Festivals in India are a vibrant representation of the culture and ancient traditions of the country. The most prominent celebration is that of Diwali, which is popularly called the festival of lights, celebrated in October or November. Like most festivals in the country, its story is rooted in myths, legends and religion. It is said that Lord Rama returned him on this day after a 14-year-long exile. The people in his kingdom were so happy that they lit diyas (earthen lamps) in their houses to welcome him. Today, thousands of people decorate their homes with candles and diyas and burst crackers to mark the occasion. This is done after the customary puja rituals.

Another major festival is Holi, called the festival of colours. It generally falls in March. During Holi, people smear each other's faces with colours and throw water balloons at friends and family. A fiesta of fun and food, Holi sees people coming together to exchange presents and burn a holy bonfire that marks the burning of all evil. Many signature dishes like gujiya (deep-fried sweet dumpling), dahi vada (a snack served with yoghurt), thandai (beverage made with almonds, rose petals, watermelon kernels, cardamom), and pakora (fritters) are prepared during the festivities.

Eid is celebrated all over the country after the holy month of Ramadan comes to a close. While Muslims observe austere fasting throughout Ramadan, Eid is the occasion of feasting and translated means festival of breaking the fast. On this day, devotees offer prayers at the mosque and exchange greetings of "Eid Mubarak" with each other.

Celebrated on December 25 as the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is the major festivals of Christians. On Christmas Eve, churches all over the country observe a mass, where prayers and worship are offered to the lord. The next day festivities begin and people get together to feast on delicious cakes and dishes.

Celebrated all over the state of Kerala, Onam is the most popular festival of Malayalis. Spanning over ten days, Onam starts on Atham day and lasts till Thiru Onam or Thiruvonam, meaning sacred Onam day. This unique festival brings the colours and cultures of the state into the limelight, when people across Kerala prepare to have a grand time. On the first day, a street parade is organised that sees caparisoned elephants, carnival floats, brightly dressed dancers and musicians, and various other artistes.

Ratha Yatra (also popularly referred to as the Chariot Festival) is one of the most important Hindu festivals in India. The festival, most elaborately organised in Puri, is held annually during the Hindu calendar month of Asadha, which falls on the second day of the lunar fortnight during June and July. The main deity worshipped during the festival is Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The festival is marked by the transportation of the idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra in three different chariots to their summer temple for a week. 

Besides these, there are numerous other festivals in which make across the country make merry, and welcome the spring, a new harvest, or deities and gods. Some of the more prominent ones are Gurupurab, which is celebrated as the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev, Janmashtmi, celebrated as the birthday of Lord Krishna, Durga Puja, Raksha Bandhan, Baisakhi, etc.

There is a celebration in almost every corner of India throughout the year, and many carnivals and fairs are organised across the length of the country. Some of the must-attend festivities are :

The city of Kochi lights up during the Cochin Carnival that is a celebration of life and vigour. Generally, held during the last two weeks of December, the carnival hosts multiple competitions and activities like vadam vali (tug of war), kalam vara (floor art), beach football, swimming, marathon racing, cycle racing, bullet racing, kayaking, boxing, kabaddi and beach bike racing. For those with a mellower spirit, art shows, musical concerts and elaborate rallies can be an amazing option. A major attraction in the carnival is the burning of the effigy of Papanai between December 31 and January 1. This is done to bid goodbye to the past year and welcome the new one. 

One of the most prominent festivals of the state of Karnataka, Mysuru Dasara is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. The festival of Dasara has a centuries-old association with the palace of Mysore. It falls in October or November and has been celebrated for the last 400 years. The 10-day festivities end with a grand procession, which takes off from Mysore Palace and culminates at Bannimantap. Observed as the state festival of Karnataka (Nadahabba), Dasara witnesses the Mysore palace illuminated like never before. 

One of the best festivals in not just the state of Goa but also the whole of India, Goa Carnival draws people in droves. This unique festival has been celebrated since the 18th century after it was introduced by the erstwhile Portuguese rulers of Goa. Music, dancing and revelry make up this three-day non-stop extravaganza in the state. Colourful parades with floats are taken out all over Goa.

The Taj Mahotsav, in Agra, is an annual 10-day-long celebration of art, craft, culture and cuisine at Shilpgram near the eastern gate of the Taj Mahal. It brings together artisans from other parts of the country and gives them a platform to showcase and sell their work to travellers from across India and the world. Besides craftsmanship and food, the festival also offers travellers an experience of India’s many folk traditions. A series of folk music and dance performances from various regions across the country are a highlight of the Taj Mahotsav.

The Rann Utsav is a fun festival that takes place annually at the Rann of Kutch, in Gujarat. A vibrant carnival that brims with song, dance, culture, adventure and art, it is said that during it, the beauty of the pristine land of Bhuj is accentuated on full moon nights. Golf carts, ATV rides, paintball, camel safaris, game cart excursions, paramotoring, and horse and camel rides are also a part of the celebration. Those looking for peace and relaxation can participate in various meditation and yoga sessions conducted during the festival.