Gangaur is one of the oldest and the most important festivals of Rajasthan. It is celebrated in all the districts of the state with equal excitement. “Gangaur” literally means the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The festival is all about worshipping Goddess Parvati. Married women pray the goddess for the prosperity of their husbands while the unmarried women pray to get a good husband in future.
Gangaur festival is celebrated in the Chaitra Month (March) every year. According to the Hindu calendar, this month starts the New Year for Hindus. This month also marks the end of winter season and the beginning of summers.
Gangaur is an 18-day festival and is celebrated with full zeal and excitement by the local people. Females apply Mehndi on their hands and palms and wear beautiful and vibrant colored clothes.
A “Juloos” (procession) of Gangaur starts from the Zanani-Deodhi of the City Palace and goes to various parts of the city and concludes at a place near Talkatora. The “Juloos” comprises of bullock carts, chariots, old palanquins etc.
Teej is another important festival of Rajasthan. It is similar to Gangaur wherein the women worship Goddess Parvati and pray for the well-being of their husbands. This festival includes folk dance performances by the ladies. Folk songs are also sung on this occasion.
Ladies wear new - “laheria” printed - clothes and adorn themselves with a lot of jewellery. They gather at a common place and pray to the goddess. Swings are tied across the trees and the women swing to welcome “Sawan”.
The sweets of the occasion are “Ghevar” and “Pheeni”.
As the name suggests, this festival is all about decorating elephants. This festival is celebrated on the full moon day of Phalgun Poornima in the month of February/March.
It is celebrated on a day before Holi. Lord Ganesh is worshipped on this occasion.
For this celebration, elephants are pleasantly prepared and dressed with brilliant and weaved velvet floor coverings and parasols and other overwhelming adornments like enormous elephant gems and anklets decked with bells.
Complicated customary Indian motifs are then painted on their bodies. Ear danglers and shaded brocade scarves decorate their ears and necks. Their tusks arejeweled up by embellishing them with gold and silver wrist trinkets and rings.
Sheetla Mata Fair
A huge fair is held at Sheel Ki Doongri, Chaksu to appease Goddess Durga whose fury, it is believed, can cause smallpox disease.
According to legends, Sheetla Mata is the deity who leads to plagues and epidemics when angry. So to please her and calm her down, devotees pray before the deity and make several offerings as per the customs. Devotees across the country come to visit the temple of the Sheetla Mata and to attend the fair. People prepare various kinds of foods on this auspicious day, termed as Sheetla Asthami and make a visit to offer their prayers and Puja to the deity on this fair.
Daily Aarti, the prayer is done to the deity that is performed by the local Pujaris, Brahmins. The food is offered to the goddess and this food is termed as Prasad and includes Rabri, Bajra and curd. These three are the core requisites of the Prasad and as per local lingo; it is referred to as Baseda. There are also numerous rituals as well as religious activities that take place during the fair. People give food to old & some needy people to seek their holy blessings.
Every year, January 14 is celebrated as the kite festival or “Makar Sankranti” in Jaipur.
People enjoy this festival by flying kites. It has been the most well-known occasion as of late with even tourists participating in different kite flying activities. People fly kites of different colours and sizes and the whole atmosphere becomes absolutely mesmerising
Kites of every shade of indigo, ochre, red, blue, yellow, green, fushcia, indigo, ochre, pink, orange against the blue January sky is a dazzling sight. From dawn to dusk, people of all ages fly kites rejoicing in the spirit of the day. Crowded rooftops, fun-loving rivalry to outdo each other, and delicious feast are the hall-marks of the day.
People are seen indulging in the appetizing flavors of sweets prepared specially for the day.