The largest country in the subcontinent, India is home to some of the most colorful cultural festivals the world has the pleasure of witnessing. Grounded in its rich history, the festivals date back to the origin of the country and most have a deep religious significance as well. Read on to find out the best cultural festivals you must experience when in India:

1. Holi 

An appreciation of colors, Holi is a beautiful festival that acknowledges the arrival of spring and the celebration of all things good and pure. It represents the core of the Indian culture, which is vibrancy and authenticity. Conducting the festival is very simple. All you need is water and powdered colors and lots and lots of enthusiasm. When the month of March arrives, families start planning huge gatherings and start preparing the bonfire that honors the killing of Holika – a demoness in Hindu scriptures, who was burnt to death with the help of god Vishnu. The next morning the joy is celebrated using colors and water.

2. Diwali

A festival of lights, Diwali is one of the most popular celebrations known around the world. It goes beyond regions and boundaries and brings together communities to remember the homecoming of the famous Lord Ram. Taking place between the month of October and November, houses are decorated with full zest and zeal. Using lights, colorful strings, diyas, and rangolis, every building in the country is a wondrous sight. On the last day of the 5-day festival, people gather around to worship the Goddess Laxmi (bringer of wealth) and end the festival on a positive note.

3. Maha Shivratri

The majority population in India follows the Hindu religion, which is why the Maha Shivratri has become a famous cultural festival in the region. This celebration of love, of existence, and of sacrifice is observed on the 14th and 15th day of the month of February. It is believed that the famous Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on this day and began a beautiful journey together. During the day, devotees fast and spend most hours in meditation. You can hear prayer chants coming from temples and other places of worship. At night, celebrations range from singing and dancing to eating and storytelling.

4. Durga Puja

Image Source: The Guardian

Stretching over nine days, Durga Puja is a celebration of the return of Goddess Kali to her home. People come out on the streets and raise chants in the Hindi scripture. The roads are laden with food and drinks. At night, relatives gather around in one house and sing and dance. People wear bright colored clothes and jewelry to express their happiness. Old stories are retold to children so that they understand their religious and cultural history.