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A number of religious and cultural festivals are celebrated in the Mumbai city of India. Read about each major festival of Bombay.

Mumbai Festivals

Mumbai FestivalsMumbai city is home to a large number of people, belonging to different religions and cultures. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Christians, Sindhis, Zoroastrians, etc, live together peacefully in the city. Since Bombay is a multi-cultural and multi-lingual city, festivals of all kinds are celebrated here. On one hand, pandals are set up for Ganesh Chaturthi and on the other, feasts are organized on Eid. Some of the festivals celebrated in Mumbai are specific to the city, while some are celebrated through Maharashtra and even all over India. In the following lines, we have provided information on the major festivals of Bombay.

Banganga Festival
Banganga Festival is organized by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation in the month of January. The Banganga Tank serves as the venue of the festival, which is basically a musical show that is intended to promote the culture of Maharashtra. Virtuoso artists come form different parts of the country to take part in this extravaganza. So, if you are interested in music, be sure to attend the festival.

Elephanta Festival
Elephants Festival is organized in the magnificent Elephanta caves, situated on the Elephanta Island. It is held in February, under the aegis of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation. With the beautifully illuminated Maheshmurti (Shiva Idol) providing the backdrop, the festival gains an added brilliance. Illustrious musicians and dancers from all over India country take part in this festival and give performances to a select audience, outside the caves.

Gudhi Padwa
Gudhi Padwa festival is celebrated throughout the state of Maharashtra. It falls on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April) and marks the beginning of the Hindu year. People celebrate this day with as much gaiety as is seen during New Year (1st January) celebrations throughout the world. They wake up early on this day, clean their houses and adorn them with colorful Rangoli. On the entrance, bamboo staffs (gudhi), decorated with silk and crowned with a brass goblet, are put up. The gudhi is supposed to provide protection from evil forces.

Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi is the most important festival of Maharashtra, celebrated with much enthusiasm and gusto by the Marathis. It falls in the month of August-September and is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, the Elephant-God. A few days (7 to 10) before the festival, Marathi people bring an idol of the lord to their home, decorate it and worship it. On Ganesha Chaturthi, the idol is carried in a huge procession to the sea and immersed in the waters, amidst drumbeats, devotional songs and dancing. With this, the festival comes to an end.

Nariyal Poornima
Nariyal Poornima is celebrated by the fishermen of Mumbai, in the month of August. Also known as the 'Coconut Day', it symbolizes the end of monsoon season. On this day, the fishermen paint their boats and light little oil lamps on them. Thereafter, they set the boat on sail and after going a little further in the sea, beak coconuts against their bows, as an offering to the Sea God. Flower garlands are also offered to the Sea God, to seek his blessings for the new fishing season.

Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated not only in Mumbai, but the whole of India. It falls in the month of August and it is on this day this sisters tie rakhis (sacred thread) on the wrists of their brothers. In return, the brothers promise to protect them against any evil influence.

Parsi New Year
Parsi New Year falls in the month of August-September. The day holds a great degree of significance for the Parsi community, since it was on this day that the Shahenshahi Zoroastrian community landed in India, when it migrated from Persia. This day is celebrated at the fire temple, where sumptuous feasts are held and people meet their friends and relatives.

Bandra Feast
Bandra Feast is organized at the Basillica of Mount Mary, situated in the Bandra locality of Mumbai. It is celebrated in the month of September and is regarded as the feast day of Virgin Mary. The feast goes on for a full week and starts on the Sunday closest to the birthday of the Virgin Mary, which is on 8th September. The feast is held in the form of a huge fair, which comprises of huge Ferris wheels, rides, bands and shows.

Diwali is one of the major festivals of Hindus, celebrated throughout the country. It falls on the 13th day of the Hindu month of Ashwin (October-November). A festival of lights, it signifies the victory of good over bad. It is believed that it was on this day that Lord Rama returned to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after killing the demon king Ravana and completing his fourteen years of exile. On this day, people worship Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi, seeking their blessings for prosperity and wealth. Houses are cleaned and decorated with lights, flowers and rangoli. People burn crackers and fireworks on Diwali and pray for a prosperous coming year.

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