Festivals play an important role in the life of people in Chamoli, as elsewhere, and are spread over the entire year, the most important being briefly described below.
Ram Navami falls on the ninth day of the bright half of Chaitra to celebrate the birthday of Lord Rama. The followers of Rama in Chamoli observe fast throughout the day and the Ramayana is read and recited and people gather to listen to the recitations.
Nag Panchmi is celebrated in Chamoli on the fifth day of the bright half of Sravana to appease the Nagas or serpent gods. Figures of snakes are drawn in flour in wooden boards and are worshipped by the family by offering milk, flowers and rice.
Raksha-Bandhan is traditionally associated with the Brahmanas and falls on the last day of Sravana. On this occasion a sister ties a Rakshasutra (thread of protection)- commonly known as Rakhi - round the right wrist of her brother in token of the protection she expects to receive from him. Fairs are held on this occasion at Karnaprayag ans Nandprayag.
Janmastami the festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, falls on the eighth day of the dark half of Bhadra. As in other parts of the Uttarakhand, devotees in Chamoli fast the whole day, breaking their fast only at mid-night when worshippers throng the temples and foregather to have a Jhanki (glimpse) of the shrines and cradles specially installed, decorated and illuminated in homes and other places to commemorate the deity's birth. A special feature of this festival is the singing of devotional songs in praise of Krishna in shrines and homes. The Chhati (sixth-day ceremony after birth) is also celebrated by the devout. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm at Nagnath, Badrinath.
Dushera falls on the tenth day of the bright half of Asvina and commemorates the victory of Rama over Ravana, the preceding nine days being celebrated as Navaratri dedicated to the worship of the goddess Durga. Ramlila celebrations are held at different places in Chamoli particularly at Kalimath.
Dipavali the festival of lights, is celebrated in Chamoli, as elsewhere, on the last day of the dark half of Kartika when the houses are illuminated and the goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. Festivities start two days earlier, with Dhanteras, when metal utensils are purchased as a token of the desired prosperity, followed by Naraka Chaturdashi when a few small earthen lamps are lit as a preliminary to the main day of festival. For traders and businessmen Dipavali marks the end of the fiscal year and they pray for prosperity in the new year. On this occasion the people of Chamoli perform mela nritya, a type of folk dance, a distinctive feature of Chamoli.
Makar Sankranti is a bathing festival which falls either on January 13 or 14th when people take bath in the Alaknanda and big fairs (Uttarayain) are held at Karnprayag and Nandprayag.
Sivaratri falls on the 14th day of the dark half of Phalgun and is observed in the honour of Siva. People fast throughout the day and a vigil is kept at night when the deity is worshipped. The Siva temples are specially decorated and illuminated and large numbers of devotees offer water and flowers to the symbols and images of Siva and sing devotional songs in his praise. Big fairs are held on this occasion at most of the Siva temples of Chamoli particularly at Dewal, Bairaskund, Gopeshwar, and Nagnath.
Holi the spring festival, is celebrated on the full moon day of Phalgun. People start singing Phaags (Songs of Phalgun) during the nights, long before the festival. A flag or banner is installed at a central place in the village on the 11th day of bright of Phalgun and is burnt on the 15th day which is known as Chharoli when ash mark is put on the foreheads of friends and relatives. The following day is marked by common rejoicing when, till about noon, people throw coloured water and coloured powder on each other and in evening visit relatives and friends.