Fairs & Festivals in West Bengal
West Bengal is considered to be one of the richest states in India, in terms of culture, tradition, fairs and festivals. The colorful festivals of the state are full of joyous ceremonies, abundant fun and mouth-watering cuisines. In Bengal, there is a festival for every season and every kind of celebration. There is a popular Bengali proverb, ‘Baro Mase Tero Parban’, which means ‘thirteen festivals in twelve months’. This signifies the umpteen numbers of fairs and festivals that are celebrated in this state. These celebrations reflect the hearty and composite cultural culture of India.
Fairs and festivals form an inseparable part of the life of people in West Bengal. A Bengali calendar is embellished with celebrations throughout the year, with innumerable festivals for each season. Some of these festivals are celebrated with same passion and devotion throughout the state, while some are confined to a particular zone only, depending upon its mythological or cultural linkage. The festive moods of Bengali people reflect their liveliness and deep-sited belief in their cultural heritage. Let us explore all the major fairs & festivals in West Bengal, in detail.
Basant Utsav literally means the ‘celebration of spring’. The beautiful tradition of celebrating spring festival in Bengal was first started by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, at Vishwabharati Shantiniketan, the University founded by him. Actually,
West Bengal is a land of fairs and festivals. In fact, the culture of the state is characterized by the colorful celebrations that adorn it throughout the year. Almost every district of West Bengal plays host to at least one popular fair or festival in the entire year.
Charak Puja has its own special place in West Bengal, the state of festivals. It is a special folk festival, celebrated for bidding good-bye to the passing year. It is believed that the celebration leads to prosperity in the coming year, wiping out all the sufferings and pains of the current year. This festival is celebrated on the midnight of Chaitra Sankranti,
Durga Pooja is the most important festival in West Bengal, celebrated with immense devotion and great pomp and show. This festival is also known by various names here, some call it ‘Akalbodhan’ – the untimely awakening of Durga, while others refer to it as ‘Durgotsab’ – the festival of Goddess Durga and even ‘Maayer Pujo’ – the worship of the Mother Durga.
Ganga Sagar Mela
West Bengal is the state of fairs and festivals. A large number of festivities take place in this state throughout the year. Amongst them, one of the most famous fests is the Gangasagar Mela. It is held in the month of January-February, on the Ganga Sagar Island, at the mouth of the river Hooghly in Bengal.
The culture of West Bengal is adorned by numerous fairs and festivals. Goddess Durga is one of the most religiously worshipped deities here and many of the festivals celebrated in the state are meant to pay regards to Her only. Jagaddhatri or Jagadhatri puja is one of the festivals observed by the devotees of ‘Durga’ – the Goddess of Power, who is also called Jagaddhatri i.e. ‘the Protector of the World’.
Jalpesh Mela is an interesting fair in the land of festivals and fairs, West Bengal. It is celebrated in the month of February-March, on the occasion of Shivratri, in Mainaguri town of Jalpaiguri district. It is almost a month-long fair, organized with great pomp and show. Not only the local population, but people from far-flung areas of India also come to participate in this fair.
West Bengal is famous for its rich cultural heritage and the uniqueness of its traditions. There is a festival here for every season and every occasion. Jhapan is one of the most unique festivals celebrated in West Bengal. The festival is dedicated to Goddess Mansha, believed to be the daughter of Lord Shiva, who is also considered to be the Goddess of Snakes.
The people of West Bengal celebrate their cultural lineage with immense love and respect. In fact, the celebration of their art and craft forms an integral part of their cultural heritage. Kenduli Mela is one of those traditional celebrations that celebrate the unique musical art of Baul community, a group of mystic minstrels, in Bengal. This fair is organized in Kenduli city of Birbhum district, the native land of Bauls.
Naba Barsho, also known as Poila Baishakh, marks the beginning of New Year in Bengal. It is celebrated on the first day of Baishakh, as per the Hindu calendar. According to the Gregorian calendar, it falls either on April 14 or 15. It is a public holiday in West Bengal, with its celebrations dating back to the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. During Akbar’s time, the last day of Chaitra (the month before Baishakh) was fixed to be the customary day for clearing all kinds of previous dues.
West Bengal is the land of fairs and festivals. Innumerable festivals are celebrated throughout the year in the state. Apart from traditional festivals, like Durga Pooja and Diwali, harvest festivals like Jhapan and tourism festival like Teesta Tea and Tourism Festival are observed here. Another festival that Bengali people relish is the ‘Cultural Festival of Poush’.
Colorful festivals and fairs adorn the culture of West Bengal. Hundreds of festivities are held here every year, either to please the myriad deities worshipped by the Bengali people or to celebrate the glory and beauty of something important occurred in the past. Then, there are festivals organized to promote arts, tourism or even celebrate a good harvest.
Rath Yatra, which involves taking out of the procession of Lord Jagganath’s Chariot, is one of the oldest traditions in Hindu Society. It is celebrated with great effervescence and immense devotion in Orissa and Bengal. Being celebrated since 1397, this Rath Yatra of West Bengal is the second oldest chariot festival in India, after the Rath Yatra of Puri.
Maa Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess of Learning. She is worshipped in almost all the parts of the country with equal devotion. Saraswati Pooja is observed on ‘Vasant Panchmi’, which falls in the Phalgun month (January-February as per the Gregorian calendar). In almost all the households of West Bengal, Saraswati Pooja is celebrated with immense devotion.
Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival
West Bengal is considered to be the state of festivals .The Bengali calendar is full of fairs and festivals, each of them celebrated for a different reason. There is a festival for every season, every region and every occasion. Each of these festivals has a unique logic behind its celebration.
Vishnupur, situated in the Bankura district of West Bengal, is the seat of ancient culture of Bengal. Adorned by magnificent art and architecture, this city tells the tale of the golden era of the state. The city of Bishnupur encloses within its boundaries a number of glorious monuments, like Shyam Ray Temple, Jorbangla and Radhey Shyam Temple.