New Year is around the corner and it’s the time of the year when you tend to reflect back at the year’s happenings. December is like the Saturday of the months, something you look forward to all year long. Pleasant weather, a hot beverage on cold mornings, end-of-the-year sales, cuddling in your blanket, Christmas, and what's there to not love about the last month of the year? December is also the month of celebrations, and there's something in store for everybody. Some festivals and events are culturally augmented, colourful, and lively and give an opportunity for families to get together and make merry. Do you feel the urge to step out and spend some time? Well if you are looking for reasons to escape or are still not able to make up your mind about the perfect way to bid adieu to the year look no further.
Here's a list of festivals and events in India you wouldn't want to miss this December:
1. Rann Utsav (Kutch)
The Rann Utsav or the Kutch Mahotsav is a celebration in the white sandy deserts of Kutch. During the Rann utsav tents are set up in the desert for the tourists, and the Government facilitates tourists the opportunity to experience the local culture, cuisine and hospitality.
When you look over the horizon at Rann of Kutch, the salty white sand merges with deep blue open sky and creates one of the most breathtaking scenery you would ever come across in life. The Rann Utsav celebrates life. The festival is a colouful spectacle on the white desert highlighting the vibrancy of the Kutch region’s culture and heritage. There's folk music, folk dances, shopping (local handcrafted goods), and more. You will be surrounded with culture from every direction at the festival. To top this experience, there are luxurious tents to spend the night in the white coloured desert. On full moon night during Rann Utsav, the region looks even more beautiful.
When: November 1, 2018, to February 20, 2019 Where: Rann of Kutch, Gujarat For more information: www.rannutsav.com
2. Magnetic Fields (Rajasthan)
Music festivals seem like a thing for Goa but Rajasthan has been contributing to India's festival scene competently, and Magnetic Fields is one of them. Held at a 17th-century fort in Alsisar (Rajasthan), this extravaganza music festival involves future-facing music from India and all across the globe. The festival presents new and fresh music concepts and experiences for the new age concert goers. Enjoy great music and hog on food and drinks in this 3-day event with an excellent line up of international artists including Daphni, Bicep, Midland, and Joy Orbison. Magnetic Fields Festival is a celebration of ancient India and the contemporary culture. With some amazing music, it also showcases art installations, yoga sessions and treasure hunts. You could also choose to stay in royal suites or in tent camps right under the stars. Make sure to have your tickets booked well in advance for a spectacular experience!
When: 14th December to 16th December 2018 Where: Alsisar, Shekhawati, Rajasthan For more information: www.magneticfields.in
3. Hot Air Balloon Festival (Karnataka)
Hosted in parts of Hampi, Mysore, and Bidar at the same time, the Hot Air Balloon festival involves swinging with the wind in a clear blue winter sky. This delightful hot air balloon ride not only gives a bird's eye view of heritage sites of Karnataka but also sails through the jungles of Karnataka, amidst the rich natural beauty with the backdrop of the vermillion setting sun. Looking at brightly coloured hot air balloons from the ground moving swiftly in the sky is a treat for the eyes. This is a 4-day event hosted by Karnataka tourism to promote aero sports in the state.
When: The whole month of December Where: Hampi, Mysore, and Bidar
4. Serendipity Arts Festival (Goa)
The Serendipity Arts Festival is a unique festival which sets itself apart by uniting the creative disciplines and showcasing visual, performative and culinary art practices. Founded in 2016 with an aim to foster the development of the underdog and growing art communities across the nation, the festival maintains its depth and rigour by making arts easily accessible, inclusive, and highly educational. More than 90 projects will be presented in a week starting 15th December 2018.
When: 15th December to 22nd December 2018 Where: Panjim, Goa For more information: www.serendipityartsfestival.com
5. The Tamara Carnival (Coorg)
Nestled in the charming hill station Coorg, The Tamara Carnival is a one of a kind 10-day festival which celebrates life and culture and how. With a great line up of spectacular performances - Jazz music, Latin dance, folk music, magic shows, local delicacies, stargazing under the clear sky, and more, the fest provides an exclusive experience for all art lovers. The Tamara Carnival will make sure you enter the new year with a bang!
