Festivals of Andhra Pradesh


The Festivals in India are celebrated with pomp and gaiety. The festivals are as diverse as the people of India. The culture and heritage of Andhra Pradesh are reflected through the festivals. The Andhra Pradesh Festivals are part of the vibrant and colorful celebrations. Some of them are even arranged by the state.

Festivals in Andhra Pradesh are celebrated by the people of the state very religiously. Some of the festivals are religious and some are even arranged by the government of the state of Andhra Pradesh. This is mainly done with a purpose to expand the tourism. Some of the popular Andhra Pradesh Festivals include the Deccan Festival, Visaka Utsav, Lumbini Festival and Rayalaseema Food and Dance Festival.

Holi in Andhra Pradesh is celebrated on the the month of Phalguna. Holi is actually the Festival of Color. The vibrant colors are used to smear each other. This is a festivity of fun and frolic and at the same time this festival drives away the negative spirits to give rise to fellow feeling.

On the day of Deepavalil, Lakshmi or the Goddess of wealth is worshiped. There is also an auspicious ritual of preparing dishes with 14 varieties of green leaves. There is a customary ritual on this day of Deepavali to light Diyas or lamps in every household. The children joined by the elders as well burn fire crackers.

Idd-Ul-Fitr is celebrated on the 1st of Shawwal, or the tenth lunar month according to the Islamic calender. Idd-Ul-Fitr is celebrated on the day the followers of the Islamic religion break a one month long fast. Mohurrum is celebrated to mark the sacrifice of Immam Hussain. Apart from the renowned festivals several other tribal festivals are celebrated in Andhra Pradesh.

Christmas

Although a special occasion for the Christian communities, Christmas has today become a secular festival of India. Not only the people of Andhra Pradesh but also the entire population of the world celebrates this day to commemorate the birth of Christ on earth. Believed to protect the mankind from the evil elements, Jesus came to the world thousands of centuries back on this day.

The beginning of this extraordinary day starts from singing in and listening to church choirs that beautifully describes the sacred deeds of Jesus who also represents kindness and humane activities. The Christians make beautiful Christmas tress and keep stockings full of gifts in their kid's room. In the wee hours the first thing the children look for is the stockings in the hope that the Santa Claus has put lucrative presents in these stockings.

The uniqueness of Christmas in Andhra Pradesh lies in the fact that the Syrian Christians of the place celebrate the occasion with well-decorated elephants, colorful umbrellas and melodious religious rhythms. The other Christian sects of the state spend the entire day much like the remaining part of the world.

Holi

Andhra Pradesh, a southern state of India celebrates a number of festivals. Some of them are their very own and others are celebrated with pomp and gaiety by the people Andhra. Among the Festivals of India, Holi or Festival of Color is a cause of jubilation in Andhra Pradesh.

Holi in Andhra Pradesh is celebrated on the the month of Phalguna that is March according the English calender. Holi is observed on the full moon day or Purnima. This Indian Festival has close association with the Hindu myths related to Lord Shiva.

It is believed that during Lord Shiva was meditating, cupid shot his arrows to inflict love in him. But Shiva was outraged by this disturbance, he burnt cupid to ashes by the power of his third eye. When Cupid's wife asked for mercy to Lord Shiva, he granted a wish that he can come back to his original form only on this particular day of the year.

Deepavali

Andhra Pradesh is situated in the Southern India and happens to be the third largest state in India. The rich culture and tradition of the state is reflected in the celebration of the different festivals. Deepavali or the Festival of Light is such a festival that is celebrated with much fun and gusto.

In the Indian states, the festivals are celebrated with much charm and splendor. In Andhra Pradesh, the festivals are celebrated with much pomp and show. The Festival of Light that is known as Deepavali is an occasion that calls for jubilation. Deepavali means row of light. It is celebrated on the new moon day which is known as Amavasya in India.

