Diwali, or Dipawali, is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians. Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that's also enjoyed by non-Hindu communities. For instance, in Jainism, Diwali marks the nirvana, or spiritual awakening, of Lord Mahavira on October 15, 527 B.C.; in Sikhism, it honors the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment. Buddhists in India celebrate Diwali as well.
Bonfire Night is a name given to various annual celebrations characterised by bonfires and fireworks. The event celebrates different traditions on different dates, depending on the country. Some of the most popular instances include Guy Fawkes Night (5 November) in Great Britain, which is also celebrated in some Commonwealth countries; Northern Ireland's Eleventh Night (11 July), and 5 November in Newfoundland and Labrador. In various parts of Ireland, Bonfire Nights are held on St John's Eve (23 June), Bealtaine eve (30 April) and Halloween (31 October). In Scandinavia it is known as Walpurgis Night (30 April). St John's Eve is also a very important celebration in Spain and Northern Portugal. Several other cultures also include night-time celebrations involving bonfires and/or fireworks.
‘Dandiya’ or ‘Dandiya Raas’ is a dance form performed during the time of Navratri, with its origins in Gujarat. The dance attire comprises of bamboo sticks painted in bright colors, women are dressed in three-piece attires called chaniya choli with bandhni dupattas, while men wear sherwani or kurta pyjama. The performers strike the wooden sticks in rhythmic beats, and a drummer standing in the center of the circle commands the rhythm of the dance. People assemble in two circular formations, with the inner circle moving in a clockwise direction, and the other circle moving in the opposite direction. Though often clubbed with another dance form called ‘Garba’, it differs from Garba. The celebrations start after the performance of the ritual of ‘aarti’, whereas Garba is performed prior to it.
Holi Festival One of the major festivals of India, Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar. Holi festival may be celebrated with various names and people of different states might be following different traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated. Preparations Entire country wears a festive look when it is time for Holi celebration. Market places get abuzz with activity as frenzied shoppers start making preparations for the festival. Heaps of various hues of gulal and abeer can be seen on the roadside days before the festival. Pichkaris in innovative and modern design too come up every year to lure the children who wish to collect them as Holi memorabilia and of course, to drench everybody in the town. Womenfolk too start making early preparations for the holi festival as they cook loads of gujiya, mathri and papri for the family and also for the relatives. At some places specially in the north women also make papads and potato chips at this time.