The fact that durban is home to the largest number of Indians outside India makes durban a place which is abuzz with festivals and events throughout the year. Durban is a melting pot of cultures, religions, sects and belief systems. This renders durban to be a rich tapestry of festivities and celebrations. Certain festivals are celebrated by all sects and some are only celebrated by a small section of the society.
This is a festival of colors and is celebrated in March, a day after the full moon. It marks the beginning of spring (in India), hence bright colors. The celebration of holi in durban goes back to the arrival of the Indian indentured labourers who carried with them their traditions and cultures which was passed on from generation to generation.
Dedicated to the god of healing, Muruga, this festival is held in January to February and April to May each year. Devotees fast for two days and then take up certain tasks to pay their obeisance. One such task is to carry a Kavadi, balanced wooden structure on their shoulders. These structures are then thrown into the Umgeni river as a sacrifice
Festival of Chariots
This is the festival that is celebrated with full fervour by devotees of Lord Krishna. As in India, this event is marked by a procession with large chariots. In durban, this festival started in 1980 and is one of the most awaited events. It takes place on the Easter weekend and is a 4-day event. Three 15 meter high chariots festooned with thousands of garlands and colourful canopies towering across the 10 meter wide structure are manually drawn through the streets of Durban ʼs beachfront area. The festival which is seeped with spiritual significance aims to showcase the Krishna conscious philosophy and lifestyle via various media. The procession has a great element of music and dance and presence of wide variety of vegetarian food stalls satisfies the sense of taste too. This festival is similar to a carnival and is an event which durbanites look forward to every year.
This is the festival of lights and is celebrated by all sects of hindus with equal fervor and zest. It is celebrated in the month of November. Durban skies are ablaze with fireworks on the diwali night. Beachfront are the favourite spots for the people to gather and celebrate the night with fireworks. Visiting relatives and friends are the order of the day and this festival is enjoyed as much by all races and cultures