2017 Bank Holidays in India India is one diverse country with a varying range of communities and religions. As expected, the holidays and festivals too will be diverse and celebrated with much pomp and splendor. People of the country look forward to these dates and enjoy these festivities with their loved ones. Though the list of festivals in India is endless, not all of them are national holidays. The list of India’s bank holidays 2017 is a group effort by the members of 123NewYear to bring to its respected readers a compiled list of holidays over the year with their respective dates and a brief idea about its traditions and mythological history as well as an insight of how people in India celebrate these holidays. Here’s a list of India’s bank holidays in 2017: Holidays in India Date Description Republic Day 26th January 2017 This day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Indian Constitution on 26th of January, 1950. It was a major finishing step on the part of the country to become an independent republic. All government offices, banks and post offices are closed on this day and there may be increased security especially in New Delhi as well as in the state capitals of the country. This day is lived in the true patriotic spirit of the country and includes military parades and display of the national flag. Representative members of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force are seen taking part in the parades. New Delhi hosts a grand parade during which the prime minister of the country lays a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate in remembrance of soldiers who had given up their lives for the country. The president of India also takes the military salute during the parade and awards and medals of bravery are given to worthy recipients. Holi 13th March 2017 “This is the most colorful and vibrant festival of India and celebrates the arrival of Spring which is a season of mirth and hope. This festival dates back to the legends of Holika Dahan and Radha-Krishan. The tradition of Holika Dahan involves the lighting of bonfires which symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Also known as Basant Utsav, this festival is all about putting ‘gulaal’ and color on each other’s loved ones. Sweets like gujiyas are eaten on this day. Temples are also seen to be beautifully decorated on this day with the idol of Radha being moved to and fro on a swing by devotees. People are also sanctioned to drink the famous concoction of ‘Mahadev’ known as ‘Bhaang’ on this occasion which is anyways filled with laughter, love, joy, frolic and colors. “ Rama Navami 5th April 2017 Rama Navami is a Hindu festival which celebrates the birth of Lord Rama who is also believed to be the seventh avatar of Vishnu. It falls on the 9th day of the month of Chaitra and is a very important festival for especially the Vaishnava sect of the Hindus. Temples are decorated along with recitals of the holy Ramayana taking place there and images and statues of Lord Rama is highly adorned. In Ayodha which is the birthplace of Lord Rama, a big fair is held on that day. In South India, this festival is led for nine days with devotees fasting and consuming only fruits and milk for this period. On the main day, a sacred fire ceremony or ‘havan’ is organized. “Mahavir Jayanti 9th April 2017 “This is one of the most important festivals of the Jain community and commemorates the birth of Lord Mahavira who was the last Tirthanka and the founder of Jainism. It is always celebrated on the 13th day of the month of rising moon called Chaitra. The traditions of this day include visiting Tirthankar temples and shrines. Mahavir statues are bathed with milk and offered flowers, rice and fruits. Also, long processions leave with pictures of Mahavir and his life history and teachings are preached. Some followers also keep a fast on this day and kheer is prepared as custom. Good Friday 14th April 2017 ” Also known as Black Friday or Easter Friday, this day commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is a gazetted holiday in the country and Christians attend special church services or pray on this day. Some of them keep a fast or don’t consume meat on this day of mourning. Parades and public plays to portray the life of Jesus Christ are also held. After the afternoon service in churches, devotees have a bitter drink which is prepared from vinegar and bitter leaves. May Day 1st May 2017 ” This day employees are given a day off work in the purpose of paying a tribute to the numerous people who had fought for better rights of worker class decades ago. Also known as Labor day, people generally relax and spend time with family and friends on this day. Id-Ul-Fitr 26th June 2017 “This is an important religious holiday for the Muslims of the country which marks the end of the holy month of fasting called Ramadan. This day begins