NDA and the rest of the Indian Army get only a day off for major festivals.
On Diwali the cadets are given liberty(allowed to move out of the Academy to visit Pune) and guys get crackers which are burst later in the evening once everybody is back. But it is just the one day, celebrations don’t start a day early nor do they continue onto the next day. No pujas.
On Holi, we used to dig holes, fill it up with water and throw people inside, tearing all their clothes in the process. Just like any street in the rest of the country. The revelries last for a few hours, period.
Ramzan. A lot of cadets observe fast during Ramzan. This is a bit difficult considering the strenuous physical activity happening every day. However, the cadets mess provides food before sunrise and late at night for the fasting cadets. Everybody drinks water throughout the day though, else you’ll be in a hospital by afternoon.
Christmas is not celebrated at NDA as it falls at the time of the term break, hence all cadets will be at home or in a train on their way back. Regional/smaller festivals like Onam, Gudi Padava, Easter etc are celebrated on a very small scale by the cadets from that particular region. For Onam we used to manage the ingredients of the sadhya(the traditional feast) and get together for lunch after the day’s training was done. No holiday though. On Easter, the christian cadets get to visit the church.
At NDA, more relevance is given to events and competitions at the Academy than festivals. Winning a competition, winning the overall championship, the Passing out Parade etc are cherished more than festivals.
This answer was written by Kiran Rahul (former Officer at Indian Army) on Quora.