Fairs And Festival
The fairs in Gujarat are generally associated with some religious
festival. Most of the fairs in Gujarat are held on riversides (River
Narmada in Baroda and Broach districts) or near confluences of rivers,
sacred ponds and reservoirs or on hillsides, sea shores or in pilgrim
centres, either in Chaitra ( March/ April) or Kartika months on full
Fairs on the full moon days in the month of Chaitra are held at Chandod
and at Karnali in Baroda district and at Shuklatirth in Broach district
in month of Kartika. The fair held on the full moon day of the Kartika
at the confluence of seven rivers near the village Vautha, in the
Ahmedabad district is the most colourful one when people from far
and near collect and have a holy dip in the confluence.
The fair at Shamlaji in the Sabarkantha district is a great occasion
of mirth where Adivasis in thousands gather.
Tarnetar fair in the village of Tarnetar in Surendranagar district
celebrated in the honour of Lord Shiva on the 4th, 5th and 6th days
of the bright half of the month of Bhadrapada ( August/ September)
is also a similar joyous occasion. Muslims have also their fairs,
held at their sacred places.
Madhavrai Fair at Madhavpur near Porbandar is held to celebrate the
marriage by elopement of Lord Krishna and Rukmini, on the 9th day
of the bright half of the month of Chaitra (March/ April).
Ambaji Fair dedicated to Amba, Mother Goddess is held in Banaskantha
district. A big annual fair during Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord
Krishna is celebrated at Dwaraka and Dakor with great enthusiasm.
The Urs at Shah Alam Roza in Ahmedabad and at Miran Datar in the Mehsana
district are most important fairs for them.
Festivals in Gujarat symbolize people's cultural, social and religious
aspirations. They help the people to live a fuller and a better
life, remove monotony and provide healthy recreation. They promote
unity, fellow feeling, self-discipline and austerity.
the entire period between June and October, when most of the countryside
is engaged in agriculture, the festivals are mostly days of austerity,
Penance and fasting. The period includes the Gauri Puja, the Janmashtami,
the Nag Panchami the Paryushan and the Ganesha Chaturthi. Women
mostly celebrate many of Gujarat's festivals. No festival except
the Balev, when Brahmins change their sacred threads, is exclusive
to any particular community or section. Even on the Balev, sisters
tie Rakhi on their brother's wrist wishing them happy life. Gujarat
also celebrates festivals like the Ramnavami, the Sivaratri and
the Mahavir Jayanyti. Young observe Gauri puja, unmarried girls,
who fast and pray for getting 'suitable husbands'. Married women
observe the Savitri Vrata. They worship the banyan tree and offer
their thanks-giving for their happy married life.
Muslims in Gujarat have their festivals, such as the Moharrum,
the prophet's day and the Id days. Similarly, Parsis celebrate their
New Year day Pateti. The Christians observe the Christmas, the New
Year day and Easter.
Navratri, meaning 'nine nights', is an ancient and colourful festival.
It honors the one Divine Shakti or Force, which supports the entire
universe. Shakti is personified as the Mother Goddess. She protects
her worshippers, destroys evil and grants boons to her children.
The Mother Goddess has seven well-known forms, depending upon the
special powers she manifests. Throughout Gujarat, Navaratri is celebrated
with joy and religious fervor.
interesting feature of Navratri is the garba, a circular dance performed
by women around an earthenware pot called a garbo, which is filled
with water. As the dancers whirl around the pot, a singer and a
drummer provide the musical accompaniment. The participants clap
in a steady rhythm.
Another dance which is also a feature of Navratri is the dandia-ras
or 'stick' dance, in which men and women join the dance circle,
holding small polished sticks or dandis. As they whirl to the intoxicating
rhythm of the dance, men and women strike the dandias together,
adding to the joyous atmosphere. So popular are the garba and the
dandia-ras that competitions are held to assess the quality of the
dancing. Prizes are given to those judged to be the best.
