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  • Republic Day Parade

    Republic Day Parade

    The impressive Republic Day Parade is held every year in Delhi on the anniversary of the formation of the Indian Republic, and serves to showcase the country's military might. Marching columns represent the armed forces, accompanied by armoured vehicles, military bands, decorated floats and folk dancers. Although it is primarily a military parade, the many floats showcase different cultures and territories within the hugely culturally diverse country. Highlights include a display presented by the Indian Air Force and the procession of the camel mounted Border Security Force contingent, which is the only camel mounted military force in the world. Before the parade the prime minister lays a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, a memorial to unknown soldiers at the India Gate, which is followed by two minutes of silence in tribute to the many who died and suffered to win India's independence. Medals and special awards are given out by the president on this day as well. The parade is the main event but the celebrations are actually marked over multiple days, beginning with the impressive pomp and ceremony of the military parade and ending on the evening of the 29th January with the Beating Retreat Ceremony that takes place in Raisina Hills and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, next to the President's Palace.

  • Festival of Holi

    Festival of Holi

    Delhi puts on a colourful face in March for the light-hearted Festival of Holi, celebrating the triumph of good over evil. Holi is the first major Hindu festival of the year and is celebrated joyously. The exuberant spring festival starts on the night of full moon, when bonfires are lit on street corners to clear the air of evil spirits. The next morning sees the streets full of people of all ages chasing each other and throwing pots of brightly-coloured powder pigment over each other in uninhibited mischief. The fun ends at noon, when everyone retires to wash off the paint and finish the day relaxing. Although the powder play is visually stunning and lots of fun, it can be a challenge to get all the pigment off your skin, hair and clothes afterwards - people are encouraged to use the traditional natural pigments that are better for the environment and the body, and these do come off far more easily. Although Holi is celebrated all over India, it reaches a unique fever-pitch in Delhi and travellers are strongly advised to coincide their time in Delhi with this unforgettable spectacle. Foreigners are enthusiastically included in the festival, which is all about friendliness and happiness.

  • Diwali (Festival of Lights)

    Diwali (Festival of Lights)

    India's most popular traditional festival, with its origins deeply rooted in Hindu mythology, turns the streets of Delhi (and all major cities in India) into a carnival each year. And while Diwali (the 'Festival of Lights') is extremely important for Hindus, it is also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs, meaning that the general air of festivity is enjoyed by everyone. Traditionally, all houses are decorated with earthenware lamps and candles for the occasion, and the sound of firecrackers can reach deafening proportions - in fact, so many fireworks are usually set off during Diwali that they have been blamed for causing a spike in air pollution levels! Neighbourhoods generally bristle with fun rides, food stalls and curio-sellers during the festival and there is plenty to see and do. Keen shoppers should note that it is customary for people to buy new clothes and household utensils, and to exchange gifts (usually sweets or perfume) during Diwali. Diwali is traditionally celebrated over five days, but festivities always reach fever-pitch on a single day and usually only one day is marked for Diwali on a calendar. Rituals and celebrations do vary slightly from region to region in India but the festival is celebrated all over the country.

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