Festivals of India, December - 2016

Fairs / Festivals December 2016
Month Festival Place
December 08, 2016 Feast of Immaculate Conception All India
December 10, 2016 Hornbill Festival Nagaland
December 13, 2016 Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi All India
December 19, 2016 Goa Liberation Day Goa
December 28 to 31, 2016 Sunburn Festival Goa
Last Week of December Cochin Carnival Kochi
December 25, 2016 Christmas All India


Celebration of life in India, in the form of fairs and festivals, reaches a crescendo in December with a plethora of activities all over the country. Here are a few of them which you absolutely must not miss.

Feast of Immaculate Conception

When: 8th December, 2016

The Feast of Immaculate Conception is one of the most important Christian festivals, and is celebrated in Mary Immaculate Conception Church at Panjim built in 1541 as a chapel by the Portuguese, and thus reflects the Portuguese culture that permeates throughout Goa. The Feast is celebrated over a period of 3 days when there are a lot of festivities and a lively fair is held in the church square. The Immaculate Conception narrates the conception and birth of Christ in the Old Testament. The feast commemorates the divine conception of Christ by Virgin Mary.

Every morning during the week of the feast a colourful procession with the idol of Virgin Mary is taken out all over Goa.

Every night before the feast at 7.30 pm, there is a spectacular fireworks display in front of the church square and A big fair is organised in the church square

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Hornbill Festival, Nagaland

When: 10th December, 2016

The Hornbill festival showcases the spectacular natural beauty and the rich cultural heritage of this North East state in India.

This Festival has been named after the bird and is held at the Kisama Heritage Village, near the capital city of Kohima. The culture and tradition of the 16 tribes of Nagaland is showcased in this weeklong festival.

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Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, All India

When: 13th December, 2016

Mawlid (Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi) celebration is observed marking the birth of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Celebration of Mawlid takes place in Rabi' al-awwal, i.e. on the third month in the Islamic calendar. In some parts of the globe, like in Egypt the term Mawlid is used in a generic manner to mark birthday celebrations of historical religious figures like Sufi saints.

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Goa Liberation Day

When: 19th December, 2016

The liberation of Goa from the Portuguese with the help of the Indian Navy is celebrated as the Goa Liberation Day. It is indeed a historic day because with the annexure of Goa, the state of independence of India became complete. The day is celebrated with a lot of fanfare and festivities.

A torch light procession is taken out from three locations in Goa. The processions converge at the Azad Maidan where the martyrs of the independence struggle are honoured. There is active participation in drills and group dances by school children on the parade grounds.

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Sunburn Festival, Vagator Beach, Goa

When: 28th December to 31st December, 2016

Sunburn festival is Asia’s largest Electronic Music Festival held on the Vagator Beach in Goa. Music, dance, and more music with some head banging, is what this festival is all about.

Sunburn is a synergy of music, entertainment, food, shopping and lifestyle that attracts music tourism in India, with some of the world’s best DJs, from all genres of dance music, participating in the festival.

There are flea-markets selling local handicrafts and products. Adventure sports like zorbing, volleyball, bungee jumping and stunt biking are also available.

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Cochin Carnival, Kochi

When: Last Week of December

Every year in the last week of December the Cochin Carnival is held which can be traced back to the Portuguese New Year rivalry. The lovely port city of Kochi is a maze of festivities and fun, dominated by the colour white, during the carnival.

Unlike other festivals, white is the order of the day where colour is concerned.

Preparations for the carnival begin months in advance

Unique games and fairs are hosted all over Kochi

Children also actively participate in the festivities.

Impromptu competitions and activities like floor drawing, tug-of-war, bicycle race, swimming in the sea, beach volleyball, make the carnival a fun event.

The highlight is the spectacular procession to the sound of beating drums and music, led by a fully decorated elephant, taken out on New Year’s Day.

The spectacular fireworks display on 31st December at midnight, to usher in the new year, is the grand finale of the carnival.

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Christmas

When: 25th December

Christmas is a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ at the stroke of midnight. Christmas is one of the most secular celebrations, and people in India, belonging to every religion, get into the spirit of the season and celebrate Christmas.

Celebrations
  • A midnight mass is held and families walk together to the church to attend the mass, where carols are also sung.
  • The churches are beautifully lit up and decorated with Poinsettia flowers and candles.
  • The day of Christmas Eve many Christians follow the tradition of going from one home to another and singing Christmas Carols. They also have a Santa in tow.
  • The traditional Christmas North Star made of giant paper lanterns are hung by all outside the house.
  • In Southern India, Christians often put small oil burning clay lamps on the flat roofs of their homes to show their neighbours that Jesus is the light of the world.
  • Most Christians depict the nativity scene in their houses with clay figures in it.

After the midnight mass, it is the time for family and friends to get together and exchange gifts. Roast turkey or chicken served with an array of curries and sauces along with a 'traditional' rich fruit Christmas cake is the feast of this grand day.