cakes, street decorations.
17. Bihu: Celebration of New Year in Assam
Bihu is the most popular harvest festival of Assam. It signifies the beginning of harvest season and arrival of the spring season. During the Bihu’s month-long festivities, young women and men wear their traditional attires and perform the traditional Bihu dance. Community feasts are also being organized with great grandeur during Bihu celebrations in India.
Importance: It’s the celebration dedicated to welcome the traditional new year of the Assamese.
When: This harvest festival is celebrated on 15th April especially in Assam by the Assamese and around the world.
Main attractions: The Bihu dance and the local delicacies – coconut ladoo, ghila pitha, til pitha, and fish pitika
18. Baisakhi: The Rich Traditions and Cultural Prosperity
Baisakhi also ranks a strong position in the list of most popular festivals in India. It is especially celebrated with great fanfare and excitement fanfare by the Sikh people in Punjab and those who live around the world. The Baisakhi festival celebrates along with the farming season when the Rabi crop is all set for harvesting. Being one of the biggest festivals of the Sikhs, Baisakhi is celebrated with great vitality and enthusiasm.
Punjabis perform local folk dances like Bhangra, Giddha to celebrate Baisakhi. The festival is of great religious importance as it held on a very lucky day when Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji (the tenth Guru of Sikhs) laid out the Khalsa Panth Foundation in 1699.
Importance: Welcoming the arrival of the harvest season and celebrating the Khalsa Panth Foundation.
When: The Baisakhi festival falls on April 13 or 14 every year according to the Indian solar calendar.
Main attractions: Folk dance performances such as Giddha & Bhangra, Punjabi cuisines, etc.
19. Makar Sankranti: Hindu’s New Year 2020 (14th Jan, Monday)
Makar Sankranti is celebrated as the Hindu’s New Year in India. However, the cultural significance of Makar Sankranti is different according to different states in India. But, the best place to celebrate Makar Sankranti in India is North Region. It is celebrated just one day next to Lohri Celebrations in Punjab and North India. It is commemorated as the end of the winter season and welcoming the spring.
On this day, people worship to God to seek good blessings for the coming New Year. They fly kites, and having delicious khichdi’ and til laddoo, Moongfali, Gajjaks, etc. ’
Importance: Ending of winters and beginning of harvest year
When: Makar Sankranti according to Hindu calendar is celebrated on 14th January every year after Lohri Celebrations
Main attractions: Kite flying, Til Ladoo, Khichdi, etc.
20. Kumbh Mela – The auspicious Hindu Festival
Kumbh Mela is one of the biggest pilgrimage and festival in Hinduism in India. It held every 3 years in one of the cities in India which are Ujjain, Varanasi, Haridwar, and Allahabad. There is a belief in Hindus that Kumbh Mela is the greatest boon-giver of the lifetime. There is a big hustle-bustle in the city where the Kumbh Mela is held. People from the entire world visit there to bathe in the holy river.
Importance: Do you know Why Kumbh Mela is celebrated? Well, the Kumbh Mela in India has a spiritual experience that brings essence auspiciousness and purity. It commemorates the days when the Hindu Devtas and the Demons produced the nectar of immorality together as depicted by the sages and legends of India.
When: Held annually in the course of every 12 years at the same spots in the month of Magha (As per Hindu calendar)
Main Attractions: Grand Kumbh Mela in Ujjain, Haridwar, Prayag Raj, Varanasi.
The range of important festivals in India brings joy to the entire nation. Hope this list of Top 20 Most popular festivals in India in 2020! Encourage you to travel to different places and be a part of Indian Festival celebrations in 2020. Go ahead, plan your visit trip to India and experience the fun and frolic of Indian festivals at its best!