Idd-Ul-Fitr

Idd-Ul-Fitr is a festival that is religiously celebrated in Andhra Pradesh. Idd-Ul-Fitr is mainly a festival of the Muslims. They celebrate it with gaiety and frolic. It is celebrated as a special occasion in Hyderabad and in the rest of Andhra Pradesh, in India.

Idd-Ul-Fitr in Andhra Pradesh and as well in the other Islamic countries is celebrated on the 1st of Shawwal, or the tenth lunar month according to the Islamic calender. Idd-Ul-Fitr is celebrated on the day the followers of the Islamic religion break a one month long fast. Generally, the fasting starts 4 am in the morning and ends when the sun sets. Nothing is eaten or drank when the fasting is observed. The fast is usually broken by eating fruits, specially dates and melons. The 27th day of the Ramzan or the holy fasting, is considered to be the most auspicious. This day in the Islamic calender is known as Lailut-ul-Qadar. The night is spent reading the holy Quran as it is believed that the Quran was introduced on this very day from heaven.

Krishna Ashtami

Also referred as janmashtam, Krishna Ashtami is one of the widely followed festivals of Andhra Pradesh. Celebrated between the month of august and September, Krishna Ashtami marks the appearance of Lord Krishna on earth. The devotees maintain a fast on the night of the festival and sing religious hymns.

The accurate celebration time of Krishna Ashtami depends on the appearance of the star called rohini and the subsequent occurrence of the ashtami tithi. The priests and other ardent followers of Shri Krishna spend the entire night of the occasion in praising the Lord with recitation of slokas from the oldest scripture of Hindu mythology - bhagwat gita.

The following day of the festival starts with offering of arghya to Krishna. People come to the specially made mandapam which is enshrined with an idol of little Krishna. The floor of the mandapam is tastefully decorated in the form colorful designs of the foot prints of infant Krishna. A pot filled with butter and sometimes money, is hung to the ceiling of the mandapam with the help of a string. This one is an integral part of Krishna Ashtami and is locally known as utti. After offering prayers and food like jaggery and ginger, the priest finishes off the puja ceremony with the distribution of prasadams.

The special attraction of Krishna Ashtami is the point when the people start hitting the pot in the hope that they will be able to break it and get the delicious butter and milk. While they engage themselves in targeting the pot, the onlookers splash them with water to make the environment more jovial. This ritual reminds one the deeds of Lord Krishna in his childhood days when he used to break the pots of butter and milk that were carefully stored in the utti by his mother Yashoda.

Maha Sivarathri

Maha Sivarathri is believed to be one of the oldest festivals of Andhra Pradesh. The traditional myth of the place says that Lord Shiva was appeared as a lingam on this day. Celebrated on the night of Krishna chaturdashi, Maha Sivarathri speaks of the divine charisma and eternal bliss of Lord Shiva.

Some of the religious texts of Andhra Pradesh indicate the origin of Maha Sivarathri to the tandava nritya of Lord Shiva. Whereas some others attach the festival with the marriage ceremony of the Lord with Goddess Parvati.

On the very day of Maha Sivarathri, devotees come from all over the state to the various temples of Lord Shiva to offer their prayers. The priest of the temple sanctifies the Shiva lingam with a special leaf - bel- which is used in all sacred activities of Hindu religion. The devotees then start offering their prayers to the Lord. Throughout the entire day, devotees sit in the premises of the temples chanting the name of Shiva. A fast is maintained by the followers on this occasion which is broken only on the following day of the festival.

The kalahasteshwara temple and bharamarambha malikarjunaswamy temple are the two famous places of worship where Maha Sivarathri is celebrated with mirth and gaiety. Often, people come to the temples from other sates of India to gather the blessings of Lord Shiva. The popularity of the festival has taken such dimensions that today tourists who come to explore the splendors of India, make it a point to visit the various Shiva shrines on the holy occasion of Maha Sivarathri.

