The History And Festivals of Mumbai

The great Metropolitan city, Mumbai, has a very interesting history, which many people don’t know off. The name Mumbai has been derived from the name of a local Goddess called Mumbadevi. But this name has been taken up by the city very recently. Couple of years back the city was known as Bombay. The history of this beautiful city dates back to the formation of the seven islands, namely Colaba, Mazagaon, Mahim, Parel, Bombay Island, Worli and Old Woman’s Island. These islands were once a part of the kingdom of the famed Buddhist emperor of India, King Ashoka. After his demise, the countless rulers of the Silahara dynasty ruled the islands. In 1543 AD, the Portuguese took over the islands from the Bahadur Shah of Gujarat and it remained so till 1661. After this period, the islands were gifted as dowry Catherine de Braganza when she married Charles II of England. Charles II leased the islands to the East India Company during their colonization in 1668. It was during this time that the islands were named Bombay. After 1675, the East India Company officially transferred its headquarters from Surat to Bombay. In the early 18th Century, despite harsh opposition from the East India Company, William Hornby, the governor of Bombay, initiated many Civil Engineering Projects, marking the birth of the Industrial Revolution and the city began to take shape. Finally, the seven islands were merged into a single mass in 1845 and in 1853, the country’s first railway connection was laid down between Bombay and Thane. With the opening of the Suez Canal, Bombay established its connectivity with the rest of the world and soon became one of the major ports in India. Just before Independence, the city witnessed large-scale Hindu-Muslim riots that resulted in colossal massacres and turmoil.

The present day, Mumbai has grown into the business capital of India and is also one of the largest cities in the country. The city has a huge population of people from different backgrounds and religions co-existing harmoniously. People live together and celebrate different festivals and events in Mumbai together. The festivals depict the nature of human relationships and popular beliefs. Not only this but these festivals are important events in Mumbai that help pass on the past traditions to the present generation to make them aware of the associated rich culture and tradition. Mumbai has a decent number of Parsi population and hence the Parsi New Year is celebrated with a lot of vigor. Apart from that, the major festivals and events celebrated in Mumbai are Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Raksha Bandhan, Eid, Easter, Christmas, Dusshera, Navratri and Diwali. People also look forward to the Elephanta festival and Banganga Festival organized by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and also the famous Kala Ghoda Festival, organized by the Kala Ghoda Association.

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