One thing we are all known to do around the New Year is rush to the calendar to mark the festivals and calculate the number of long weekends we have. More the number of long weekends, more the enthusiasm to plan those retreats with the ones we love.
Look no further, for we have listed below all the happening places around the festivities for your perfect weekend getaway with all the festivals in 2020.
February (Maha Shivaratri)
No celebration of Maha Shivaratri is complete without a reference to the temple of Bhootnath. Located in the Mandi region of Himachal Pradesh, it hosts one of the biggest celebrations of Shivaratri and has been doing so for the past 500 years, as a part of the royal family tradition.
The most colourful and contagious festival to ever be celebrated across the world, Holi is one of the biggest festivals in the city of Jaipur. The festival commences with delightfully and elaborately coloured animal parade – camels, elephants – and folk dancing on the streets.
April (Ram Navami; Good Friday)
The birth of Rama is one of the three biggest events in Shirdi, thus bringing two much-loved deities together. The event is held for 3 days with much enthusiasm throughout the city.
Having a significant Christian population, Kerala has safeguarded the tradition and practices behind Good Friday for generations. Known as Dukha Velli, the day sees Keralites drinking kaipuneeru made of the juice of panal tree leaves and vinegar.
May (Labour Day; Buddha Purnima; Eid)
While Labour Day is observed equally all around the globe, perhaps you could celebrate it with a refreshing retreat to one of the North-Eastern states of India, Sikkim.
Buddha Purnima, the birth of Buddha is celebrated with much pomp and merriment in Ladakh. The celebration starts with the lighting of a traditional lamp, following which the people take part in a procession called ‘Bhumskor’, carrying the religious book of Tripitaka, and the different Jankis that sheds light on the life of Buddha after achieving enlightenment.
Eid, or Eid-ul-Fitr, translated to ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’, is celebrated by the Muslim community in culmination of the month-long fasting they observe during Ramzan. There is no better location to observe a community bonding than at the symbol of love, the Taj Mahal. Thousands gather on the morning of and offer prayers, with the entire area overflowing with love and brotherhood.
June (Rath Yatra)
There is no better festival to witness than the awe-inspiring Rath Yatra held every year in Puri. Also called the Festival of Chariots, observe the massive crowd pulling the rath of Lord Jagannatha and his siblings, Balabadhra and Subhadra. The rath is ornately decorated with various colours, flags and other embellishments.
August (Raksha Bandhan; Onam)
Everybody knows Raksha Bandhan: the festival celebrating the beautiful bond between a brother and sister. This time around, strengthen that bond by partaking in some adventure sports from around the country! Try rock climbing in Mussorie, or mountain biking in Sikkim; the nation is your oyster!
Onam is the annual harvest festival of Kerala, celebrated throughout the state. Referred to as Thiruvonam, it is a day of great festivity marked by boat races, dancing, martial arts and devoted worship.
October (Gandhi Jayanti; Id-e-Milad)
Gandhi is the epitome of peace and non-violence, garnering international honor for the same. What better way to pay tribute to the Father of the Nation than by visiting Dharamshala, the holy residence of the Dalai Lama, the religious head of Buddhism.
Id-e-Milad, or Milad-un-Nabi, is the celebration of the birth of Prophet Mohammad. The Muslim community marks this day by offering prayer in the nearby mosques, and by cooking the sweet dish Seviyan. One of the best places to observe this festival is Hazratbal in Srinagar, within which resided the holy relic of Prophet Muhammad.
November (Guru Nanak Gurpurab)
Gurpurab is the festival commemorating the birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikkhism. The celebration consists of the five beloved ones, the panj pyare, carrying the Sikh flags and the Guru Granth Sahib on a palanquin, with people singing hymns and the teachings of the Guru; it is energetic and respectful. This festival is best experienced in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
While Christmas, celebrating the birth of Christ, is a Christian festival, people from every religion have embraced the festival with much enthusiasm. There is no better place to be around Christmas than in the state of Goa, a state known for faith and merriment on an equal footing.
We can’t wait to host you at one of your long weekend getaways in 2020!