Regarded as a national festival, the auspicious occasion of Maha Sivarathri is performed with religious dedication and utmost enthusiasm across the length and breadth of Andhra Pradesh.

Ugadi

The "Hindus" of Andhra Pradesh celebrate the festival of "Ugadi" in the month of March and April, with much pomp and show. The "Ugadi" festival marks the beginning of another year among the Telugu people of Andhra Pradesh. As per the lunar system of the astrological calculations, the festival of Ugadi is observed on the "Shukla Paksha" of the "Chaitra Masa" during the spring season or the "Vasant Ritu". Apart from the religious significance of the festival, Ugadi also has a considerable economic and social influence on the people of the region.

History
The spring season is associated with the birth of new life when the dry branches of the trees or plants sprout new leaves and makes the ambiance look vibrant and colorful. In the similar way, Ugadi also signifies the beginning of a new year when one can forget the past and make an wonderful start. According to a religious legend, it is said that the Lord Brahma who is the creator started the "Creation" of cosmos on this day of "Ugadi" or the "Chaitra Suddha Padhyami".



Special Arrangements for the auspicious festival of "Ugadi"

The Telugu people buy new clothes and decorate their houses to mark the festival. The people hang the leaves of mangoes at the entrance of their houses for a prosperous year, and worship Gods and Goddesses to seek their divine blessings. The Telugu people of Andhra Pradesh prepare several lip smacking delicious foods to satisfy their appetite. Some of the delicacies prepared on the auspicious occasion are the "Ugadi Pachchadi", "Pulihora" and "Bobbatlu" which are cooked with special care to suit the occasion. The festival of Ugadi also offers the poets and writers of the Telugu literature with a platform to express their talents in the numerous "Literary Fairs" that are organized throughout the state.

The people of Andhra Pradesh extend a warm welcome to the "Telugu New Year" or "Ugadi" where they forget their past failures or achievements and look forward for a better and prosperous year ahead.

Vijaya Dasami

Vijaya Dasami is known as one of the most vibrant and enticing occasion of Andhra Pradesh. The pious day of Vijaya Dasami symbolizes the victory of Lord Rama over the King of demons - Ravana. Some of the traditional fables also put forth the majestic triumph of Goddess Durga over the Asura on this day.

Connoting the tenth day of the holy war between Ram and Ravana, Vijaya Dasami is celebrated as the win of good spirits over the evil ones. Being one of the major celebration events of Andhra Pradesh, the festival is also enjoyed in all other parts of India with equal fervor.

With the beginning of the festival day, all the devout followers of Hindu religion flock to the several mandaps and pandals where the idol of the Goddess Durga is established. With the chanting of mantras, the priest offers sweets, flowers and incense sticks to the goddess. Prasadam and bhog is distributed among the devotees after the puja ceremony gets over.

From children to adults all engross themselves in the gaiety of the festival. While kids put their books in the feet of Saraswati who is known be the goddess of knowledge, craftsmen and laborers offer their instruments to the Goddess Durga for more prosperity and improvement in life. Also called as Dusshera, Vijaya Dasami is celebrated in others states of India with the burning of idols of Ravana.

Although Vijaya Dasami is a festival of Hindu people, yet people of other religions too participate in the occasion with as much enthusiasm and vigor as the followers of Goddess Durga.

Milad-Un-Nabi

Milad-Un-Nabi, the religious festival of Muslim community, is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh to rejuvenate the mirth of the moment when Prophet Mohammed took birth. The day of this pious occasion starts with the breaking of dawn when the people gather in various mosques to read the sacred Quran. After a long session of reading and listening to the verses of their holy scripture, the followers of Hazrat Mohammed greet each other lovingly and sweetmeats are handed out to them.

