Maharashtrians are a vibrant, vivacious people for whom life itself
is a celebration. All festivals in Maharashtra are celebrated with
abundant fervour and enthusiasm. The Festivals are a true reflection
of Maharashtrian culture, with all its colourful customs, rituals
and traditions. The song, music and dance that accompany almost
every festive occasion add joy and excitement to the lives of the
people from every walk of life. The festivals are a tribute to
Maharashtra's rich culture and legacy.
Maharashtrian calendar is dotted with festivals all round the
year. The love for celebration is deeply embedded in their culture
and it finds expression through the various occasions.
Deepawali means a row of lights. The most beautiful of all Indian
festivals, Diwali is a celebration of lights. Streets are
illuminated with rows of clay lamps and homes are decorated with
rangoli (coloured powder designs) and
aakash kandils (decorative
lanterns of different shapes and sizes). People rise at dawn,
massage their bodies and hair with scented oil and aromatic
powders-uttana and take a holy bath.
Diwali is celebrated with new clothes, spectacular firecrackers
and a variety of sweets in the company of family and friends.
means the passing of the sun from one Zodiac sign (i.e.
Dhanu)to the other(i.e.Makar). -People exchange greeting
and good wishes on this day. Sweet and crunchy ladoos made
of sesame and jaggery called “TilGul”are the favourite
a festival in the honour of the Snake God Shesha Nag . Snake
worship is an important ritual of the Maharashtrians, and on the
festival of Nag Panchami, clay icons of cobras are venerated in
homes. People offer sweets and milk to the snake deity . Snake
charmers carry cobras in baskets and collect offerings from the
public in the streets. Women apply mehendi on their hands and
the day is celebrated with dances and songs.
– is a victory symbol-characterized by a bamboo stick with
a coloured silk cloth and garlanded with flowers and sweets
Maharashtrians erect gudhis on Padwa, the first day of the
Hindu new year. People welcome the new year by worshipping the
gudhi and distribute prasad comprising tender neem leaves,
gram-pulse and jaggery. Gudhi Padwa signifies the beginning of
a prosperous new year and is considered as a shubh muhurat -
one of the most auspicious days - by Hindus.
harvest festival is celebrated by farmers all over
Maharashtra. It is an important festival of rural
Maharashtra. On this day bullocks, which are an integral
part of the agricultural operations are worshipped. They are
bathed, colourfully decorated and taken out in processions
across the village, accompanied by the music of drumbeats
and lezhim (a musical instrument made of a wooden rod and an
iron chain full of metallic pieces).
full moon day of the month of Shravan is celebrated in
different parts of Maharashtra and is known variously as
Narali Pournima, Shravani Pournima, Rakhi Pournima or
Raksha Bandhan. 'Naral' means 'coconut', and Narali
Pournmia is thus called because offerings of coconuts are
made by people to the sea-god on this day. Narali Pournima
also marks the advent of the new fishing season and
fishermen appease the sea-god before sailing out in their
gaily-decorated boats. The festival is a day of singing
and dancing. Raksha Bandhan is also observed on this day.
Sisters tie 'rakhis' or beautifully decorated threads on
their brothers' wrists. The ritual renews the bond of
affection between siblings and signifies the brother's
responsibility of protecting his sister all her life.
birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated on Gokul Ashtami or
Janmashtami. Most devotees fast till midnight till the
birth of Lord Krishna is announced. Gopal Kala-a
preparation made of flattened rice and curds is prepared
on this day. Another fun-filled ritual performed on this
day is dahi-handi - clay pots filled with curd, puffed
rice and milk are strung high up above the streets and
groups of enthusiastic young men (and even women) form
human pyramids to reach these and break them open, the
way Lord Krishna and his friends would, after sneaking
into the houses of gopis (milkmaids) to steal and eat
Ganesh, the patron deity of Maharashtra, is the God of
wisdom. In August, preparations to celebrate Ganesh
Chaturthi - the auspicious day when Lord Ganesh was
born - begin with great enthusiasm all over the state.
The 11-day festival begins with the installation of
beautifully sculpted Ganesh idols in homes and mandaps
(large tents), colourfully decorated, depicting
religious themes or current events. The Ganesh idols
are worshipped with families and friends. Many
cultural events are organised and people participate
in them with keen interest. After ten exciting days
comes the time to bid farewell to the beloved God.
People take Ganesh idols in procession to the accompaniment
of music and dance for immersion in the sea or
nearby river or lake.
to the great Hindu epic Ramayan, Dussehra is the
day on which Lord Ram killed Ravan, the evil king
of Lanka. It is considered as a shubh-muharat - a
very auspicious day - to start a new venture. It
is a symbol of the victory of good over evil.
People decorate the entrances of their homes with
torans, marigold flower studded strings, and
worship the tools of trade, vehicles, machinery,
weapons and books. As the evening falls, the
villagers cross the border, a ritual known as Simollanghan, and worship the Shami tree. The
leaves of the Apta tree are collected and
exchanged among friends and relatives as gold.
Panchami each year, after a successful winter
harvest, people get ready to welcome the spring
with Holi - the festival of colours. Holi or
bonfires are lit in the night and to worship the
fire-god, who is believed to drive away all
evil. On the next day, people of all ages come
outside and play with each other with coloured
water. Brightly coloured powders are applied on
faces, and there is plenty of music, dance and
sweets to fill the rest of the day.
Festivals of Maharashtra
year, in January, a cultural extravaganza is
Banganga, where top artistes
from around the country perform live
classical music concerts. Cultural
enthusiasts attend the festival and feast
the soul as well as the mind as the sun sets
February Elephanta, a small island near
Mumbai, is a favoured destination for
culture lovers. It is the site of the
Elephanta Festival, the tranquil abode of
Lord Shiva, just one-and-a-half-hour's
journey by motor launch from Mumbai. Every
year, renowned dancers and musicians
perform outside the caves, beneath a
star-studded sky, to a select and
appreciative audience. Special launch
services and catering arrangements are
provided for visitors.
organises the Ellora Festival here in
December, inviting in renowned artistes
who display their virtuosity in music
and dance. Surrounded by 1,400-year old
caves and rock carvings, artists perform
in this magnificent ambience to enchant
the gods, goddesses and human lovers of
art. The Kailash temple, sculptured out
of one huge rock, is one of the most
beautiful backdrops for an event such as