When: 22nd December to 31st December 2018 Where: The Tamara Coorg, Kodagu, Karnataka For more information: www.thetamaracarnival.com
6. Poush Mela (Santiniketan)
Santiniketan's Poush Mela is a vibrant and colourful carnival of the rural population. The Mela which is attended by millions of tourists from across the globe is celebrated with great excitement and joy. Celebrated on the 7th day of the Bengali month Poush, the Mela brings out the true essence of Bengali culture. Different cultures from different parts of the country come together and rejoice here. The carnival comes to life together with talented Baul musicians, local village artists, and tribal dancers, local village artists.
When: 24th to 26th December Where: Santiniketan, Birbhum district, West Bengal
7. Madras Music Season (Chennai)
With over 2000 performances of classical dance, drama, music, lectures, discussions, spiritual discourse, and more, the Madras Music Festival is a celebration of classical South India. The festival involves performances by renowned artists from all over the country and also allows promising, young and budding artists to display their talent. This cultural fiesta involves Bharat Natyam, violin recitals, classical vocals, among others.
When: 15th December to 31st December 2018 Where: Several venues in Chennai, Tamil Nadu
8. Hornbill Festival
Called the “Festival of Festivals”, the Hornbill Festival is an annual celebration at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama near Kohima. The festival is a mélange of the many tribes of Nagaland and a celebration of their rich culture. The festival is an extravaganza of the local traditions as well as art, food, sports and music. Photo frenzy travellers will have to catch up with the dances, performances, parades, games, and ceremonies that go on till the evenings. The Hornbill Festival is indeed a window to Nagaland.
When: December 1-10 Where: Kohima, Nagaland
10. Galdan Namchot
It is mainly celebrated to commemorate the birthday and the Buddhahood of the Tibetan saint-scholar, Tsongkhapa. Tsongkhapa was the founder of the Gelukpa School that preached Tibetan Buddhism during the 14th century. In the later years, this Gelukpa School emerged as a major and dominant monastic order in the central Tibet region. Galdan Namchat Festival is celebrated with a grand fervour by the people in Ladakh. All the monasteries, as well as other buildings, are lit up to present a beautiful sight across Ladakh. The Galdan Namchot marks the beginning of the New Year celebrations in Ladakh. A custom of the Galdan Namchot Festival is the preparation of all kinds of traditional dishes. An interesting display of fire and light is created by the whirling of the flaming torches which are then thrown away in a gesture to bid farewell to the old year and to welcome the new.
When: December 5 Where: Leh
11. Perumthitta Tharavad Kottamkuzhy
The annual ten-day Theyyam festival of Perumthitta Tharavadu Kottamkuzhy of Kasaragod district is prominent among the Theyyam festivals found in Kerala. Perumthitta Theyyam festival is one of the oldest ritual art forms of Kerala where most of the Theyyam forms are on display.
Theyyam dance is not a single dance form rather a collection of about 400 dance forms each representing a mythological, historical character. The festival is a visual treat and keeps alive the age-old tradition of Thayyams.
12. The Winter Festival at Mount Abu
The Winter Festival is held every year during the last week of December. The festival celebrates the warmth and cheerfulness of the people of the hill station. This three days colourful festival is organised by the Rajasthan Tourism and Municipal Board, Mt. Abu.
The Winter Festival features traditional dancing, concerts, fairs, and a fireworks display. The festival opens with a procession to Nakki Lake. The grand finale of the festival is made brighter by a display of dazzling fireworks all three days. These festivals are culturally enriching and will surely leave you in high spirits. So get out of that comfy blanket, put on your favourite winter jacket and make the most of your December before 2019 ends.