The festival ends on the Dussera day, when artisans worship their
instruments, agriculturists their ploughs, warriors their weapons
and students their books. The Navaratri festival is closely followed
by the Sharad Purnima, the full moon night in the Asvina month.
On this day, people partake of Prasad rice and milk under the moon
light. The people of Surat make merry on the Tapi bank.
Gujarat has two temples dedicated to two most popular mother goddesses
of Gujarat, Amba Mata and Becharji Mata. On Kartika and Chaitra
Purnima days and during the Navaratri days, people visit these temples
and enjoy Gujarati's typical folk drama, the Bhavai.
Diwali marks the end of harvesting. It is a four-day festival and
ends and comes at the end of Ashwina.Laxmi Puja is the first day
of the festival. The second day is considered as the day of the
casting off evils. The third day is the main Diwali day. On this
day, every home is illuminated and decorated. The fourth and the
last day is the New Year day for the Gujarati's when people visit
temples in colourful costumes and greet each other. The day following
the New Year day is called the Bhai Duj day when brothers are invited
by their sisters to partake of sweets with them.
The full moon day of the Kartika month, with its preceding eleventh
(Ekadashi) day is called the Dev-Diwali. On this day, the marriage
of the Tulsi plant with the Shaligram, symbolising Lord Vishnu,
is celebrated in every Hindu home in Gujarat. It also marks the
termination of the Chaturmans (fast), observance of four months
of rainy season, during which Hindus, mostly women, miss a meal
on every Ekadashi day and the ascetics do not move about.
International Kite festival
International Kite Festival is celebrated in Ahmedabad on January
14 and coincides with the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti.
On this day, the sun enters the tropic of Cancer. It is a joyous
day, with a bright sun, clear skies and breezes strong enough to
lift innumerable kites. It is in fact a celebration to mark the
end of winter, when the heat of summer is still to come.
Kites are flown all over Gujarat. Ahmedabad and Baroda become cities
of Kite-flyers. Kite flying starts at dawn and continues throughout
the day. Friends, neighbors and total strangers battle one another
for supremacy and cries of triumph rend the air when someone cuts
the line of a rival. A variety of kites is seen and the connoisseur
can choose precisely what he wants. Even the lines with which the
kites are flown are specially prepared by the experts before the
great day. All other work is forgotten and care is thrown to the
Like the Diwali, the spring festival of Holi on the full moon day
in the month of Phalguna has a universal appeal. While Diwali marks
the end of the monsoon and therefore the agricultural season of
the Kharif crop, the Holi festival marks the agricultural season
of the Rabi crop.
Modhera Dance Festival
The ruins of 11th century Sun Temple at Modhera in North Gujarat
are an impressive sight. It stands on a knoll in the village of
Modhera, eighteen miles south of Anhilvad, the former Hindu capital
of Gujarat. Modhera was evidently a site of great importance at
one time. The style in which the temple was built bears a strong
resemblance to that of the Jain temples at Mount Abu. The outer
walls of temple are covered with sculptures in which figures of
Lord Surya are naturally prominent. The idea that inspired the festival
is to present classical dance forms in an atmosphere similar to
that in which these were originally presented.
So successful was the presentation that a decision was taken to
make it an annual event. The dance festival is scheduled to be held
during the third week of January every year, after the festival
Janmashtami at Dwarka
Dwarka, the city of gold is the abode of Shri Krishna. This is how
devotees think of the city where Lord Krishna settled over 5000
years ago after leaving Mathura forever, and where he reigned for
100 years. For pilgrims Dwarka's presiding deity remains Shri Krishna,
and they flock there in thousands from all parts of India and abroad.
Janmashtami is the birthday of Shri Krishna, and is celebrated
with great splendour. Rows of lights are lit everywhere, kirtans
and bhajans are sung, sermons are delivered and Krishna is worshipped
in his infant form.
Thousands of people go to Dwarka to visit the temple and participate
in the fair. After visiting the main temple, the devotees go to
Shankhoddhar Beyt. There are also some other important temples which
can be visited, both old and new.
Info on Fairs and Festivals of Gujarat - India