India is a land which is home to not just one or two religions but numerous known and unknown ones. Since olden times, religion and its beliefs have been ruling people's mind, creating a long-lasting impact on them. As time progressed further, not only the spiritual connection to God but also the ethnicity of the people has given birth to some of the most unusual festivals and events which are strictly followed to maintain a balance in the followers of faith.
While some of them left us with a big question that they are traditional ritual which are followed in the name of religion, then there is comes rational thinking which rises the question behind these festivals. Have a look at some of the most unusual festivals which are celebrated across the country.
Gauchar Mela, Uttarakhand
Gauchar Mela is a week-long event which is held every year, which commences on the 14th of November and is a very popular event amongst the Garhwalis. The mela is actually a meeting held by traders and merchants which is also accompanied by dance and music performances.
Over the years, the mela has also grabbed the attention of the tourists who come here from across the country to witness this unique festival.
Kila Raipur Rural Olympics, Punjab
The Kila Raipur Rural Olympics is a festival which witnesses a large crowd, mostly of sports enthusiasts, not only from India but also from across the globe. This sporting event is held every year in the months of January and February in the village of Kila Raipur in Punjab.
People come here in large numbers to witness some of the most unusual sporting events, such as races between tractors, bull cart race, kabbadi, etc.
One would also come across some unusual activities which people exhibit here, such as pulling cars with their hair and teeth, lifting bicycles or ladders with their teeth along with daredevil stunts on bikes and horses.
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Aoleang Festival, Nagaland
Aoleang Festival is a major festival which is celebrated by the Konyak tribe and is celebrated on a grand scale in the month of April, to mark the beginning of the new year. This colourful festival is a meeting ground of people from across the Seven Sister States and is held for a period of 6 days.
During the festival the tribals dress up in beautiful and colourful traditional attires while performing to folk songs. Each day of the festival has a significance which is celebrated with the ethnic cuisine along with the locally produced rice beer.
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Bhagoriya Festival, Madhya Pradesh
A very strikingly different festival which is held before Holi is the Bhagoriya Festival. The festival is about a particular form of tribal wedding, where young boys and girls are allowed to elope together after choosing their partners.
During the festivals the boys from the tribes of Bhil and Bhilala put red powder on the face of the girl he would like to marry and if the girl is ready, she repeats the same. In case the girl refuses, the boy is given another chance to persuade her and win her heart.
PC: Rohit Jain
Pulikali in translation means Leopard/Tiger's Play. This event is a recreational folk performance which is performed by trained artists to entertain people during the Onam celebration in Kerala, especially in the town of Thrissur, which is fondly called the cultural capital of Kerala.
The performers are painted like tigers in bright yellow, red, black, blue, etc. and as hunters who dance to the beats of the Chenda drum. The event is said to be over 200 years old and was first organised by the then Maharaja of Cochin to celebrate the wildlife. The tradition is still carried on and gets better year after year.
Thaipoosam, Tamil Nadu
Celebrated in Tamil Nadu during the Tamil month of Thai, Thaipoosam is a festival which is celebrated in honour of Lord Murugan receiving his lance or vel from his mother Pravathi to destroy the evil army of Tarakasura.
Devotees undertake a 48-day fast and many of them pierce their bodies with hooks, skewers and vels. Some of them even pull chariots, tractors, etc. with the hooks pierced in their skin; others pierce their tongue and cheek to impede speech and enter into a trance with the incessant drumming and chanting.
PC: William Cho