The Next Big Indian Export—Festival Holidays!

Indian Concept Holidays for the US

The West’s fascination with India and its colors and festivals has crossed many a miles over time. India and its regional festivals and diversity amaze visitors from outside who are often stunned with the variety of regional food, local dialect and festivals that change fervor in every state of the country. India probably has the largest number of holidays in the world. It also has some of the most unique ones. Take Holi, Raksha Bandhan, Onam, Dusshera, Diwali festival, Gudi Padwa, Krishna Janmashtami and Ganesh Chaturthi, for instance. Each one of these festivals depicts India in its cultural essence.

Given this fact, I am a bit surprised to see that Indians have imported holidays from the West. It is interesting that Indians observe Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day, and Halloween etc. with more enthusiasm than in the US. Some of these holidays, as we know were generated in the West to prop up retail sales of cards, costumes and gift products. I was wondering given that India is the land of holidays, how about India exporting some of its unique Indian holidays and opening up opportunities for its entrepreneurs.

I wonder if some Indian entrepreneurs can come up with the challenge of creating a world brand of exclusive Indian holidays that will have the cash registers ringing. Here are two of my favorites:

Holi: Holi is a popular festival of colors and a sight to watch! A tradition held on to since centuries, it has all the ingredients to make a perfect festival holiday. Holi celebrations, as I see the festival introduced to the West, a holiday concept full of colors and fun! So, for entrepreneurs who wonder what is it that will work? I suggest organic colors (given the US is a litigious society, and you do not want folks to sue for any allergies), sweets like cupcakes, pichhkaris (water- toys) and a complete Holi experience! With colors on you and everyone you play with, you become alike—come together as a community without inhibitions. A social event calling for novel ideas to sell abroad 🙂

Diwali— the festival of lights!

Rakshabandhan/ Rakhi: This is a special holiday signifying the bond between brothers and sisters. I am not sure if any other country has this tradition. There are holidays focusing on mothers and fathers, however, I find that there is nothing that celebrates the special bond between siblings in the West. On the eve of Raksha Bandhan, sisters tie a thread (considered sacred) on the wrists of their brothers signifying a bond of protection and respect. And for entrepreneurs, I see sales ringing high for cool rakshis and exchange of gifts, for the concept of gifting is a part of the ethos.

I feel such American Indian holidays should be introduced as they carry real-life snippets of India and its rooted local culture.

Sanjay Puri

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