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Festivals

Fairs and festivals depict the cultural heritage and afford a glimpse of the life of the people. They cover the religious, social and economic field and some of them glorify the change of season. A few of them are held in commemoration of anniversaries of venerated persons. The festivals in Ludhiana have always been celebrated with much exuberance and fanfare. For the masses these festivals are popular occasions for social interaction and enjoyment. The festivals of Ludhiana have one common objective of bringing people together to participate in the happiness of the occasion. The important festivals and fairs celebrated in Ludhiana & Punjab are :

Lohri

Lohri, which comes on the last day of Poh (December-January), is another extremely popular festival. A huge bonfire is made in every house and the fire god is worshipped. This is a special day for making offerings to fire. When fire is lit up in the evening, all the members of family go round it, pour offerings into it, and bow before it in reverence. The first Lohri for a new bride, or a newborn babe, is enthusiastically celebrated, and sweets are distributed. Children visit homes in the neighbourhood and sing songs. Lohri marks the end of the winter season.

Basant Panchami

Being the famous seasonal fair heralds the advent of spring. Yellow mustard flowers all around create an aura of romantic vive infecting the spirit of the Ludhianvis. Deeply merged in heart and soul with the Nature, every Punjabi expresses his gratitude with dance and songs. Basant is celebrated towards the close of winter in the month of January-February. The weather circle seems to be changing otherwise Basant used to bring a message of softness in the weather in place of the hard cold season. Basant is the time when mustard fields are yellow with it the spring is ushered in. Ludhianvis welcome the change and celebrate the day by wearing yellow clothes, holding feasts and by organizing kite flying.

Holi

The most colorful and hilarious of all the festivals, which are celebrated in, Ludhiana is Holi. It is celebrated on the full moon day of Phagun. Holi is a festival of colors. It is spring time in India, flowers and fields are in bloom and the country goes wild with people running on the streets and smearing each other with gulal and coloured water. Originally a festival to celebrate good harvests and fertility of the land, Holi is now a symbolic commemoration of a legend from Hindu Mythology. The people observe this festival almost for a week. Men, women and children take part in it. In the villages the festival does not carry much significance. In towns and cities the festival is quite popular and celebrated enthusiastically.

Baisakhi

Punjab being a predominantly agricultural state that prides itself on its food grain production, it is little wonder that its most significant festival is Baisakhi, which marks the arrival of the harvesting season. For the Sikhs, Baisakhi has a special significance because on this day in 1699, their tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh organized the Order of the Khalsa. Baisakhi is New Year's Day in Punjab. It falls on the month of Vaisakh. The celebrations of Baisakhi are similar to the three-day schedule of the celebrations of other Gurpurabs. It is generally celebrated on 13th April every year.

Janam Ashtami

The festival commemorates the birthday of Lord Krishna. Hindu women keep fast and visit temples, which are specially decorated on the occasion. Women take their meals after midnight-the time of the birth of the Lord.

Dussehra

It is celebrated on the 10th of navratra in Asauj (September-October) in honour of the victory of Rama over Ravana, i.e., victory of virtue over vice. On the occasions, big fairs are held in Jagraon, Khanna, Payal and Raikot. A big mela is held in Ludhiana in Dresi Ground, Model Town Extn, Aggar Nagar, Kitchlu Nagar etc., where the effigies of Ravana and his relations are burnt amidst great public rejoicings. In Ludhiana, the festival wears the colourful garb of Ramlila wherein various incidents from Rama's life are enacted, as is the destruction of Ravana and Bharat Milap, that is the reunion of Ram and his estranged brother Bharat, on the former's return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile

Diwali

The festival of lights is associated with the worship of Goddess Lakshmi and the return of Rama to his capital, Ayodhiya, after his long exile. This festival is celebrated throughout India. Hindus get their houses cleaned and whitewashed as a part of annual campaign of cleanliness on the festival. They light lamps in the night and distribute sweets among relations and friends. On the occasion Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped and the Mahajans start the new financial year.
Sikhs celebrate Dewali like the Hindus. They attach special importance to its on account of another event. The sixth Guru, Hargobind, was released on Dewali day from the Gwalior fort. Instead of Holi they celebrate Hola Mohalla on the day following Holi.

Teej

Teej heralds the onset of Sawan (monsoon), which is essential for the agricultural prosperity of the state. Dressed in all their finery, with mehndi on their hands, the womenfolk converge to welcome the rains and pray for the long life of their husbands. 'Teej' or Teeans, which is celebrated in the month of Sawan (July), is also a source of entertainment for girls. Teej festival starts on the third day of Sawan and continues for about thirteen days. This is a period when rainy season is at its best, having said good-bye to the scorching heat, people are out to enjoy the rains. It is also the time for sowing.

The whole atmosphere is relaxed and people have a sigh of relief. The girls celebrate it by having swings. One sees girls, even today, on the swings all over the villages during the rainy season. They have new clothes, special dishes to eat and special songs for the occasion. This festival has also made inroads into the urban society.

Tika

Tika is celebrated in the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov.) one day after Diwali. Women put a tika of saffron and rice grains on the foreheads of their brothers, to protect them from evil.

Sikh Gurupurabs

In addition to the above festivals, the Sikhs also celebrate Baisakhi, Martyrdoms of Guru Arjun Dev and Guru Teg Bahadur and birthdays of Guru Nanak and Gobind Singh. Guru Arjan Devís martyrdom day is celebrated in the month of May/June, Guru Tegh Bahadurís martyrdom and Guru Nanak Devís birthday in November and Guru Gobind Singhís birthday in December/January. Langar is served on these occasions in gurdwaras. On guru Arjan Devís martyrdom day in May/June sweetened-water with milk (kachi lassi) is served to the people.

Jain Festivals

The most colorful and hilarious of all the festivals, which are celebrated in, Ludhiana is Holi. It is celebrated on the full moon day of Phagun. Holi is a festival of colors. It is spring time in India, flowers and fields are in bloom and the country goes wild with people running on the streets and smearing each other with gulal and coloured water. Originally a festival to celebrate good harvests and fertility of the land, Holi is now a symbolic commemoration of a legend from Hindu Mythology. The people observe this festival almost for a week. Men, women and children take part in it. In the villages the festival does not carry much significance. In towns and cities the festival is quite popular and celebrated enthusiastically.

Muslim festivals

Muhammeden festivals and fairs are Moharram, Bara Wafat, Shab-I-Brat, Ramjan, Id-ul-Fitur and Id-ul-Azha. Moharram is celebrated on the 10th of the month of said name in memory of Hazrat Imam and Hussain, who laid their lives fighting against the tyranny of Yazid. Bara Wafat is celebrated on the 12th day of Rabi-ul-awal. On the birthday of prophet Hazrat Muhammad the teachings of Islam are explained to the people and the holy Koran is recited. On Shab-I-Brat, celebrated with firework, the Muhammadans distribute food among the poor and offer ablutions to their deceased forefathers. Ramzan is the holy month throughout which purificatory fasts are observed. Id-ul-Fitar marks the end of the fasts on termination of Ramzan. Prayers are offered in mosques. People exchange presents and rejoice among friends and relations. Id-ul-Zuha falls on the 9th and 10th Zilhij. People on this occasion go on Haj to Mecca and Madina.