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Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, is a melting pot, known for its ability to blend different castes, creed and religion and celebrate all festivities with pomp and splendour.

Mumbaites are earthy people, who treat life itself as a celebration. Most festivals in Maharashtra are celebrated with abandon.

Makar Sankranti

It marks the beginning of the sun’s movement northwards. Sweet and crunchy ladoos or tilgul made of sesame and jaggery are the favourite treats distributed during the festival. Maharashtrians celebrate Makar Sankranti and believe thatTilgul ghya god god bola” (eat sweet and talk sweet too).



Holi, the festival of colours, is a spring festival celebrated each year after a successful winter harvest. ‘Holi’ or bonfires are lit at night as people gather to worship the Fire God, who is believed to burn evil. The day after Holi is known Dhulendi or Rangpanchami. On this day, people playfully drench each other with coloured water and powders. Music, dance and sweets are part of the celebration.


Gudi Padwa

Gudi Padwa or Maharashtrian New Year marks the arrival of prosperity and is considered one of the most auspicious days in the year. On this day, Maharashtrians erect Gudi (a bamboo staff with a coloured silk cloth and a garland atop it, symbolising triumph) on Padwa (first day of the Hindu New Year) and welcome the new year by distributing a prasad (holy offerings) of tender neem leaves, gram-pulse and jaggery.



Farmers celebrate Pola or harvest festival all over Maharashtra. On this day, bullocks are bathed and decorated with colours. They are then taken out in processions in villages, accompanied by music of drumbeats and lezhims (musical instruments made of wooden rods and iron chains covered with metallic pieces). This festival is an important embodiment of Hindu culture, where cattle are not looked upon as beasts of burden, but treated with dignity and gratitude.



Celebrated all over the city, Id-E-Milad marks the birthday of Prophet Mohammed. The Muslims in the city offer prayers, distribute sweets and mark the day with celebrations.


Nag Panchami

According to Hindu mythology, the cobra having a special significance, and believes that the earth rests on the head (Shesha) of a thousand-hooded cobra. Snake worship is considered an important ritual by Maharashtrians. The festival of Nag Panchami is celebrated by worshipping clay idols of cobras. Snake charmers carry cobras in baskets and collect offerings from the public.

Narali Pournima

The full moon day in the month of Shravan is known as Poornima. On this day, fishermen make offerings of coconuts (naral) to the Sea God and hence the festival is called Narali Pournima. Since this festival marks the start of a new fishing season, fishermen pacify the Sea God before sailing out in their gaily-decorated boats by performing this ritual.

Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan is a celebration of the relationship between brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters tie 'rakhis' or beautifully decorated threads on their brothers' wrists. The ritual recreates the bond of love between siblings and signifies a brother's responsibility towards his sister.


Gokul Ashtami

Gokul Ashtami or Janmashtami is celebrated on the birthday of Lord Krishna. One of the fun-filled rituals of the day is breaking the dahi-handi. Clay pots filled with curds, puffed rice and milk are strung on ropes high above the streets fastened to buildings or lampposts. Groups of enthusiastic young men (and women too) form human pyramids to break these clay pots. This ritual is an imitation of the way Lord Krishna and his friends stole butter from the houses of milkmaids.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the birthday of the God of Wisdom, Lord Ganesh, who is considered to be the patron deity of Maharashtra. The 11-day festival begins with the installation of beautifully sculpted Ganesh idols in houses and public places under large tents, which are colourfully decorated and depict religious themes or current/cultural events. Cultural events are organised on all the 10 days. On the 11th day, the idols are taken to either the sea, nearby river or lake accompanied by music and dance for immersion by voicing slogans like “Gannpati Bappa Morya. Pudhachya Varshi Lavkar Ya (Oh Lord Ganesh, please come back soon next year).

Click here for an article on - "Salutations to Mumbai ka Raja"....

Parsi New Year

Mumbai’s Zoroastrian community celebrates this day when their forefathers fled Persia by attending fire temples, visiting friends and indulging in legendary feasting.



This nine-day festival celebrates Lord Ram’s victory over the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. Dussehra is the day when Lord Ram killed Ravana. A symbol of the victory of good over evil, the festival is a time when giant paper-made demons are set on fire on the last day of the festival. In the evenings, the leaves of the Apta tree are exchanged among friends and relatives as a symbol of luck.


Diwali or Deepawali, a celebration of lights, is one of the most beautiful of Indian festivals. Illuminated streets with rows of clay lamps, homes decorated with rangoli (coloured powder designs) and aakash kandils (decorative lanterns of different shapes and sizes)make Diwali the most eagerly awaited of all. Diwali is celebrated over five days and each day has a unique religious significance. This joyous festival is celebrated to eliminate the darkness of misery and bring the light of prosperity and happiness into human life.

© January/February
  Makar Sankranti
© March / April
  Gudi Padwa
© May / June
© July /August
  Nag Panchami
  Narali Pournima
  Raksha Bandan
© August / September
  Gokul Astami
  Ganesh Chaturthi
  Parsi New Year
© September / October
© October / November

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