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Punjab and Haryana Fairs and Festivals
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Punjab and Haryana Fairs and Festivals

Punjab has always been known and identified as a land of celebrations. Similarly Haryana, once part of Punjab, has also undertaken the same characteristics. Festivals in Punjab and Haryana have always been celebrated with much fanfare. These festivals are popular occasions for social gathering and enjoyment. Some of the festivals which are celebrated in Punjab and Haryana are Baisakhi, Guruparb, Lohri, Holla Mohalla, Tika, Teej, Sanjhi and Gita Jayanti. Many other festivals like Basant Panchmi, Karva Chauth, Holi, Diwali and Dussehra are also celebrated with great joy.


The most important festival which is celebrated in Punjab is Baisakhi, which marks the arrival of the harvesting season. The word Baisakhi is derived from the month of Vaisakha (April-May) in which the festival is celebrated. This festival is celebrated on the 13th April every year, a time when the farmer returns home with his bumper crop, the fruit of his whole year’s hard labour. The people of Punjab attired in their best clothes perform the Bhangra dance to express their joy. The dancers and drummers challenge each other to continue the dance. The scenes of sowing, harvesting, winnowing and gathering of crops are expressed through

zestful movements of the body with the accompaniment of ballads. 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. On this day he administered amrit (nectar) to his first batch of five disciples making them Singhs, a martial community. Fairs are organized at various places in Punjab, where besides other recreational activities, wrestling bouts are also held. The festival is celebrated with great fun at Talwandi Sabo, where Guru Gobind Singh stayed for nine months and completed the recompilation of the Guru Granth Sahib. Baisakhi is also celebrated with great fun in Haryana. It marks the end of religious austerity of nine holy days of fasting. The people take a bath in the nearby river, canal, tank or well and then go to temples or gurudwaras and offer prayers, followed by song and dance.


The Gurparb festival is celebrated by the Sikhs to commemorate their gurus. Two major Guruparbs are held during the year. The first Guruparb is held in the month of November to celebrate the teachings of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, and the second in the month of January to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Govind Singhji. On the Guruparb, the Granth Sahib is taken out in a procession through the streets of all the cities, the prayers are offered at the gurudwaras, and prasada is distributed to the devotees. For two days and nights, the Granth Sahib and the Japji Sahib are recited continuously from beginning to the end and religious discourses are also held. The second Guruparb is also celebrated with great zeal and fervour by the Sikh community, especially at Patna Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh. The martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev and Guru Teg Bahadur are also observed as Guruparbs. Langars (free meals) are served to all without distinction of caste or creed.

Holla Mohalla
Holla Mohalla

The Holla Mohalla is observed by the Sikh community, one day after the Holi. Thousands of Sikh devotees gather at the Anandpur Sahib, where Guru Gobind Singh was baptized to participate in the grand fair of Holla Mohalla. The whole place wears a festive look, the processions take place and the people also take part in the festivities with zealous fervour. The event concludes with a long, military-style procession near Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, one of the five seats of temporal authority of the Sikhs.


Tika is celebrated in the month of Kartik (Oct-Nov) on the day following Diwali. Tika is celebrated both in Punjab and Haryana. The women put a tika of saffron and rice grains on the foreheads of their brothers, to protect them from evil. They dress up in finery to perform the ceremony. They feed their brothers with sweets and also sing and pray for their longevity and prosperity. The brothers in turn gave them some gifts or money as a token of their affection.


The Lohri festival is celebrated both in Punjab and Haryana. It is one of the most popular harvest festivals of Punjab. This harvest festival is celebrated in the month of January and marks the end of the winter season. This harvest festival is celebrated to mark both celebration and sharing. In January, when the fields open up with the golden harvest, the farmers celebrate the festival before the cutting and gathering of crops. The purpose of the Lohri festival is to thank the God for his care and protection. On this occasion, children go from home to home, singing popular Lohri folk songs and people oblige them generously by giving them money and eatables as offering for the festival. In the evening, people gather

together and light bonfires. They go around the fire three times, giving offerings of popcorns, peanuts, rayveri and sweets and sing songs. This symbolizes a prayer to Agni for abundant crops and prosperity. Then, on the beat of the dhol (traditional Indian drum), they perform Bhangra and Giddha, the popular folk dances, around the fire. Later, the prasad of til, peanuts, rayveri, puffed rice, popcorn, gajak and sweets is distributed. The joyous festivities assume a greater fervour on the birth of a child or the arrival of new bride in the family. On this day, fairs are also held at various places in Punjab and Haryana. For Punjabis, this is more than just a festival, it is also an example of a way of life.


Teej is celebrated on the occassion of the onset of Sawan (monsoon), which is essential for the agricultural prosperity of the state. This festival is also celebrated in both Punjab and Haryana. On this day, the women dress up in all their finery, with mehndi on their hands, and sing and dance to welcome the rains. They perform gidda and kikli, the folk dances of Punjab. The swings are hung from trees and the women frolic on them, singing the traditional bojeeyan and tappe songs. They also sing songs in praise of Goddess Parvati, as it was on this auspicious day that Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, won him after much penance. 


The Sanjhi festival is mainly celebrated by the women in rural Haryana, Sanjhi is a day for rituals, prayers and celebrations. It is celebrated in the month of October. Sanjhi is the name given to images of the Mother Goddess designed by the rural women. These images are made of cowdung paste and a symbol of health, wealth and prosperity. According to folklore, the Goddess of wealth only enters those houses whose walls are decorated with the form of Sanjhi. The image is designed on the first day of the nine days of Durga Puja. The people offer prayers and food to the goddess everyday.

Gita Jayanti

Gita Jayanti is a modern festival which is celebrated at Kurukshetra in Haryana. Gita Jayanti, has its roots in the Shrimad Bhagwad Gita. This festival is celebrated to commemorate the holy Gita and Lord Krishna for ten days. The arti and deep daan at the Brahma Sarovar, where lit diyas are set afloat in the sarovar to the chant of devotional songs, are an exercise in spiritual rejuvenation. During these days various events take place, which include the recitation of the Gita, a pageant depicting scenes from the Mahabharata, seminars and discussions on the Gita, and recitals of bhajans.

States in North India
Delhi || Jammu & Kashmir || Haryana & Punjab || Himachal Pradesh || Madhya Pradesh || Rajasthan || Uttar Pradesh || Uttaranchal

Information about Haryana and Punjab
Introduction || History || Geography || Economy || Climate || Flora and Fauna || People || Culture || Festivals

Cities in Haryana and Punjab
Amritsar || Chandigarh || Panipat || Kurukshetra

Distances from Cities in Haryana and Punjab
Ambala || Amritsar || Chandigarh || Gurgaon || Jalandhar || Ludhiana || Pathankot || Rohtak

Festivals of Uttar Pradesh
Baisakhi || Guruprab || Holla Mohalla || Tika || Lohri || Teej || Sanjhi || Gita Jayanti


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