So here we go on with the list of festivals of Kolkata that take place throughout the year:
1. Saraswati Puja(Usually in the months of January or February)
2. Basanti Durga Puja(Spring season- mostly during March)
3. Poila Boishakh(Usually on the 14th or 15th of April)
4. Jamai Shoshti(Usually in the months of May or June)
5. Durga Puja(September to October)
Perhaps one of the grandest festivals of the state, Durga Puja of Kolkata is famous worldwide for the huge celebrations and the faith that comes with the victory of Good over Evil. The festival is a massive celebration in the name of Goddess Durga who defeated the shape-shifting demon Mahisasura after a ten-day battle. The day is known as Vijay Dashmi. The celebrations are truly on a different level altogether with roads being ten times more crowded than the usual (mind you the usual crowd there is unusually large!)with people going out for their last minute shopping sessions and for sightseeing the extensive pandals that flock the city. The city sure has some of the best artistically made pandals which draw attention from all around the world. The city loses itself during the 10 days of celebration.
6. Lakshmi Puja(A week after Vijay Dashmi)
7. Kali Puja(Late October or November)
8. Bhai Phota(Around November)
9. Dover Lane Music Festival
(In the month of January)
Dover Lane Music Festival is a unique Indian classical music festival that is held annually in the Nazrul Mancha auditorium in Kolkata. The three day long festival is lit from dawn to dusk and invites prominent personalities of classical music from all over the world. Aside from the music stalwarts and high end personalities, young artists and blooming musicians are also encouraged to perform in the festival. Over the years, the festival has gained tremendous popularity and has also earned itself a lot of sponsors. Aside from the cultural music, you can also enjoy the snacks and refreshments from the stalls standing outside.
10. Calcutta Book Fair
(Usually in the months of January and February)
Now known as the International Kolkata Book Fair, Calcutta Book Fair was first held in Kolkata in 1976 and has become a rage lately, especially among book lovers. Believed to be the largest fair, not just in town but also in all of Asia, the fair is mostly held for the general public instead of the distributors and retailers. With a total footfall of around 2 million visitors, the book fair also has candy floss vendors, pinickers, singers, songwriters and tid bit sellers etc., present in the event. The fair is held on a large scale and has become synonymous with the culture of Kolkata. It won’t be surprising to find people who visit the fair everyday till it’s duration.
11. Kolkata International Cinema Festival(Held in mid-November for 7 days)
Kolkata International Cinema Festival is a week long cultural film festival organised in Kolkata. The festival showcases a range of Indian and International films, and is considered to be one of the most loved and most awaited festivals in town, especially by cinema lovers. Organized by West Bengal Film Centre under the West Bengal Government, the festival was founded in 1995 and has been growing ever since. It is one of the most grand affairs in town and is the second oldest international film festival in India. Besides, it features a fine range of documentaries, short films, art films and regional films as well as contemporary films.
12. National Theatre Festival(Usually held in the month of December)
National Theatre Festival, also known as Nandikar’s National Theatre Festival is an annual theatre festival held in the city of Kolkata inside the Academy of Fine Arts. The festival was started in 1984 by a theatre group called the Nandikar’s. But now is an important cultural celebration in town. The festival also features and showcases contemporary and avant garde performances from theatre troupes in India and from other countries like the United States, Sweden, Nepal, Switzerland, Pakistan, and Bangladesh etc. In addition to that, you can also attend workshops and exhibitions that are conducted on the venue itself.
13. International History & Heritage Exhibition(Usually held in the month of February)
International History & Heritage Exhibition is an annual event organized by the museum - Sabarna Sangrahashala located in Saptarshi Bhawan in Kolkata. The four day programme is based on different themes and showcases important relics and resources from history. There is also a section where one neighbouring country (to India) is selected and in depth detail and information is shared about its history, traditions and cultural ties with India. Besides, there are several talk shows, quizzes and cultural programmes going on simultaneously, in which you can participate.
These are some of the festivals which Kolkata is really famous for and these help in realizing the importance and significance of festivals in a Bengali household. Kolkata is full of life and gusto. The mere numbers of celebrations that take place throughout the year are a mere testament to the everlasting and undying spirit of the people around here. It is indeed a remarkable place to be in!