India is a land of diversity, with communal diversity topping the charts. Mumbai sure is one of the most brilliant examples of places that depict communal harmony one gets to witness in India. Many festivals are celebrated in Mumbai. Even though Mumbai is typical of Marathi culture, Mumbai is a place where people of all religions blend into one. The city celebrates festivals of all religions with as much fervor as the festivals innate to Maharashtrian culture. Be it Holi, Diwali, Eid, Guru Nanak Jayanti, or Ganesh Chaturthi, Mumbai is one land where people of all cultures and all religions celebrate all the festivals with utmost zeal and enthusiasm.
The major festival of Mumbai, however, remains, the Ganesh Chaturthi. This festival marks the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu God of Wisdom. Nowhere else in India is Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated with as much magnificence as in Mumbai. This festival sees the massive engagement of statue makers who make Clay statues of the Lord Ganesha. The statutes presented in varied sizes are a sight to see. The festival is 10 days long. Many people place the Lord Ganesha idol at their home for different durations as per their vows. It concludes with the immersion of the Lord Ganesha statutes in the sea. People, dancing and singing devotional songs, flock out in large processions to do the immersions.
The total visarjan parade ( Immersion procession) may take 12 hours and more. Lal Baug Ka Raja, GSB Seva Mandal, Ganesh Gali, Lal Baug, Khetwadi ka Raja, Khetwadi and Andheri Ka Raja, Andheri are most visited Ganapati Pandals. Many celebrities visit these Pandals within the 10 days period. At this hour the whole Mumbai Police department and Mumbai Fire Brigade keeps vigil for the well-being of the devotees. These pandals spend in million during the festival on decoration and security. The Prestigious ‘GSB Seva Mandal’ in King Circle area of Matunga, Mumbai’s richest Ganesh mandal has been insured for a whopping Rs 265 crore last year. The insurance covers the idol, ornaments, volunteers, workers, managing committee among other things. Many organizations spend the considerable amount of income for social services and to help the poor in their locality.
Mumbai is also a home to many Christians, so Christmas is another celebration to celebrate in Mumbai like no other place in India. This is one festival where all of Mumbai gets into the joyous mood. Whole Mumbai anticipates Christmas shopping and new year festivities. Churches are beautifully decorated. Christians and also people of other faiths gather to attend mass on the 24th December midnight. Yachts and ships are designed with lights. Inns orchestrate uncommon projects with celebrities to check the new year. Numerous extraordinary shows for music and dancing are orchestrated in clubs and open space of specific territory for festivity.
New year in Mumbai is nothing less than a festival for Mumbaikars. The ever fast-paced city gets into the high spirit mode to welcome the new year with happiness and fun along with family and friends. People from different cities visit Mumbai to enjoy this festive season. From streets to house parties to high-end hotels, clubs and pubs Mumbaikars are all in for it. Marine Drive, Gateway of India, several ships, Chowpatty, Juhu, Gymkhanas of Mumbai, and all road are decorated and full with people Honking and celebrating New year is a scene to watch.
Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is another major festival celebrated in Mumbai. It is celebrated for 3 days. People worship Goddess Laxmi and hold a prayer service in their homes and offices and buy new accessories/ things in the belief that it brings good luck for the entire year. Schools observe 22 days holidays all over Mumbai for this occasion, Employees gets a bonus ( double salary). The entire Mumbai is lit with lights and oil lamps. People exchange sweets and gifts with each other. The firecrackers and fireworks form a spectacular sight, especially at Nariman Point. People gather with friends and family to witness the beauty of the Queens Necklace (Marine Drive). Diwali marks the New Year as per Hindu Calendar.
Eid is celebrated with love and devotion in Mumbai. Not only the Muslim community, but the entire Mumbaikars exchange wishes on this occasion. The festival is celebrated twice a year. Muslims offer prayers, cook delicious meals and wear new clothes, among other celebrations.
Another major festival that brings colors to the land of Mumbai is the Holi. The Festival of Colours, Holi is all about spreading joy and colors and playing with colors.
Gudhi Padava marks the New Year of the Maharashtrian Calendar. The day is rejoiced all over Mumbai. Maharashtrian sweets are the essence of this festival. Jan 1, the New Year as per English calendar, is also grandly celebrated in Mumbai.
The Parsi community is a major component of Mumbai’s population and holds significant historical value as well. The Parsi New Year is celebrated at the Fire Temple. The festival sees a grand celebration by the Parsi community.
Navratri is yet another festival celebrated widely in Mumbai. The Garba dancing and the Gujarati food are the peculiar of this festival. The festival lasts for nine days Many people fast or vow for being bare feet in order to please Goddess Durga and Amba Mata. Various events are also held throughout Mumbai. Although it’s a Gujarati festival, People from various walks of life participate with zeal in the Garba and Dandiya events held all over Mumbai. The Garba events is a delightful sight to watch ladies wearing traditional chaniya and choli and with bridal make up and moving to the beats of Gujarati music, with celebrity singers performing on a huge live band. Falguni Pathak and Priti-Pinky are the famous artists to enjoy dandiya with.
The fisher folks are an integral part of Mumbai’s population. They celebrate Nariyal Poornima (or the Coconut Day) each year to mark the end of the monsoons. This marks the celebration of the new fishing season.
The birth of Lord Krishna, the Janmashtami, is also celebrated actively in Mumbai.It is learned that freshly churned butter was Lord Krishna’s favorite, so to mark this occasions many contests are held all over Mumbai where people form human pyramids as high as 43 feet to reach up to the dangling pots of butter. Several competitions are held all over Mumbai and prize money runs in lacs of rupees. Now days even women are actively participating in these competitions.
Mumbai witnesses grandeur on almost all the festivals of all religions and cultures. Some other festivals celebrated in Mumbai that requires mention among others are the Mahaveer Jayanti, Maha Shivratri, The Makarsankranti, Dussehra, Moharram, Buddha Purnima, Guru Nanak Jayanti, and the Bandra Feast.
The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) organizes a musical extravaganza, the Banganga Festival, every January to boost the classical music and the Maharashtrian culture. Top artists from across the country perform in this festival. The government has declared official Holiday on the most of festival day to celebrate.
26th January, 15th August, and 2nd October are praised as national Celebration. Government and armed forces with all students of schools and universities taking an interest and participating in the parade, everyone feels to be a pleased & proud Indian. Lofty honors are disseminated among a portion of the best officers in the diverse field and furthermore, youngsters are assigned and granted with fortitude honor and awards each year.
The MTDC also organizes the Elephanta Festival at the Elephanta Island. Special food for visitors, dancing and singing performances are some of the highlights of the event.
Enriched with cultural diversity, Mumbai is the land of communal harmony where people of all communities gel into one and celebrate together on all occasions.
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