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Culture and Festivals of Uttranchal

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Uttranchal is vibrant with the celebration of various festivals annually, like Basant Panchami, Harela, Bhitauli, Phooldei, Ganga Dusshera, Batsavitri,  Dikar Puja, Khatarua, Olgi or Ghee Sankranti, Ghuian Ekadashi , Ghughutia and many others. This articles talks about the important ones:

Makar Sankranti (Ghughutia):

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Makar  Sankranti is celebrated exclusively in the state of Uttaranchal where it is locally called Ghughutia. On the day of Uttarayani, the Hindu religious texts say that the zodiac sun sign of ‘Makar’ or Capricon is entered into by the sun which moves away from the zodiac sun sign of the Kark or Cancer. This means that from that very day onwards, the sun has become ‘Uttarayan’ , that is, it has started to move towards the north. This signals the change of season and is a precursor to the advent of the spring season. The migratory birds start returning back to their place of migration. The people celebrate this day by giving out a souo made or rice and pulses called khichdi to the poor. Many men take a holy dip in the rivers as a part of ceremony. There are fairs held all over the stat. These fairs attract visitors from all over India and abroad.

Holi:

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Holi is known as the festival of colours. This festival is celebrated on the the month of Phalguna. This occurs in March in the English calendar. This is the time when all the people drench 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. It is celebrated in all houses, all over the state of Uttaranchal.

Diwali:

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Deepavali or Diwali is known as the Festival of Lights. This festival commemorates the killing of the demon Ravana by the king of Ayodhya, Ram.On returning after his victory, the kind was welcomed with the lighting of crackers and light. In Uttaranchal, this is a major festival celebrated with lamps, crackers and fireworks. It is celebrated on Amavasya or new moon day in Uttaranchal.

Basant Panchami:

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The festival of Basant Panchami is celebrated majorly over the rural parts of Uttaranchal. This festival welcomes the advent of spring and the end of winter. It is celebrated in the Hindu festival of Magh, which occurs towards the end of January and the beginning of February. This festival also coincides with Saraswati Puja. This puja is in honour of the goddess saraswati, who is the patron of learning. People wear yellow and white robes and go to the temples to offer their prayers to the goddess. In the evenings, fairs are held and the people celebrate through song and dance which attracts a lot of crowds.  Phool Dei

Phool Dei is a festival that is celebrated exclusively in the state of Uttranchal. This is held celebrated in the middle of March, sometime around the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra. On this day, young girls celebrate through song and dance and make merry. This festival celebrates the advent of spring. It is celebrated throughout the month in the rural parts of the state.

Olgia or Ghee Sankranti:

Olgia or Ghee Sankranti is a festival that is celebrated exclusively in the state of Uttranchal. This is held celebrated in the middle of August, sometime around the first day of the Hindu month of Bhadro. This festival celebrates the summer harvest which consists of fresh green vegetables and various fruits. The families get together to give each other presents. In the evenings, fairs are held and the people celebrate through song and dance which attracts a lot of crowds.

These festivals bring out the true colour of the state. They portray the diverse culture of Uttaranchal.

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