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5 Offbeat Indian Festivals That You Should Know

By Shiwani PandeyOctober 27, 2022
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Unusual Festivals in India that are Strange But Famous

India is a country with diverse cultures, religions, customs, languages, and festivals. Every day in this colourful country is a festival. Although some of them are a little weirder than others, these unusual festivals in India are celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. Despite the intent of these festivals being entirely positive, the celebrations that include different practices such as inflicting pain and fighting animals is just crazy. Still, most of these practices are thriving in our nation. 

In this article, we are going to talk about some unusual festivals that are celebrated in India. Read on ahead and let us know whether you would like to attend one of these festivals or not. 

Unusual Festivals that are Celebrated in India

Unusual Festivals that are Celebrated in India 

Also read: Celebrate an Eco-Friendly Diwali This Year

5 Offbeat Festivals in India 

Here we are providing a list of 5 of the most uncommon and unique festivals that are celebrated in different parts of the nation. If you truly want to be a part of the local culture and relish the rich heritage of our nation, make sure that you visit some of these festivals and experience the weirdness on your own. 

  • Lathmar Holi – Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

This is one of the most important and unique festivals in India where the women of Barsana beat the men of Nandgaon with sticks or ‘Lathis’. The men who are caught by the women are made to wear saris and dance in public. Talk about weird; this is definitely a unique sight - something that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. 

According to the locals who celebrate the festivals, the legend is that a few days before Holi, Lord Krishna visited Radha but ended up teasing her friends. So as a result, the women of Barsana then chased Krishna with sticks. This tradition is carried forward to this day. In fact, the festival is just a light and easy-going confrontation between the men and women of Barsana and Nandgaon, respectively. The Lathmar Holi is also known as Barsana Holi, named after the village where Radha belonged. 

  • Rural Olympics – Kila Raipur, Punjab

You definitely might have heard about the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Football World Cups, and more. But have you ever heard of Desi Olympics? Yes, in Kila Raipur, Punjab, the people celebrate the Rural Olympics featuring a variety of weird sports such as lifting stacks of bricks with their teeth, lifting ploughs with their mouths, and pulling the vehicles with their hair. 

The most common name for the Desi Olympics is Kila Raipur Sports Festival. It is quite a grand affair with activities and events that take place every year with amazing celebrations and participation from the villagers belonging to neighbouring villages as well. There are other sports competitions also, such as bullock cart races, aerobatics, racing, and much more. In fact, it is one of the top 4 offbeat Indian festivals that you should know about for sure. 

  • Bhagoria Festival – Khargone and Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh

In February and March, if you visit the Jhabua and Khargone villages in Madhya Pradesh, you might end up experiencing the amazing Bhagoria festival, a common festival in those areas. What is so unusual about that, one might ask? Well, in this festival, a marriage fair is created on a vast scale where young people get to choose their partners and actually elope with them. Then the couples are accepted by their societies and pronounced to be man and wife. Now that is one convenient form of proposing a love marriage for sure! 

The Bhagoria festival is considered to be one of the most popular unique festivals. The festival is commonly celebrated in the tribes of Bhilala and Bhil. There is a big gathering set up that acts as the marriage ground zero. People can go partner hunting and elope with them, only to be later accepted by their families and peers. The festival is also celebrated to mark the advent of the beautiful spring season and witnesses a huge number of participants for sure.

  • Snake Boat Race Festival – Kerala

The weird format of racing, the competitive spirits of people, and the insane popularity of the Snake Boat race in Kerala, definitely make it one of the most unusual festivals to be celebrated in India. One look at the festival and you would be able to guess that it is not just a festival but a fierce battle between the competitors. The famous boat races have existed in Kerala for more than 400 years and are an immensely popular festival around those regions. 

According to the legends, these boat races were used to fight wars on water surfaces. However, today, these races are celebrated as a part of the carnival, and the intensity and energy generated by the festival make it a popular choice for sure. Nehru Trophy Boat Race, Aranmula Vallamkali Boat Race, Champakkulam Moolam (Snake) Boat Race, and the Payippad Boat Race are considered the most popular boat races in Kerala.

  • Jallikattu – Tamil Nadu

The last name on our list is downright one of the craziest animal festivals in India. So crazy, that it has been banned by the government of India considering the number of injuries that bulls and humans face alike. Jallikattu is about the control of bulls; hence, attempting to complete the task is often considered a fool’s challenge because people face serious issues. Not to mention that the animals also suffer massive injuries, which is why this festival was banned in India. 

Jallikattu was recognised as one of the most unique yet dangerous festivals. Originating from Tamil Nadu, Jallikattu was a centuries-old traditional sport for the people of the South. For this festival, bulls are trained by villagers and gold is tied to their horns or any other body part. The main task is to retrieve the gold from the bull. 


So, what do you think about these rare festivals of India? Some are pretty weird, and some are equally dangerous to animals and humans. But considering the popularity and demand for these festivals worldwide, it can be said, without a doubt, that the tradition of celebrating these unique festivals will go on for a very long time.