with the Muslims offering Eid prayers in mosques after which they go to the graveyards and burial sites to honor and remember their deceased family members. Then they come home to greet each saying ‘Eid Mubarak’ and exchange gifts and give money (called Eidi) to the children. They wear new clothes on this day and women apply henna on their hands. The Eid feast comprises of a dish of toasted syrupy Vermicelli with milk and dry fruits called ‘sevaiyan’. Some of the most well-known masjids of India are Jama Masjid (Delhi), Aishbagh Idgah (Lucknow) and Mecca masjid (Hyderabad). Independence Day “15th August 2017 “This is an annual holiday to remember the date of 15th August, 1947 when India had become an independent nation. On this day, the people of India pay tribute to the leaders and freedom fighters for whom this independence had been possible. During this time, all the government buildings are illuminated with lights and the Indian flag is hoisted from buildings. The president of the country delivers the ‘Address to the Nation’ on the eve of this day and the prime minister hoists the Indian Flag and gives a speech at the Red Fort in the country capital. Cultural and flag hoisting programs are held in schools, colleges and other organizations. Movies about Indian freedom fighters are shown on the television and patriotic songs are sung. Dussehra 30th September 2017 “Also known as Vijaya Dashami, this Hindu festival falls on the 10th of the month of Ashvin according to the Hindu calendar. It preaches the victory of good over evil and its believed that on this day Lord Rama killed Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. The preceding nine days of Dussehra are jointly known as ‘Navratri’ and is devoted to the worship of mother goddess Shakti. On Vijaya Dashami, plays of Ramayana known as Ramleela is performed along with burning of huge effigies of Ravana known as ‘Dasha Hara’ in Northern India. In South India, Devi Durga is worshipped along with displays of colorful figurines called Golu. In Bengal, Devi Durga Idol is worshipped for five days and immersed in a river or pond on Dussehra. It is also auspicious to start a new business or purchase items like a car or home or jewellery on this day. Muharram 1st October 2017 This day marks the Islamic New Year for both the sects the Sunnis and the Shias. The Shia Muslims consider this to be a time of mourning remembering the deadly battle of Karbala and the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain. They wear black clothes and attend assemblies where incidents of the battle are narrated. They also avoid music, dance and no weddings take place during this period. They take out huge processions carrying taziyahs and walk barefoot with the sound of drums in the background. They weep loudly as an act of mourning and beat their chests known as matam. They also hit their bodies with chains or whips thus drawing out blood. The Sunni muslims on the other hand celebrate this day peacefully and keep fasts which are believed to be the most reward-able ones. Gandhi Jayanti 2nd October 2017 This day marks the anniversary of the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on October 2nd, 1869. Gandhi is considered to be the father of the nation and is remembered for his valuable contribution in India’s fight for freedom. Events like prayer services, ceremonies to commemorate and pay tribute to him, presentation of awards and showing of films and books on his life are held. People sing the song ‘ Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram’ which used to be the favourite song of ‘Bapu’. The places which host major celebrations on this day are 1) The Martyr’s Column at the Gandhi Smriti in New Delhi, 2)The Raj Ghat on the banks of the river Yamuna in New Delhi and 3) The Triveni Sangam i.e. the common meeting place of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Diwali 19th October 2017 Popularly known as the festival of lights, it celebrates the concept of victory of good over evil and hope over despair. This festival ritualy extends over a period of five days but the main day coincides with the darkest new moon night of the Hindu month of Kartika. During this time people clean their houses and decorate them with lights and ‘diyas’. On Diwali night, people dress up in new clothes and perform in family pujas. They also exchange gifts and sweets among friends and family. Christmas Day 25th December 2017 Christmas is the festival that marks the birthday of Jesus Christ and is a joyous occasion all over the world. India is no exception as Christians attend church services and prepare special Christmas treats for the big day. Malls are decorated in colors of red and white and green and Christmas trees are set up. Bakeries get filled with Christmas cakes and cookies. People also go shopping during this time to buy presents for their near and dear ones.