5 Unusual Festivals and Rituals in India


Celebrating unusual festivals in India has its own auspicious experience. For years, different communities and regions in India have been celebrating indigenous festivals with their rural touch, often unknown to the outside world, yet full of magic and ecstasy.

So, get ready to know few of the most engaging and eclectic festivals in India that have their own nascent charm.

  1. Bhagoria Festival: Celebrated by the Bhilala and Bhil tribes of Madhya Pradesh, this one is seriously an interesting affair. Defying the societal rules of conventional marriages, this ritual is all about finding your partner and then eloping with him/her only to return later so that one can be accepted by the society. It also marks the advent of Spring and is celebrated few days earlier before Holi. The sense of freedom endowed by this festival reveals the different facets of community living in India and how the idea that boundaries are only a façade in real life. Also, it cements the bond of unity in diversity, a trait that is famous in India.

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  2. Snake Boat Races or Vallam Kali: Celebrated for almost 400 years in India, this festival is all about the competitive spirit and zeal of championship. Initially, these boat races were literally a sign of war between different villages and communities, in which overpowering each other was a sign of strength and determination. Over the years, it has taken the form of a yearly ritual and has become quite famous in God’s own country.

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  3. Thaipoosam: Organized with great show and revelry in Tamil Nadu, this festival tests the limits of human spirit and its power. For example, in this ritual, the devotees of Lord Muruga, pierce metal pieces on their lips and body, nab themselves in chains and bravely pull the chariot of the deity. The chosen ones also have to walk barefoot on burning coal to show their utter devotion to the Lord.

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  4. Nag Panchami: Celebrated in the month of July and August, this festival is quite famous in the entire landscape of India. Though, it’s quite famous in Maharashtra, West Bengal and parts of South India. The Serpentine lord is worshipped in this festival so that blessings are endowed on one’s families. In the Hindu mythology, the worshipping of serpents dates back to times immemorial, even before the marked advent of Aryans. In fact, Aryans are considered to be associated with Lord Brahma and hence held in high regard.
  5. Puli Kali: A favorite festival in Kerala, this one basically means the play of the tiger. The devotees paint themselves like a tiger and a hunting game is played on the streets. They dance with infectious energy and this festival is celebrated alongside Onam. On a deeper level, this festival also states that how these endangered species are valued so much that their presence in celebrated with pomp and zeal.


In a nutshell, the entire plethora of rituals and festivals in India have their own stories that cannot be defined without experiencing them with energy and hope.


By Shubhda Chaudhary


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