Gujarat’s culture is a fusion of different traditions and religions. Each corner of this state has its own set of festivals and celebrations. Various communities in Gujarat observe numerous local festivities. Some of the most popular and well-known Gujarat festivals are Pithoragarh Gol Vyas, Teej, Kutch Mahotsav, Umiya, Manekchowm Festival, Nartand Yatra, and Raksha Bandhan. The article lists some common Gujarati festivals that every visitor must know about to gain insight into the local culture.
Pithoragarh Gol Vyas
One of the most colourful festivals of Gujarat is Pithoragarh Gol Vyas. This is a three-day festival held in Pithoragarh, a town in the northern part of the state. The festival is held to celebrate a good monsoon and the plentiful harvest due to that. It is also anciently believed that this festival was initiated to ward off evil spirits.
The festival is celebrated on the second day of the bright half of the month of Bhadrapada. The festivities begin with hoisting a large five-coloured flag known as Gomtu. The flag is hoisted on a tall flagpole known as the Gol. The trumpet of drums and many other musical instruments accompanies it. Apart from the flag hoisting, the festival also features other activities including a colourful parade by the locals dressed in traditional attire and locals also make handycraft items like wooden toys, a mela (fair), and a cattle exhibition.
Many communities in Gujarat including the Patan, the Kutch, the Bohra, and the Vadher celebrate the Teej festival. The festival is celebrated to express gratitude towards the monsoon, which is a lifeline for farmers in Gujarat. It is believed that this festival was started by the King of Patan, who used to fast during this time to express gratitude for a good harvest.
The festival is a celebration of the love between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The Teej festival is celebrated on the third or the fourth day of the waxing phase of the moon in August/September. The womenfolk of the state observe a fast for the well- being of their husbands. The celebrations involve colourful gatherings, music and dance performances, and Gujarati poetry competitions.
The Kutch Mahotsav is one of the largest cultural festivals of the state. The festival is held every year in Bhuj, the capital of Kutch. The Kutch Mahotsav was started in 1988 to promote tourism in the region. This festival features various activities such as art and craft exhibitions, literary conferences, dance and music performances, and paragliding.
The Kutch Mahotsav is celebrated for 10 days, with the first day being marked as the Kutch Day. The festival is celebrated with a series of cultural events, such as folk dances and musical performances. During these celebrations, many artists from Kutch and other parts of India participate and showcase their talents.
Umiya is one of the popular festivals of Gujarat, which is celebrated by the Kutchi community. The festival is celebrated to welcome the monsoon and pay gratitude to Lord Indra (Lord of Monsoon). During the celebrations, which are held for seven days, the locals observe fast and pay their respects to the sea. While most people think that the festival is related to the sea, the fact is that it is actually related to the river. It is believed
that this festival was started to express gratitude towards the River Nar, which flows through Kutch. The river was known as the mother river of Kutch and was worshipped as Umiya. The people of Kutch used to celebrate the festival by taking a bath in the river, adorning their houses with mango leaves and flowers, and offering prayers to the river.
Manekchowm is one of the most famous festivals of Gujarat. It is also known as the Manek Chowk Festival and is celebrated in the city of Ahmedabad. The festival is celebrated for nine days and attracts a large number of tourists from different parts of the world.
The festival is celebrated on the 9th day of the month of Shravan (July/August). Manekchowm is celebrated to appreciate the love between Manek and Chowk, two lovers who were the court jesters of the king of Gujarat. The legend says that they were killed by the king and were later turned into snakes by the goddess of snakes, Nagamani. Manekchowm is celebrated with street plays, colourful processions, and jatra (drama).
The Nartand Yatra is a month-long festival that is dedicated to the Narsing Yogis. The festival is celebrated in the city of Veraval, which is home to the Narsing Yogis. The festival is celebrated for 30 days, with the last 7 days being the most important. During these festivities, the Narsing Yogis observe a fast, visit temples, and perform a special puja (prayer). During the festival, a large number of people visit Veraval from different parts of India. The festival is celebrated with a series of colourful celebrations and cultural programmes. A major attraction of the festival is the mela (fair) that is held in the last week of the festival.
Like most of the parts of the world, Rakshabandhan is an important festival in Gujarat. It is celebrated by the people of Gujarat to seek the blessings of the god of protection, Lord Rama and is said to be a holy festival of brother and sister. It is believed that to stop the war between the Mughals and the Rajputs, Rani Karnavati, queen of theRajputs, sent rakhi to the Mughal emperor Humayun and made him her brother. It is observed on the full moon day of the month of Shravan. The festival is celebrated with the traditional tying of a thread known as Rakhi. While tying Rakhi, women pray for the well-being of their brothers and seek protection from evil. This is done with the help of a prayer called a Mantra. Rakshabandhan is celebrated with the exchange of gifts, sweets, laughter and bonding of the family.
Gujarat is a state that is rich in culture and traditions. Each corner of this state has its own set of traditions and celebrations. There are numerous local festivities that are observed by various communities in Gujarat. Some of the most famous Gujarati festivals are Pithoragarh Gol Vyas, Teej, Kutch Mahotsav, Umiya, Manekchowm Festival, Nartand Yatra, and Rakshbandhan. If you want to gain insight into the local culture, then you must know about these popular Gujarati festivals. The festivals listed above will help you to understand the culture of Gujarat better and have an enriching experience while visiting this state.