Pongal Date is the winter solstice in the Hindu solar calendar. It is marked by the passing of the sun into the sign Capricorn. Pongal is celebrated on this date itself and also to celebrate the coming of spring. There are several ways of calculating the Hindu solar calendar, so Pongal date may vary by up to one day in various parts of India depending whether local custom dictates the use of the old or new Hindu calendar or astronomical tables.
‘Ugadi’ as the name ‘Yug-Adi’ suggests is celebrated on the first day of the first month of Telugu Year i.e. Chaitram. This day is celebrated as New Year Day by the people of Andhra Pradesh. This day is known for its ‘Ugadi Pacchadi’ preparation comprising of six tastes (shadruchi sammelan), each standing for a special character a man experiences in life. The ingredients of this preparation, though of different tastes or characters when mixed in definite proportions result in a delicious dish. The underlying idea conveys that the six faces of life mentioned underneath, should be handled by man and balanced in such a way as to make his life a beautiful one on earth.
Vinayak Chaturthi is celebrated with a lot of fervor and excitement in Hyderabad. Vinayak Chaturthi is celebrated to commemorate the day the Lord Ganesha or Vinayak was born. This festival is celebrated with a lot of dedication and devotion throughout the country and especially in Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad. It is customary to put up an enormous statue of the Lord Ganesha at the Khairatabad in Hyderabad.
MahaShivratri is celebrated with religious fervor all over the country. MahaShivratri falls on the 13th (or 14th) day of the dark half of ‘Phalgun’ (February-March). The literal meaning of Shivratri is “the night of Shiva Devotees believe that Lord Shiva was tied in knot with Parvati, on the auspicious day of Shivratri. Devotees pray to Lord Shiva and sing Shiva hymns for whole night. Special programs are organized on the occasion at Shiva temples all over the country. Mhashivratri is observed in great esteem not only in India but also in Nepal and Mauritius.Grand festivities are observed at Sri Kalahasti temple in Andhra Pradesh on the occasion of Mahashivratri.
Andhra Pardesh is one of the oldest state of India and was created by combining the old princely state of Hyderabad with the Telgu-speaking portions of the former state of Madras. Andhra Pradesh has traditional way of celebrating Diwali that is organized and celebrated throughout the state. The festival of light is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh together with other places of the country. It is a festival that revolves around Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. During the festival the whole country explodes into color and noise.
The festival of Goddess Durga Devi, the destroyer of evil, the incarnation of Goddess Parvathi Devi. This festival is celebrated for nine days, with Garba dances and Dandia Ras by the members of the Gujarati community, that go on the whole night. Even the Bengalis of late have begun to showcase their fun loving instincts at various venues in the city where cultural programmes are held.As this festival is an important one, all schools and educational institutions are closed for 10-12 days.
One interesting aspect is the “Bommala Kolluvu”, a display of dolls that are a heirloom, in every household till Diwali.
The most colourful festival in the Indian calendar,a day on which vibrant coloured water and powder is smeared on everybody. The riot of colours is a sigh to behold and the revelry really unmatched, with no one being spared and everyone being game. This festival is on a full moon night when an effigy called “Nathuram” is burnt. In the villages the bonfire is made of the scarecrow and hay, whilst in the city people make do with old furniture .
Pertaining and restricted to the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. A festival celebrated in the month of Aashad, which falls during the monsoon season. A unique, exciting and an important festival, dedicated to the worship of Goddess Maha Kali. During this 2 day festival the idol of the deity is taken around in a procession, amidst pulsating drum beats and burning of incense. Guardians of the deity called “Potharajus”,with their bodies smeared with turmeric and vermilion, present a scary sight with whips in their hands.
Every year gracious Hyderabad comes alive during the Deccan Festival. There are cultural programmes with ghazal nights, qawalis and mushairas, typical of the city. A pearl and bangle fair displays creations in lustrous pearls and multi-hued bangles that are local specialities. A food fest serves the best of Hyderabad’s famed cuisine to visitors.
The Lumbini Festival in Andhra Pradesh is celebrated every year, to relive the Heritage of Buddhism in the state. This Festival in Andhra Pradesh, celebrated in Nagarjunasagara in Hyderabad. Lumbini is the place where Gautama Buddha was born, and one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site. This Lumbini festival is organized by the Department of Tourism of the Government of Andhra Pradesh every year for these three days, to highlight the Buddhist impression of the state.
Visakha Utsav is very important for the people of Vishakhapatnam. The fair portrays the many potential present in the region. Huge number of people throngs at the destined venues to enjoy cultural programs, sports activities and cuisine competitions and preparations from far and near.
The birthday celebration of Jesus Christ begins on Christmas Eve, with midnight Mass and Prayers at most of the churches,and everyone dressed in their finery. Dances and Balls are held all over the city in Clubs, Hotels, Resorts, etc. Irrespective of religion, everybody is in the mood to celebrate. There are fairs, fetes, melas ,etc held all over town and revelry is the name of the game.
The most holy festival for the Muslims, the holy month of Ramzan is spent in prayers (5times a day). Fasting is a must from dawn to dusk. And as the sun sets,Hyderabad comes alive with the aromas of Haleem/Hareez,a spicy wheat dish cooked with lamb or chicken. Every Irani hotel (found in all street corners),has a huge vessel ensconced in a brick oven, dishing out this famous delicacy. Along with this dish all the other specialties of Hyderabad are made available throughout the night. In fact the city doesn’t sleep during this thirty day period, which also has the 3 Jagne-ki -Raats.
Tirumala Brahmotsavam is a Hindu festival celebrated annually at Tirumala Venkateswara Temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. The festival continues for 9 days in the months of September and October.It is believed that Lord Brahma was the first to start this festival. He worshiped Sri Balaji on the banks of the Pushkarini in Tirupati to thank him for the protection of mankind. Hence the festival bears his name ‘Brahmotsavam’ which means Brahma’s Utsav.
Tirupati Tirumala Brahmotsavam is the most important festival of Andhra Pradesh. This nine-day festival is observed with grand celebration at the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. Tirupati Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the month of September/ October.
Pongal is one of the most important festivals celebrated in South India. Like other states of this region, Pongal is celebrated with full fervor in Andhra too. This festival marks the harvest season. Each and every household in the state observe this four-day festival with merriment. Also known as ‘Harvest Festival’, Pongal celebrates the beginning of harvesting crops in the fields. Bhogi Festival, Surya Pongal, Mattu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal are the names given to the celebrations of four days. Pongal is celebrated in the month of January every year.
Rayalaseema Food and Dance Festival
One amongst the biggest cultural festivals, Rayalaseema Festival is celebrated to accentuate the art and cuisine of the area as well as the state. This festival is also organized by the Department of Tourism, Andhra Pradesh. During the festival, various works of art and cultural programmes gather the interest of every one. This festival also boasts of assorted cuisines of the state. Another interesting fact about the festival is that many famous personalities come here to give their performances. ‘Rayalaseema Food and Dance Festival’ is held in the month of October every year.