So what if the mercury has begun to zoom and the scorching sun is already beginning to sap our energies? That is no reason to stop celebrating the fun filled, colourful festivals that this month has lined up for us. A look at some of the major ones:
International Flower Festival
When: May 1-31
Against the backdrop of the pretty mountain ranges, Sikkim’s International Flower Festival pays tribute to its stunning array of blooms that are out in all their splendour at this time of the year. At the top of the list all are orchids- the state boasts of over 400 glorious varieties- and the beautiful rhododendrons together with a charming medley of ferns, flowers, alpine plants and climbers. Not to forget bamboo that has become almost synonymous with this region. A series of lectures and seminars on the state’s indigenous foliage are also part of the festival.
When: May 1 – 7
One of the most eagerly awaited festivals of Nagaland is the fun-filled Moatsu that is celebrated by members of its Ao tribe. Before the hot summer months set in, the Aos ensure that work in the agricultural fields with the sowing of seeds is over and done with. Preparations for Moatsu begin with not just the cleaning of households but also getting the exotic rice beer ready. During the festival family members get together to relax; a lot of feasting, music and dancing is thrown in.
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Where: All over India
When: Begins on May 6
Considered to be one of the most sacred months in Islam, Ramzan or Ramadan is observed by Muslims throughout the world. Prayers and fasting from dawn to sunset form part of the day’s activities. The length of the month varies from 29-30 days depending on the sighting of the Shawwal Moon and that is when Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated.
Yoga Shala Expo
When: May 10 – 12
This three-day exhibition is a journey into the world of health and healthy living. It strives to provide all the information and knowledge related to paramedical sciences through a series of events and sessions addressed by experts on yoga, ayurveda, naturopathy, homeopathy, herbal, unani, siddha, diet and nutrition. A variety of products- organic food, herbal cosmetics, yoga props and organic clothing, etc will be on display.
Where: All over India
When: May 12
The full moon day of Vesak (that falls mostly in May) is regarded as a special one for Buddhists, for, that’s when Gautama Buddha is believed to have not just been born, but also achieved enlightenment and even departed from this world. At all Buddhist temples, lighting of incense sticks, offerings of sweets and sermons organized on the life and teachings of the Buddha mark the occasion.
Where: Thrissur, Kerala
When: May 13
Regarded as the cultural capital of Kerala, Thrissur offers a grand spectacle at this 200-year-old festival that is organized at the Vadakkunnathan Temple. We’re talking about a parade of 50 beautifully caparisoned elephants that bring in deities from the surrounding areas to Lord Shiva temple here. Religious ceremonies accompanied by the traditional music of the panch vadyam continue non-stop for about 36 hours. Evenings are special for the much-awaited fireworks display.
Where: Manali, Himachal Pradesh
When: May 14
A sense of magic pervades in the beautiful Dungri forests around the Hadimba Temple where devotees get together to celebrate the birthday of the demon-queen Hadimba who was the wife of Bhima, one of the Pandava heroes from the epic- Mahabharata. Idols of gods and goddesses from the neighbouring villages are also brought here with great fanfare to offer their wishes. At the melas (fairs), folk musicians and dancers offer visitors a taste of their beautiful customs and culture.
Mount Abu Summer Festival
Where: Mount Abu, Rajasthan
When: May 17-18
The culturatti from across the country makes it a point to visit this festival not only to enjoy Mount Abu’s salubrious climate but also to savour the folk and classical extravaganza on offer. Setting the ball rolling on the banks of the picturesque Nakki Lake are ballads that are sung to remember the intrepid heroes of yore. Colourful folk dances together with activities such as boat races, a band show by the CRPF, horse racing together with competitions like tug of war, skating and matka race keep the crowds entertained. A popular part of the festival is the Sham-e-Qawwali with some famous qawwals from across the country participating. Floating of diyas and a glittering fireworks display bring the festival to a close.
Ooty Summer Festival
When: May 17 – 21
Going back to more than 120 years, this festival is the go-to place for those who enjoy being in the world of blooms. Spread out over a sprawling 22 acres, the city’s botanical gardens offer a riot of colours in over 650 types of flowers. What’s more, there’s a mind-boggling 3,000 varieties of the rose, also called king of flowers, on display. Shutterbugs are sure to be mesmerized by the decorations done all across the gardens.