Culture Note Unit 3

India is a multiethnic, multi-religious society. Hindus make up more than 80% of the population of India. The Hindu population itself is not a monolithic group, there are various ethnicities and language groups among Hindus. This colorful diversity is reflected in the festivals celebrated by different ethnic Hindu groups. Apart from Holi and Diwali, most of the Hindu festivals are more regional and ethnically-based than Pan-Hindu ones.

Rakshabandhan is mainly celebrated in north India. It is a festival of love between brothers and sisters. Sisters tie a sacred thread called “Rakhi” on the wrists of brothers and brothers vow to protect the sisters from any harm.

Durga Puja is one of the biggest Hindu festivals in Bengal and neighboring regions. The festival is marked with the worship of the Goddess Durga. According to the Puranic tale, Goddess Durga defeated the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. The tale symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

The harvest festival in the month of January is celebrated by different Hindu communities with different names. The Tamil community calls the festival Pongal, which is a sweet dish. The festival is marked by eating Pongal. In north India, the same festival is called Makar Sakranti which is marked with ritual bath in rivers and lakes, worshipping, kite flying, and eating “khichdi”, a rice and lentil dish. In Punjab, the harvest festival is called Lohri. The festival is marked with a bonfire, with singing and dancing around it.




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Hindi-Urdu by Sungok Hong, Sunil Kumar Bhatt, Rajiv Ranjan, and Lakhan Gusain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.