Fairs and festivals are essential parts of Gujarati culture. All important Indian festivals are held in Ahmedabad with great enthusiasm. The city is known for its diversified culture and celebration of various festivals throughout the year. Uttarayan is a kite flying festival celebrated on January 14 every year. The nine nights of Navaratri are celebrated in a traditional manner with people performing at selected venues. The festive season in Ahmedabad is characterized by joyous environment, colourful dresses, devotion and love for the deities; this is what signifies the charm of festivity among the people of Ahmedabad.
Kite Festivals (Uttarayan)The International Kite Festival is held every year in Ahmedabad on January 14, to coincide with the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. People celebrate Uttarayan with a lot of enthusiasm and all business comes to a grinding halt for a couple of days. It is also a celebration to mark the end of winter. Kite flying starts at dawn and continues without a break throughout the day. A variety of colourful kites are seen flying in the clear skies and great excitement does not end till evening. Participants from different parts of the country and even from abroad bring unusual kites which are truly works of art and creativity.
Navratri is a popular festival in Ahmedabad and is celebrated with great fervor. The festival continues for nine nights, everybody takes part into it with same emphasis. Garba â€“ folk dance of Gujarat is also played with ‘Dandiyas’ (sticks) in hand. Navratri, the festival of nine nights is dedicated to Goddess Durga and her nine forms. According to the Hindu calendar, Navratri begins from the first day of the bright fortnight of Ashwin which usually coincides with the end of the rainy season.
The nine days have great religious significance as Goddess
Durga, the divine mother, had destroyed the evil force (in the form of the demon Mahisashura) during this period.The festival is celebrated with true devotion and purity all over the country. People from various sections of the society irrespective of caste and creed celebrate this festival by visiting temples and offering pujas at the Motherâ€™s feet.
In some places special puja samarohas are also held by setting the images of Mother Durga on beautifully decorated pandals. Temples dedicated to Shakti also make arrangement for pujas and bratas to mark these nine days as true symbols of devotion and adoration towards the divine mother.
The famous Chariot festival (or Rath Yatra) is celebrated in the month of June / July when a big procession is taken out from the Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad to mark the â€œchariot journey of Lord Krishnaâ€ in the city. Amidst the chanting of the sacred and Vedic hymns, the chariot is taken out carrying idols Krishna, Balram and Subhadra.
It is very similar to Jagannath Puri’s Yath Yatra. The procession starts in the morning from the Jagdish Mandir situated in the Jamalpur area of the city. The chariots of Jagannath (incarnation of Lord Krishna), Balram and Subhadra, ornamented with garlands, are taken around the city amidst much pomp and show.
An exciting and unique three-day fair held annually at Tarnetar in Saurashtra, Gujarat. The Tarnetar fair is one of the most colourful events in the state of Gujarat. The fair coincides with the festival at the Trineteshwar temple, celebrating the wedding of the legendary ‘Mahabharata’ (epic) hero, Arjuna with Draupadi. Tarnetar is 198 km from Ahmedabad and 82 km from Rajkot.
Holi celebrates the arrival of spring and death of demoness Holika; it is a celebration of joy and hope. Holi provides a refreshing respite from the mundane norms as people from all walks of life enjoy themselves. Holi continues to be celebrated with great vigour through out the city of Ahmedabad.
All Hindus in Ahmedabad celebrate Deepawali with great enthusiasm. This is a major Hindu festival honouring Mother Lakshmi â€“ the goddess of wealth. Diwali is a holy tradition, not to be put in the shade. It symbolizes the victory of light over darkness; darkness refers to ignorance and light refers to knowledge. Celebrated joyously all over India, it is a festival of wealth and prosperity.
Modhera Dance Festival
The festival is celebrated at Modhera Sun Temple, 60 km south-west of Ahmedabad. This is a three day festival of Indian Classical dance which is unique as compared to other dance festivals in India. It is held in the month of January every year.
The Mahotsava (festival) is organized by Gujaratâ€™s tourism authorities and held every year in the month of February. The festival features folk dancing, music, ballads, poetry, jewellery and regional handicrafts. The fair coincides with the Dhrang Mela, a Shivratri fair at a nearby temple which features acrobatics, camel and bullock cart races, bazaars and cultural programmes.