When it comes to festivals, no other country can beat India in terms of diversity. The various stories behind different cultures are wonderful and strange and the more you read about them, more fascinating the stories will become. Some reasons behind the celebration are still unanswerable and I’m sure this will let you in complete awe. So, here are some off-beat festivals of India that are still unknown to many.
1. Kila Raipur Rural Olympics, Ludhiana
What to call it? A rural fun Olympics or a Sports Bonanza or a competition just for fun! Let’s find out. Fairs and Festivals form an important part of Punjab’s culture and the people celebrate it with full zeal. It is held annually between January and February that attracts a huge crowd. Over 4000 sportsmen and women participate in this Sports Extravaganza. The usual activities involve- Human Bullock Racing, Camel Race, Dog Race and much more. Apart from having all the unlimited fun activities that let the crowd shout out loud from their heart, it has some unusual, jaw-dropping activities that involve- pulling the vehicle with air, lifting Plows with the mouth, lifting the stack of brick with teeth are some of the bizarre activities.
No Festival in India is celebrated without a story, so it also has a story associated with it. It is believed that the sons of the Guru Gobind, who were bricked to death because of the instructions of the Mughal Ruler ‘Aurangzeb’. So, this is celebrated in the grounds of Kila Raipur as a tribute to the two youngsters.
2. Lathmar Holi, Vrindavan
Lathmar Holi is one of the variations of the most famed festival of India, Holi. The Holi celebration includes the combination of enthusiastic dances, cheerful mood, joyful unions, and extravagant colors. This sounds lively and effervescent. But what if we talk about the women chasing men with a stick with an aim of beating them. This sounds hysterical, isn’t it?? The most noticeable thing about this Holi is, there is no Pooja, ritual or prayer associated with this. It is celebrated by the local community that involves playing with colors only. The Women of Banaras beat the men of Nandgaon with lathis is the highlight of the festival and the men who caught are made to dress like women and dance in public.
In the Hindu Mythology, Lord Krishna visited the village of his beloved Radha on this day and he playfully teased Radha and her friends. Resulting from, the angry ladies of the village Barsana chased the Lord away. And as a mark to this event, Lathmar Holi is celebrated every year 4-5 days before Holi in Vrindavan, Nandgaon and Barsana.
3. Thimithi, Tamil Nadu
Have you ever heard of fire walking festival? I’m pretty sure you haven’t. This is strange and nerve-racking, both at the same time. As we all know, Tamil Nadu is a land of traditions and customs. So, Thimithi is another unusual festival of India that is originated in Tamil Nadu and spread to SriLanka, Singapore, and South Africa as well. It is held in between October and November. It is basically a fire walking ceremony to honor their goddess ‘Draupadi’.
According to the Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’, it is believed that after the battle of Kurukshetra, Draupadi walked across the bed of fire to prove her innocence and walked out as fresh as a flower. So, to honor her, people of Tamil Nadu celebrate this by walking over burning coal.
4. Cow Trampling, Kerala
India is the country where the cow is given the most religious importance. People of Kerala allow themselves to get trampled by the holy cows that are the bearer of good fortunate. They lie in front of the group of cows, waiting to feel the weight of the holy cow over their bodies. What would you call it? A superstition or devotion?
Before trampling, the holy cows are decorated with flowers, colors, and henna. It is believed that by doing so, they are convincing their Lord to fulfill their wishes.
5. Thaipoosam, Tamil Nadu
Well, we have seen various unusual festivals of India, but this is something that has crossed the might leave you shell-shocked. This ritual will blow your mind and your eyes by looking at devotes who have got their body pierced with skewers and hooks. I would defiantly call it a brutal humiliation of the human flesh more than just a ritual. It is celebrated between the months of January and February.
Thaipoosam is celebrated to honor the occasion of ‘Parvati’ giving ‘Murugan’, a Vel ‘spear’ to fight against the evil demon ‘Soorapadman’. The devote starts celebration by cleansing their soul with prayers and long days of fasting and later by piercing their bodies.
All these festivals are unique and strange in their own way, yet they are believed to bring the goodwill and joy. People still celebrate these festivals with dedication and love for the traditions.