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Festivals & Annual Events
International Yoga Festival [4th - 7th January]
The department of Tourism organises International Yoga festival from January 4th - 7th . The festival includes talks, discussions, exchange of ideas, consultation, demonstration of techniques and followed by Classical Indian dance / music.
Thai Pongal or Pongal is the farmers festival celebrated in South India at the end of the harvest season. It is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Tamils in the Indian state of TamilNadu & Pondicherry.
Pongal marks the beginning of the Northward journey of the Sun from its Southernmost-limit, a movement traditionally referred to as Uttarayana. It coincides with the festival Makara Sankranthi celebrated throughout India as the winter harvest, usually held from January 13–16 in the Gregorian Calendar i.e. from the last day of the Tamil month Maargazhi to the third day of Thai.
The second of the four days or the first day of month Thai is the main day of the festival which is known as Pongal or Thai Pongal
Republic Day [26th January]
In India, Republic Day honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India. Government of Pondicherry organises roadshows (Tableau), Parade & Cultural performances.
Masi Magam [February]
Celebrated on the full moon day of the Tamil month of Masi, focuses on the bathing of deities in waters of 'theerthavari' or Bay of Bengal. Hindu Gods from about 64 temples in & around Pondicherry are brought in the early morning to sea front (near Kuruchikuppam) accompanied by divine music and given a ceremonial bath through various rituals. The procession is very colourful and thousands of people assemble on the beach to witness this ceremony.
Holi, also called the Festival of Colours, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed widely in Central & North India. Holi, is celebrated by people throwing colored powder and colored water at each other.
Panguni Uthiram [March - April]
It is on "Panguni Pournami Uthiram" that the marriage of Parvathi and Shiva, Muruga and Devasena, Andal and Rangamannar took place. Also, Valmiki’s Ramayan says it is on this day and star that Seetha’s marriage with Ram was celebrated.
Tamil New Year [14th April]
Tamil people celebrate Tamil New Year on 14th April. This is the month of Chitterai, the first month of the Tamil solar calendar. On the eve of Puthandu, a tray arranged with three fruits (mango, banana and jack fruit), betel leaves and coconut, gold / silver jewellery, coins / money, flowers and a mirror is placed. This is to be viewed upon waking in the morning, which is believed to give us good health, happiness & prosperity.
Chithirai Kalai Vizha [Summer Festival]
Department of Art & Culture, organize Indian Classical music and dances in various places of Pondicherry.
Villianur Car Festival
In May, it's the time for the villianur temple car festival. An age old tradition where the famous deity Thirukamemswara Kukilambal is manually pulled in a chariot by devotees to the local areas followed by a massive procession of other devotees.
Bastille Day [14th July]
The 'National Day of France' is one of the unique event in Pondicherry. This day is officially called as "Fete Nationale" and wildly known as "le quatorze juillet" (14th of July). On the eve of the Bastille Day retired soldiers engage themselves in parade and celebrate the day with Indian and French National Anthems. On this day, they honor the soldiers who were killed in the battles. This event showcases the strong French connection.
Veerampattinam Car Festival [July - August]
A chariot or 'ratha' decorated with ornamented sculptures is taken out from this small fishing village, located 6 Kms South of Pondicherry. The deity of the Chengazhunir Amman Temple is taken out in the early morning and returns to the temple on sun set. Thousands of people participate and witness this Veerampattinam Car Festival.
Birth Anniversary Of Sri Aurobindo [15th August]
Celebrated on the 15th of August and special dharsan will be organised on this day. Please contact ashram reception for more information.
Fête De Pondicherry [15th & 16th August]
The fête or celebration is organised on the occasion of Indian & Pondicherry's Independence respectively. Pondicherry's main monuments / attractions will be wonderfully lit up, music and dance performances are organized on the beach road.
World Tourism Day [27th September]
Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has celebrated World Tourism Day on September 27. This date was chosen as on that day in 1970, the Statutes of the UNWTO were adopted. The adoption of these Statutes is considered a milestone in global tourism. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.
Vinayaka Chathurthi [Ganesh Chathurthi]
Vinayaka Chaturthi is dedicated to Lord Ganesh (son of Shiva), the god of all good beginnings and success. Ganesh statues made of clay in different sizes are sold on the streets. After the pooja, people carry the statues in a procession through the streets of the towns and will be drowned in the sea.
Ayudha Pooja / Vijayadashmi
As the name suggests Vijayadashmi or Dussehra is celebrated on the 10th day of the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu Lunisolar calender which corresponds to September or October of the Gregorin calender. The first nine days are celebrated as Maha Navratri or Sharada Navratri (the most important Navratri) and culminates on the 10th day as Dasara.
Deepavali / Diwali
Deepavali is a major Indian festival, and a significant festival for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. This "Festival of Light," where the lights or lamps signify victory of good over the evil within every human being.
In many parts of India, it is the homecoming of King Rama of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest The people of Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) welcomed Lord Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (deepa), thus its name, Deepawali, or simply shortened as Diwali. Southern India marks it as the day Lord Krishna defeating the demon Narakasura.
It is celebrated by taking oil-bathe (with Gingelly Oil), wearing new cloths, fire works, consuming a rich and sumptuous feat.
Karthigai Deepam [Festival Of Lamps]
The history of Karthigai Deepam or the festival Lights dates back to around 200 BC. The Ahananuru, a book of Tamil poems depicts that the festival is celebrated on a full moon night during the Tamil calender month of Karthigai (November-December). During this festival every house is illuminated with a large number of flat lamps made of terracotta, children using crackers and home made fire works specially made from palm leaves & seeds.
On the Karthigai Deepam day in South-India, people make bonfires in front of temples in the evening.
Immaculate Conception Of Blessed Virign Mary [8th December]
The Eglise de Notre Dame de la Conception Immaculate (The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception), on Cathedral Street, was first built in 1692, dedicated to St.Peters. It took its present shape in 1791. The Festival of this Church i.e., immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the major festivals in Pondicherry.
Christmas & New Year Eve
You have options of French, Creole, Vietnamese, Italian, blend of Continental cuisines and of course Spicy Chettinad Cuisine & South Indian Curries. Stay in a heritage house or beach resort or some nice hotels, the illuminations in the city centre & some of the New Year Eve parties will be great way to Welcome the New Year.