Although Milad-Un-Nabi is celebrated in all parts of Andhra Pradesh, yet Hyderabad and Secunderabad follow this occasion with a distinguished dignity and passion. While the mosques of the two cities are brightened up with lightings, the streets are found decorated with green flags with the sacred verse - Kalema Taiyeba written on each of them. Depicting the revered life of Prophet Mohammed, the people organize special ghazal sessions and Quran reading programmes on Milad-Un-Nabi. Distributing food to the poor is another compulsory custom of the festival.

The religious scholars of the state often address the massive assembly of men presented in the adjoining grounds of mosques or similar public platforms on the sacred festival. The famous phrases of Hazrat Mohammed are read to spread his message of love, peace and brotherhood among the communities of Andhra Pradesh.

From common people who celebrate the occasion in their own circles to corporate leaders and professionals who arrange social gatherings in different parts of the state, Milad-Un-Nabi is celebrated by all strata of people. enter the mandapams or place of worship wearing fresh cloths and offer prayers.

The religious importance of Maha Sivarathri can be fathomed from sincerity of the people who wake up before dawn, purify themselves by taking a bath in the rivers and come to the Shiva temples with flowers and sweets to adorn and praise the lingam.

Nagapanchami

To worship the king of snakes - Cobra, Nagapanchami or Nagula Cahvithi is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh. The rituals of the festival are usually performed by the womenfolk of the place who adorn themselves with vibrant attires and ornaments and come to mandapams where the idol of a Cobra with seven heads is set.

The common belief doing the rounds in the villages of Andhra Pradesh for several decades is that Cobra is the revered God of all kinds of serpents available on earth. The festival of Nagapanchami is followed in order to worship King Cobra and to praise him so that he can protect the mankind from all kind of harmful reptiles.

Apart from visiting the mandapams, the people of the sate celebrate this festival by placing the idols of King Cobra outside their houses. Made up of cow dung, the idols are a medium of invitation through which the devotees request the Cobra to come to their houses. During the ceremony, bowls of milk are often found in different spots of the grounds and open fields which are the possible dwelling places of snakes.

Locally known as Nagula Cahvithi, the festival is followed in the rainy season of shravana. Since the numbers of casualties caused by snake bites are the highest during this time, so more and more people participate in the festival with the hope that King Cobra will protect them from other poisonous snakes.

Muharram

Memorizing and paying homage to Hasan and Hussain on their death anniversaries, Muharram is followed in all parts of Andhra Pradesh. Indicating the dawn of New Year of Muslims, the festival primarily involves mourning sessions that are organized by both sunni and shia communities.

Being the grandsons of Prophet Mohammed, Hasan and Hussain hold an intensely pious place in the hearts of the Muslim people. As such, the entire Muslim sect becomes bereaved members of Hazrat Mohammed's extended family and sacrifices every possible source of mirth and exultation during the ten days of Muharram. While the sunnis are found in green attires, the shias wear black clothes to express their grief and agony on the occasion.

Since Hussain was assassinated in Kerbala by the battalion of king Yazid, the battle scenes are posted in all the shia mosques. During the entire period of Muharram, the women of shia community wear off all types of jewelleries and other items of make-up. Instead, they leave their hairs uncombed and wear sober colored cloths to mourn over the death of Hussain.

In Hyderabad, Muharram starts with the occurrence of the new moon and goes on for 14 days. Drum-beating is a common custom that is practiced in the place during the festival. At the end of the 14th day, followers of Prophet Mohammed and his descendants come to the streets with bowls to beg for alms. They approach every house of the city to collect as much victual as possible.

In some parts of Andhra Pradesh, a group of ardent followers beat themselves with chains to express their agony over the death of Hussain. They are even found strolling the streets without any footwear.

The whole festival of Muharram not only signifies the extreme feeling of loss of the Muslim groups but also shows the passionate dedication of shia and sunni followers who take every possible pain to compensate for the death of the two great successors of Hazrat Mohammed.

