Festivals in Pondicherry
On July 14, the Bastille Day, Pondicherry witnesses Indo-French pageantry. Donning their uniforms, war veterans march through the streets singing 'Marsellaise'. More interestingly, the French flag can be seen flying alongside the Indian flag on many housetops.
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Southindiatourtravel.com provides information on Bastille Day and different types of Festivals around Pondicherry.
Fairs and Festivals of Pondicherry offer a good insight into its culture. Said to be the abode of Lord Sulramaniar and Devi temples such as
Muthumariammam and Angalamman and a profound southern French influence, there are some very interesting festivals in Pondicherry.
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The fire walking festival is one of the most awe-inspiring festivals of Pondicherry, in which the participants who vow to take part in the ritual observe severe austerities and a fast of 40 days. During this period they wear saffron colored clothes.
On the main night of the festival, they take a purificatory bath after which they walk bare-footed through the stretch of fire stretch!
All the more amazing is the fact that there are hardly any burns after the walk, which is often attributed to the deep faith and devotion of the participant.
Sedal is another festival very popular yet shocking as we see a number of devotees who impose self-torture on themselves as a penance. The way these people pierce small silver hooks and spears in their tongues or other delicate parts of their body and even as many as 100 needles pierced all over their body is repulsively attractive.
On the day of the festival, they go in a procession after a bath wearing turmeric-strained clothes. Masquerade or Mask festival of Pondicherry is celebrated in March or April and is a direct influence of the long French rule in the region.
It reflects a French sense of humor and showcases various beautiful masks and fancy costumes. People march through the streets clad in these costumes and masks and perform a tricky dance to the beats of the trumpets. Fun and joy are the moods of the festival.
One of the most popular festivals of Pondicherry among the tourists is the International Yoga Festival held in Pondicherry from 4th to 7th January every year. Yoga followers from all over the world fly in to witness live show and talks, see and sample the simple and healthy yogic food and see cultural programs featuring Indian classical dance and music. It aims to promote the healthy life science of Yoga.
The Mangani Pondicherry Festivals Ammayur temple is held annually in July and features a colorful fair. Some other such festivals include Kandoori festival celebrated in the honor of Karaikal Durga and the feast of the lady of Lourdes celebrated by Our Lady of Lourdes Church.
St Theresa festival is as popular among the non-Christians as it is in Christians and is held annually in October in St. Theresa Church in Mahe.
Bhagavathi temple festival features performance of 'Thiraiyattam', ancient Indian dance while thousands of people throng to the seashore on the auspicious occasion of 'Masimagam Festival', Festivals in Pondicherry on the full-moon day in the Tamil month of Masi, to take an early morning dip in the sacred sea waters and get rid of all their sins.
During this occasion, deities from as many as fifty temples in Pondicherry and the nearby areas are taken to the seashore in a ceremonial procession accompanied by the musical beats of Nadhaswaram for the symbolic immersion. The deities then return to their respective shrines in a procession in the evening.
Other festivals or fairs celebrated in Pondicherry include Putha Lanthira, Mandolilthira, Pandokuloththira, Koyodan Korothithra, Vishnutheertham, Mandalam Vilakku and Swamikalyanam. However, the Mahe district of Pondicherry celebrates festivals similar to Kerala such as Onam, Vishu and Sri Krishna Jayanti.
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