Festivals and Celebrations this Weekendby Shruthi Venkatesh December 21 2018, 5:23 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 34 secs
India comes alive in December with a diverse mix of traditional and modern festivals and events. From classical to electronic dance music, and local performers to international DJs, it's all on offer. Here’s the best of what's on this December.
16 to 20 December: Pasaway Festival, Sipalay
Pasaway sa Sipalay, coined from the word “SAWAY” which means copper, is celebrated every 20th day of December marking the highlight of the Handuraw Festival in Philippines. It features street dancing with costumes accentuated by copper and gold. Dancers dance along the street with upbeat music and perform in the arena for the final judging. This event shows how creative and talented Sipalaynons are. It marks the Charter Anniversary of the Sipalay City in Negros Occidental province which celebrates the mining industry that transformed Sipalay into a booming town that eventually became a city. Performers from seventeen barangays of the city are attired in mardigras and exotic costumes in the appearance of copper minerals.
Paskuhan sa Gensen
16 to 22 December: Paskuhan sa GenSan, Santos
It is the longest running festivity of the General Santos City in South Cotabato province in Philippines. The event gathers people from all walks of life celebrating the Christmas Spirit amidst the colourful and joyful ambience of the yuletide season. Gensan thoroughfares, the government centre and plazas are decorated with adorable twinkling lights to lift everybody’s spirit, reminding all that Christmas is a season of giving and enjoyment. With a budget of P4.5 million, the festival features the annual grand pyrotechnics competition at the Oval Plaza grounds. Other events include light-a-tree contest, barangay “belen” competition, Christmas carol for senior citizens and drum and lyre competition. What is most spectacular in this month-long celebration is the participation of the Muslim brothers living in Gensan, joining the celebration, even to the extent of sending entries in various events and categories.
Giant Lantern Festival, Phillipines
16 December 2018 to 2 January 2019: Giant Lantern Festival
The Giant Lantern Festival is an annual festival held in mid-December in the City of San Fernando in the Philippines. The festival features a competition of giant lanterns. Because of the popularity of the festival, the city has been nicknamed the ‘Christmas Capital of the Philippines’. The natives call the event “Ligligan Parul.” The event is scheduled till January 2nd next year. Thousands of local and foreign tourists come to the city to watch the festive display of lights and lantern designs in the exhibition. Large steel barrels called rotors will be substituted for the hand-controlled switches to manipulate the lights. A giant lantern is usually 6.1 meters (20 feet) high and illuminated by about 3,500 to 5,000 light bulbs. In 2017, the number of lights was limited to 10,000 light bulbs for each Giant Lantern participants.
At the Poush Mela
24 to 26 December 2018: Poush Mela, Shantiniketan
A unique festival which signifies the end of the harvesting season in Bengal, Poush Mela, is the celebration of the farmer’s life and Bengal’s rural lifestyle. Celebrated at the behest of Devendranath Tagore at Shantiniketan, Poush Mela is in a way the coming together of the urban and rural sides of Bengal. The mela which sees the celebration of Bengali culture through Bengali folk music especially Boul Sangeet as well folk dances, is a place for peace and love. Rural artists from around the state gather here with their work and put it out for sale. Being here one can truly experience the cultural diversity that India possesses.
Mamallapuram Dance Festival
25 December 2018 to 15 January 2019: Mamallapuram Dance Festival, Chennai
A place of great historic relevance, Mamallapuram is a beautiful coastal town known for being the hometown of the Pallavas in the medieval times. The beautiful beach town has some of the most breath-taking rock sculptures in India and it is against this background that the Mamallapuram Dance Festival takes place every year during December-January for three days. Classic dancers from different schools of dancing unite to put on a scintillating display of their talent for three consecutive days. It’s a festival with a huge foreign appeal due to its culture appeal and Mamallapuram being a beach town.