The festivals of Jammu are very vibrant and widely diverse. It reflects the culture and spirit of Jammu people. There are significant numbers of fairs and festivals held around the year. The festive season begins with Lohri, a festival marks the onset of spring with a elaborate feast, bonfire, music and dance on the 13th January of the year. Every year, first day of Baisakh (a month from Vikaram Calendar), people of Jammu celebrate Baisakhi, a colorful festival that is also known as ‘Harvesting festival’. Other national festivals like Holi, Diwali, Navratri, Raksha Bandhan are also celebrated throughout the region with high spirit and zeal. However, some of the festivals are celebrated in some unique ways. For instance, Kite flying activities form an important part of Krishna Janmashtami and Rakshabandhan. People fly kites with the rhythm of loud music and enjoy feast following to religious activities. Apart from national festivals, people of Jammu also enjoy some regional fairs and festivals such as Jammu festival, Bahu festival, Jhiri Mela, etc. Festive season in Jammu fascinates a considerable crowd of tourists from far off places.
Jammu Festival: Jammu festival is an annual mega carnival of the region held on 13th to 16th April. The festival showcases the rich cultural tradition of Jammu by presenting various multi art performances, illumination of historic Mubarak Mandi complex, sound and light shows in Bahu Fort, handicraft exhibition in Jammu Haat, art exhibition and Nukad Shows, etc. It has become an important tourist attraction and its highlights of cultural activities are street plays and dance-drama, etc. Wide range of food joints available in Jammu Haat are important part of the festival. These are renowned for authentic Dogri food.
Bahu Festival : Bahu festival is the major festival of the entire Jammu region, held at the Bave wali Mata Temple in Bahu fort twice in a year during March/ April and September/October. During the festival, one can see large gathering of people including local and tourists around the Bahu fort. It is a perfect treat for children with wide sorts of amusement rides, food stalls, gift shops, etc. Elders also enjoy shopping, eating and other entertaining activities.
Jhiri Mela: The village of Jhiri wears festive look every year during the Karthik Poornima (October/November) on celebration of week-long annual fair, Jhiri Mela. It is located at a distance of 20 km from Jammu, off the highway of Jammu-Akhnoor. Every year, lakhs of people throng the village during the fair to commemorate Baba Jittoo, a farmer who gave up his life for shake of welfare of the peasants of the region. Devotees visit the temple of Baba and take holy dip in Baba-da-talab, a natural pond believe to have some natural curative power. A huge market with plenty of food stalls, shops, and entertainment activities, the mela fascinates large numbers of visitors.