What are the best holiday events in Mumbai?

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Rakhee Ghelani

There are many holidays in Mumbai, with most celebrating religious events.  These holidays are all celebrated with much fervour and joy, so it is great to visit during a holiday.  Three of the best holiday events in Mumbai are:

Ganesh Chaturthi
This event celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha, and is a lunar holiday that will be held on September 9 in 2013.  Planning for the holiday starts many months in advance with huge statues of Lord Ganesha designed, constructed and then decorated. These statues are then paraded through the streets as people take them to the seaside to submerge them in the water, about 15,000 statues are submerged in the Arabian Sea in this event.  Along the way people dance, sing and rejoice. 

Diwali

Diwali is the festival of lights and by far the biggest festival in India. It signifies the start of the Hindu New Year and celebrates the victory of good over evil. It will be celebrated on 3 November in 2013, but most businesses have a four day holiday to celebrate this event. At this time of year Mumbai just lights up, with many houses and buildings flanked in lights and diyas (the small clay lamps) lit in temples and on window sills.  It really is a beautiful time to see the city. The sky is also lit up with fireworks each night over the course of the week, and gifts of sweets are given.

Christmas

Some parts of Mumbai, such as the Western suburb of Bandra, have a large Christian population.  During this holiday, the area come alive with an interesting mix of Western Christian tradition and Indian style.  The main shopping strip of Hill Road is turned into a Christmas Market where you can pick up tinsel, trinkets and even a pine Christmas tree.  At the top of the hill is Mount Mary Church where the streets are lined with candle sellers in preparation for midnight mass, but get in early as doors close by 11.30pm.  

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