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Fairs and Festivals

Gangasagar Mela (January)

The largest fair of the State, Gangasagar Mela is a three-day event held in mid-January, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, at Sagar Dwip in District South 24 Parganas. Lakhs of pilgrims come for a holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal.

Kenduli Mela (January)

On the occasion of Makar Sankranti (mid-January) another fair is held at Kenduli in the district of Birbhum. The Mela draws the largest number of Bauls, the wandering minstrels of Bengal.

The birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (January)

The birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, which fall on January 23 is a nationalistic festival of West Bengal. Processions with large numbers of young men and girls in uniform an in military formation parade every town and important village. The main procession in Calcutta attains a length of more than three kilometers and groups of boys and girls play martial band music. The celebrations is a token of Bengal's revolutionary temper.

Jalpesh Mela (February - March )

On the occasion of Sivaratri, a month-long fair is held at Jalpesh near Mainaguri in the district of Jalpaiguri. The fair centres round the age-old Siva temple dedicated to Lord Jalpeswara.

Sivarathri (February-March)

Siva, admitted to the Hindu pantheon as Mahadeva or god of gods accounts for the festival of Sivarathri . On a new moon night in February-March, thousands and thousands of pilgrims assemble at the principle Siva temples. The temple at Tarakeshwar in Hooghly district attracts lakhs of pilgrims and a fair with all its features spring up.

Vasanta Utsav (March)

With the onset of spring, Holi is celebrated all throughout India. At Santiniketan in the district of Birbhum, it is Vasanta Utsav. Students of the Visva Bharati University welcome the season of colours through songs and dances, throwing abir and spraying liquid dyes at each other.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Jayanti (March)

The celebration of the birthday of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is another notable religious festival held every year on a day in early March at the Belur Math, headquarters of the Ramakrishna mission. The solemn observance draws not only Hindus but people of other religions and Non-Indians, and lakhs of people converge there to pay homage to the great saint.

Naba Barsho (mid-April)

The Bengali year starts from the first Baisakh. It is an occasion for celebration to the Bengalees in general and tradesmen in particular. New clothes, fresh flowers, offerings at temples, people visiting decorated shops mark the day. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout West Bengal.

Rabindra Jayanti (Celebration of the birthday of Rabindrnath Tagore)

It is the most widely observed cultural festival in West Bengal. Falling on May,7/8, all cultural associations and groups in town and village celebrate this day with programmes of song, dance and drama composed by Tagore which run for days together. Meeting and seminars are held for discussion on the different aspects of his encyclopedic personality. Another cultural mela on an ambitious scale is the Banga Samsriti Sammelan held annually in Calcutta. Usually a 15-day festival it represents all the different features of Bengali performing arts, traditional and modern, rural and urban. The Sammelan has came to acquire a highly representative character.

Rathayatra (June-July)

Rathayatra at Mahesh near Serampore in district Hoogly is a week-long festival. People throng to have a share in pulling the long ropes attached to the chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra on the journey from the temple and back.

Jhapan (mid-August)

All over the Western part of the state, a festival is held in the honour of the serpent-deity Manasa on the last day of the Bengali month Sravana. But the most spectacular is the one held at Vishnupur in the district of Bankura, with its shows of live snakes on open platforms.

Bera Utsav (mid-September)

Every year on the last Thursday of the Bengali month of Bhadra, Bera Utsav is held at Lalbagh on the river Bhagirathi near the palace of the Nawabs in ditrict Murshidabad. Fireworks of various size and colour add to the gaiety of the festival.

Dussera (October)

Another occasion for the worship of the Ganga is the Dussera festival which falls ten days before Diwali. On this day in West Bengal people take ceremonial baths in the river Bhagirathi, , offer worship to mother Ganga and distribute alms to beggars, supposedly to earn a bonus of religious merit.

Durga Puja & Deepavali (October)

The largest Bengali festival is Durga Puja, held in the Bengali month of Aswin. Images of the ten-armed goddess are worshipped in ancient houses and at pandals, erected specially for the Puja. After the four-day ceremony, the images are immersed in the river. Durgapuja is the most important festival in the city of Calcutta. The festive season continues till Kalipuja which takes place about three weeks after Durga Puja.The festival that follows is Deepavali, the festival of lights, The worship of goddess Kali is marked by display of fireworks and crackers. These festivals are celebrated throughout West Bengal with great enthusiasm.

Rash Mela (November)

On the occasion of Rashyatra, a fair is held at Cooch Behar in North Bengal. The month-long fair is one of the most important fairs in the area.

Jagaddhatri Puja (November)

Goddess Jagaddhatri is worshipped in the Bengali month of Kartick. In District Hooghly, this Puja is celebrated with more enthusiasm.

Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival (November - December)

Held in a series at Darjeeling, the Dooars and in Sikkim, the Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival is celebrated with a view to promote tourism in this region as a composite tourist destination, with its bounties in tea, timber and tourism. The festival is held every year in November - December.

Poush Mela (end-December)

Between the 7th and 9th of Poush. Poush Mela is held at Santiniketan in the district of Birbhum. Of the many seasonal festivals celebrated at Santiniketan, this is perhaps the most important, with cultural programmes consisting of folk music & dance, folk theatre and Baul songs.

Vishnupur Festival (December)

In the temple town of Vishnupur a festival is organised every year between 27 and 31 December. Characterised by exhibition and sale of local handicrafts and performance of the rich musical tradition that Vishnupur boasts, this is an immensely popular festival.

Id (Throughout West Bengal)

Id is the largest festival to the Muslims of West Bengal. Id-ul-Fitr comes after the lapse of the Ramjan month and marks a happy communion after a month of prayer and fasting. Seventy days after Id-ul-Fitr, comes another festive occasion - Id-uj-Joha. It is celebrated throughout the state, but with great grandeur in Calcutta. A very large congregation of Muslims as well as non-Muslims is held at the Calcutta Maidan.