Culture and Festivals of Gujarat
Gujarat celebrates a multitude of festivals in tune with the various cultures. This article lists some of them.
International Kite Festival:
The International Kite Festival is celebrated in Gujarat every year. It is held on 14th January. It coincides with Makar San kranti or the festival of Uttarayan. The festival celebrates the end of winter. To celebrate, kites are flown all over places in Gujarat, especially in the major cities of Ahmedabad and Baroda. This festival also marks the passage of the sun into the northern hemisphere. The days grow longer and the nights grow shorter. The people pray and fast and offer alms at the temples to the poor. People battle with kites for supremacy of the skies and cut each other’s kites. The thread used to fly these kites is prepared by experts specially to cut other kites. Strong mixtures of ground glass and glue are used to smear over the thread. It is then dried and then rolled onto firkees, or reels. Tukkals or box kites are flown in the skies at night. The International Kite Festival has made Gujarat famous in the world.
Modhera Dance Festival:
The Modhera Dance Festival is celebrated in the state of Gujarat annually. It is generally celebrated in the third week of January every year. It is held right after the festival of Uttarayan. This festival always celebrated at the Sun Temple which is located in Modhera. The celebration of this festival was initiated by the Department of Culture, Gujarat to generate tourist revenue. The annual festival that is held here at the Sun Temple of Indian classical dances was initiated by the West Zone Cultural of the Temple.
The Kutch Mahotsava Festival is celebrated in the state of Gujarat annually. It is generally celebrated in February and March each year. The celebration of this festival was initiated by the Department of Culture, Gujarat to generate tourist revenue. It is celebrated in Kutch. The tour of this festival is called mahotsava as it has a number of great sights and experiences for the visitors. This mahotsav celebrates the native arts and crafts of Gujarat, especially Kutch.
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Bhavnath Mahadev Fair:
The Bhavnath Mahadev Fair is celebrated in the state of Gujarat annually. It is generally celebrated for over five days. It is held the month of February during Mahashivratri. This fair is located in Junagadh, at the foot of Girnar hill, in the Bhavnath Mahadev Temple. The puja of Lord Shiva is celebrated on the 14th day of the amavasya half of the Hindu month of Mag. The puja is done at midnight. During the puja, the naked sages or naga bavas ride elephants and travel to the fair blowing conch shells. The god Shiva is believed to visit the shrine on this occasion. There are stalls at the fair selling the native arts and crafts of Gujarat.
Holi is celebrated in the state of Gujarat annually. It is known as the festival of colors. This is the time when all the natives play with colour and drenches one other with paint and coloured water. The use of multiple colours in this festival stands for the oncoming of a good and bountiful spring harvest.
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Balev or Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in the state of Gujarat annually. It is known as the festival of brotherhood. On this day, the sisters tie rachis or protection bands on the wrists of the brothers.
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