The state of Karnataka has its own set of festivals, which have a special significance for the people of Karnataka. The festivals of Karnataka unfolds the rich cultural attributes of Karnataka in quite an articulate way.This state has a multi-religious population and many religious festivals are celebrated harmoniously. People of different faiths seem to immerse themselves completely in following the religious traditions with utmost veneration. This state in fact shares equal enthusiasm and fervor of celebrating the religious and traditional festivals with the rest of the country. Besides the religious festivals there are some festivals, which showcases the cultural wealth of the state, which is again represented vibrantly in myriad colors and forms. Then there are a host of festivals, which are linked, with the life style of the people and are celebrated with equal pomp and show. The fairs following the festivals in the state of Karnataka plays an important role in the commercial life of the people apart from being the sources of entertainment.
One of the main Hindu festivals of Karnataka is Dussehra. The rulers of the Vijayanagar Dynasty used to celebrate this festival in a much extravagant manner. In the following years the celebration became a tradition. The festival was celebrated at Mysore with much pomp and show. A Durbar was held for consecutive nine days and on the tenth day a procession was taken out with elephants, colorful folks and much more.
In the state of Karnataka, Makar Sankranti is a day of goodwill and friendship. This festival is a celebration of the occasion of the of the sun to the north (Uttarayana). Sesame Ladoos and sugar drops are distributed among the masses as a symbol of the need to be generous and kind to everyone. The ancient customs and the spiritual rites are also observed with great veneration. Women wear new clothes, new glass bangles and hold get-togethers to share sweets and gifts. A new bride is given ornaments made of sugar drops and her new relatives are invited to meet and welcome her at a turmeric and mercury celebration.
Ganesh Chaturthi is another important festivals of Karnataka. This festival is observed in the honor of the elephant-God Lord Ganesh who is believed to the remover of all obstacles and bestower of prosperity and success. This is a festival held annually and is celebrated in the month of September. It is a ten days long event. Huge effigies of Lord Ganesh are established and worshipped. On the last day of the festival processions are taken out and then the idols are immersed in water. The seashore packed with a congregation of both male and female is a spectacular sight.
In the Kannada tradition Yugadi is known as the New Year`s Day and is one of the traditional festivals of Karnataka. This festival is celebrated in the month of March or early April according to the English calendar. On the special day the supper is lovingly prepared and the meal starts with jaggery and neem leaves. The mood of exuberance and ebullience is highly reflective of the fact that this festival is nothing but a bundle of joy.