As the sun shines brighter and the temperatures get warmer, India gears up to celebrate some of the most vibrant festivals in May, from Buddha Purnima to Ganga Dussehra, celebrated on the grand level this month. Additionally, Hindus keep monthly fasts as a ritual observance, and Sikhs pay homage to important events related to the legacy of their ten Sikh Gurus.
The joyous festival in May celebrates the unity of India's diverse culture and reminds us of our shared values. This month is a time of celebration and reconnecting with family, friends and community. So, whether you're a traveller seeking to explore India's cultural heritage or a local looking to participate in your community's festivities, May's festivals in India offer something for everyone.
Join me as we take a journey through the various festivals celebrated in May in India, exploring the customs, traditions, and beliefs that make them so unique. Let's get started and dive into the fascinating world of festivals in May 2023 in India!
May's festivals are not just about religious observances; they also serve as a way to bring people together, foster a sense of community, and celebrate life's joys. In a country as diverse as India, where every state has unique customs and traditions, May's festivals offer a glimpse into its vibrant cultural tapestry. So, broaden your cultural knowledge this May and uncover India's captivating festivals, holidays and events!
The Thrissur Pooram is a spectacular annual Hindu temple festival celebrated in Kerala. It is one of the most popular and oldest festivals in India. It consists of a grand procession of elephants that begins from Vadakkunnathan Temple, travelling through various temples before ending at Thekkinkadu Maidan.
As the grand finale approaches, a stunning procession of fifteen elephants arrive from the Thiruvambadi temple to Vadukunnathan Temple at daybreak. Foremost among them is an elephant that carries Lord Krishna's idol. In tandem, a herd of fifteen elephants will start from the Paramekavu Bhagavathy temple, with their leader carrying an effigy of the goddess.
Also Read - Best Places To Visit In India In May
2. Ooty Summer Festival | Enjoy a Carnival of Music, Dance & Culture
The Ooty Summer Festival in Tamil Nadu is celebrated every year during May to welcome the summer season. It's a popular event that brings together people from all walks of life to enjoy music, dance, and culture. During this time, Ooty is decorated with vibrant decorations and lights which add to its festive look.
The festival features cultural performances, including classical music and dance recitals by renowned artists, art exhibitions, flower shows, boat races, and shopping extravaganzas. There are also fun activities, such as water balloon fights and treasure hunts, to keep the kids entertained.
3. Narasimha Jayanti | Celebrate the Appearance of Lord Vishnu's Avatar
Narasimha Jayanti is a Hindu festival that commemorates the manifestation of Lord Vishnu's fourth avatar, Narasimha. On this day, devotees offer prayers and perform rituals to invoke the blessings of Lord Narasimha.
The festivities begin with reciting the Narasimha prayers and readings from sacred Hindu texts. After this, devotees participate in yajnas (fire rituals) to receive divine blessings and grace. Special poojas are held at temples throughout the country on this day, and devotees adorn the image of Lord Narasimha with beautiful garlands and other decorations.
4. Coal Miners Day India | Commemorate Coal Miners & Their Contributions
Coal Miners Day in India is celebrated on 04 May every year to pay homage to coal miners and their contribution to society. It is a day dedicated to recognising the hard work, dedication, and bravery of coal miners all around the country.
On this day, various activities are organised throughout the country to honour coal miners and promote workplace safety. In addition, special programs are held to educate people on the hazards associated with working in coal mines. This day also serves as an opportunity for people to come together and recognise the contribution of coal miners in the development of India.
5. Buddha Purnima | Celebrate the Birth of Lord Buddha
Buddha Purnima, or Buddha Jayanti, is a Buddhist festival that celebrates the birth of Siddhartha Gautama—also known as Lord Buddha. This festival is celebrated in India and many other countries by Buddhists who commemorate this special day with prayers and offerings to the sacred image of Lord Buddha.
On this day, followers of Buddhism visit temples and monasteries to offer their prayers and meditate in the presence of a sacred image or statue of the Buddha. They also engage in charitable activities such as providing food and clothing to those who are less fortunate.
6. Chithirai Festival | The festival of Madurai honours
The renowned Chithirai Festival is a highly anticipated annual Tamil Hindu celebration in Madurai, also known as Chithirai Thiruvizha, Meenakshi Kalyanam or Meenakshi Thirukalyanam. During the Tamil month of Chithirai, an annual festival is held in honour of Meenakshi Temple and its deities: Parvati's incarnation as Meenakshi and Shiva's manifestation as Sundareshwar. This joyous event showcases the beauty and grandeur that these divine figures embody.
For a full 30 days, the festival of Madurai honours Meenakshi's coronation as a divine ruler, with 15 days devoted to her marriage to Sundareshwar. The remaining half marks Kallalagar (or Alagar -- an avatar of Vishnu) and his journey from Alagarkoyil to Madurai.
7. Basava Jayanthi | Celebrate the birth of Saint Basava
Basava Jayanthi is a Hindu festival celebrating the birthday of Shri Basavanna, a 12th-century philosopher and social reformer. It is celebrated throughout Karnataka by devotees of Lingayatism—an Indian religious movement based on Shaivism.
On this day, devotees of Basavanna visit temples and monasteries to offer prayers in his honour. Devotees also participate in various spiritual activities, such as chanting hymns, singing devotional songs and exchanging garlands. Additionally, people engage in community service activities such as helping the needy, feeding the poor and protecting the environment.
8. Sankashti Chaturthi | Celebrate Lord Ganesha