Sankranthi

As the auspicious festival of peasants, Sankranthi is celebrated in all the hamlets of Andhra Pradesh. Also known as the festival of grain harvest, Sankranthi is meant to ward off the evil spirits from the crop fields. Celebrated for three whole days, the festival is religiously followed by all the farmers of the place.

The first day of the occasion, called as bhogi, begins with the lighting of grass, shoots and other waste products of the farming fields. The females of the villages wake up early in the morning and engage in decorating the lawn of their houses with bright rangolis. After the bonfire gets over, the farmers collect ash from it and apply it on their forehead as a sign of respect to the mother earth.

On the following day, the original festival of Sankranthi is observed. The ladies of the hamlets visit their neighborhoods to exchange sugarcane pieces, sesame seeds and bowl of sugar.

The third and the last day of Sankranthi - kanumu, is celebrated in a unique manner. In the wee hours, the peasants take their cattle to the nearby rivers, make them bath and embellish them by coloring the horns and tying bells in their necks. On this very day some farmers perform the ritual of bali in which a sheep or a goat is offered to the God of crops, while some others feed their cattle with home-made rice and milk. The leftover of the dish is usually spread over the farming areas by the peasants with the hope that the crops will be safe from all kinds of bad elements.

Sri Rama Navami

"Sri Rama Navami" is one of the most popular and celebrated festival of Andhra Pradesh which is observed with much pomp and show through out the state. Ram Navami marks the birth of Lord Rama, the main character of the religious epic of "Ramayana". Also known as "Kalyanotsavam", this festivals also commemorates the marriage of Rama and Sita. The state celebrates the festival of Sri Rama Navami for a continuous period of ten days when the devotees indulge in "fast" and prayers to seek the divine blessings of the eternal Lord Rama.

The temples of Andhra Pradesh are adorned with flowers to make them look attractive and beautiful. The temple committees organize Rathyatras of Lord Rama, His wife Sita, Lord Lakshmana and the Hanumana to show their devotion to the God. The religious epic of "Ramayana" are read through out the state to revive the glorious events that led to the establishment of the "Ram Rajya".

The colorful event of Sri Rama Navami brings all the people of the state together and binds them with love and fellow feeling for one another. The people buy new clothes and decorate their houses with flowers. The entire state turns into a festive mood and people observe all the rituals with complete devotion and dedication. Many people narrate incidences from the Hindu religious text of "Ramayana" and recount the valor and divine strength of the Lord. The South Indian people sing "Bhajans" or devotional songs in praise of Lord Rama.

The people of Andhra Pradesh forget all their worries during this ten days period and celebrate the festival of Sri Rama Navami with full faith in the eternal "Being". The festival of Sri Ram Navami provides the people of the state with a platform to interact with new friends and strengthen old ties.

Visakha Utsav

The Visakha Utsav is a specialty of Visakhapatnam. The department of tourism organizes the festival every year in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The Visakha Utsav brings the festive spirit of the people of Visakhapatnam and Andhra Pradesh to life.

The Visakha Utsav or the festival of Visakha is lionized to celebrate the spirit of the district of Visakhapatnam. The people from all over the state gather to enjoy the festivities in Visakha Utsav. The festival is not limited to the city Visakhapatnam alone. The festival is celebrated in all parts of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The festivities take place in the cold month of January. The third Friday of the month of January marks the beginning of the festival. The festival continues for three long days and closes on the Sunday of the same week. The three days are marked with jubilant celebrations.

The festival is organized by the Department of Andhra Pradesh Tourism to showcase the arts and culture of the district of Visakhapatnam. The fairs held display the arts and crafts that are the regions specialty. A variety of cultural programs are held too. The Visakha Utsav also exhibits the cuisine of Visakhapatnam. The popular dishes are prepared in the food fairs and are ready for the consumption of the food lovers. The festival also presents the opportunity to participate in several sports events. Visakha Utsav also hosts several exhibitions and fashion shows as well.





Last Updated on 20 June 2013