Pune Fairs and Festivals
One can get to see the true culture of Pune through the numerous fairs and festivals celebrated in the city. Most of the fairs festivals of Pune are also celebrated in the other states of India. However, some are exclusive to the state of Maharashtra only. For example, Diwali is celebrated throughout the country, but Gudhi Padwa is celebrated only in Maharashtra. Read on further to know more about the festivals and fairs of Puna, India.
One of the major fairs and festivals of Pune, Dussehra is celebrated in the month of October-November. The festival is celebrated throughout the country and marks the victory of good over evil. It is said that it was on this day that Lord Rama annihilated Ravana and rescued Sita from his captivity.
The festival of Diwali, or Deepawali, is celebrated in the month of October-November. It is believed that on this day, Lord Rama came back to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after undergoing an exile of 14 years. People celebrate this festival by cleaning up their homes and decorating them. They also pray to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi to bless them with prosperity.
The festival of Deep Dewali is held in the honor of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankar. On this day, Lord Mahavira attained Nirvana i.e., he achieved liberation from the cycle of life and death.
One of the most revered festivals of Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi is held in the honor of Lord Ganesha. The festival lasts for a period of ten days and is celebrated with great pomp and show throughout the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. On the tenth and final day, the idols of Lord Ganesha are immersed in water, marking the culmination of the festival.
Gudhi Padwa is a festival of Maharashtra and falls on the first day of Chaitra (March-April). It marks the beginning of the Marathi New Year and is considered as very auspicious by the Maharashtrians. On this day, people decorate the facade of their homes with multi-colored gudhis (bamboo staff tied with colorful silk cloth). On top of the gudhis, a garlanded kalash (goblet) is kept, which marks victory or achievement. Neem stalks, representing sad as well as happy times, are also tied to the gudhis.
The festival of Holi marks the beginning of the spring season. It falls in the month of March and is celebrated with colors. On this day, people apply color to each other and play with water. In some areas, huge bonfires are also lit on the eve of Holi, symbolizing the destruction of evil.
The festival of Janmashtami is celebrated as a commemoration of the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. The festival is also celebrated with great enthusiasm in the city of Pune. On this day, people enact scenes from the life of Krishna, especially His Raslila and His attempt to steal butter and curd from earthen pots.
Mahashivratri is the festival dedicated to Lord Shiva and is celebrated in the Hindu month of Magha.
The festival of Navratri is celebrated twice a year, in March-April and in September-October. The festival lasts for nine days and is celebrated throughout the country. It is dedicated to Goddess Durga and is considered to be the most auspicious period by the Hindus.
Nag Panchami is the day when people worship snakes, known as Nags, and offer them milk. The festival falls on the fifth day of the bright half of Shravan.
Raksha Bandhan celebrates the bond of love that is shared by a brother and sister. On this day, the sister ties a rakhi (a thread or bracelet) on the wrist of her brother. The brother, in return, gives a gift to her and promises to protect her from all the evils of life.
The festival of Ratha Saptami is dedicated to the Sun God. It is celebrated on the seventh day of the bright half of the Hindu month of Magh. The day starts with a bath in the river before dawn. Thereafter, people worship the Sun God in their own courtyard.