Intro: The first yield of the crop is a delight for the Indians and they celebrate it cheerfully as a festival. The dates for harvest festivals in different parts of the country vary due to diversity in climate. Here are the prominent harvest festivals in the country…
1. Makar Sankranti – an auspicious day
Celebrated all over the country, Makar Sankranti is the oldest and the most colorful harvest festival in India. It is also the most celebrated harvest festival in North India.
As per Hindu mythology, this festival marks the end of an unfavorable phase and the beginning of a holy phase.
Particularly in villages of Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Himachal, West Bengal, and Punjab, people celebrate the harvest of new crops with a bonfire, carnivals, songs, dances, kite flying, and rallies. Kumbh Mela is one of the key attractions during this festival.
2. Baisakhi – It is all about Dhol and Bhangra
People of Punjab and Haryana celebrate Baisakhi or Vaisakhi by thanking God for the good harvest. People wear their best colorful dresses, sing the happiest songs, and dance to the melodious beats of Dhol. Baisakhi fairs are also organized where acrobatics, wrestling, algoza, and vanjli performances can be seen which makes it one of the most interesting harvest festivals celebrated in India.
3. Ladakh harvest festival
The Ladakh Harvest Festival has gained immense popularity and fame all over the world. Ladakh looks bright, beautiful, and absolutely stunning with the commencement of this harvest festival.
Monasteries and stupas are decorated and pilgrimages to Thangka of Kyabje Gombo are mandatory things as a part of this celebration.
Archery along with old social & cultural ceremonies and art & handicrafts are the other features of the event.
The festivals of Ladakh attract travelers from across the world.
4. Lohri – A Punjabi Folk Festival
Lohri is a renowned harvest festival in Punjab that showcases traditional dance and songs. To kill the chills of winter, the entire family and neighbors gather around the bonfire and sing together and offer grains, corn, and nuts to respect and appreciate the grand harvest of sugarcane crops.
5. Basant Panchami
One of the most popular harvesting festivals of India, Basant Panchami marks the onset of the spring season. Celebrated in different states of North India, it is considered an auspicious day. This festival is associated with yellow color, which is a color of spirituality.
6. Bhogali Bihu
Every year in January, the entire state of Assam showcases enthusiasm and delight in celebrating Bhogali Bihu. The farmers of Assam celebrate and cherish the efforts of cultivation and reap the benefits.
Local women wear stunning mukhlas and participate in group songs and dance. Also known as Magh Bihu, this is an exotic and most vibrant name on the list of harvest festivals of India.
7. Nuakhai – worship of food grains
Nuakhai is an age-old harvest celebration in Odisha. Locally ‘nua’ means new and ‘khai’ means food. This is not only a popular harvest festival in India but also celebrated to appreciate the passing away of the past and evil days while welcoming the new and beautiful with open arms. The festival is also known as Nuakhai Parab or Nuakhai Bhetghat.
8. Gudi Padwa – A springtime ceremony
Gudi Padwa is a grand harvest festival of Maharashtra marking the beginning of an auspicious New Year. People make rangoli designs at the entrance of their homes and decorate them with flowers and a handmade doll.
Folks meet friends and relatives, exchange wishes, and women cook sweets like Puran Poli, Shrikhand, and Sunth Paak.
Onam festival is a legendary harvest festival of Kerala celebrated with great enthusiasm in different parts of Kerala. The festival is celebrated for 10 days with the arrival of Mahabali. To relish the successful harvest, Malayalee people decorate their house entrance with floral rangoli, wear new traditional clothes, women cook delicious food, and celebrate with traditional music and dance.
Key attractions of Onam festival are traditional Kerala cuisine recipes like Rasam, Payasam, Avial, brown rice, and parippu curry.
Pongal is another name for Makar Sankranti, which is celebrated during the same time in various cities of Tamil Nadu.
This is a thanksgiving celebration where people express their deep gratitude to mother nature for the produce of the year.
This is one of the most colorful harvest festivals of India celebrated for 4 days. It is among the most popular festivals of Tamil Nadu.
Pongal or traditional colored rice is offered with turmeric, betel leaf, and betel nuts.
Ugadi is a regional New Year celebration for the people of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This harvest festival is considered auspicious to start new work and ventures. On the day, local people take an oil bath, wear traditional clothes, decorate homes with earthen lamps and rangoli, and perform Ugadi puja at home.
Grand worship of Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna, elaborate family lunch, evening prayers, and fireworks sum up the complete picture of the Vishu festival.
This is an interesting harvest festival celebrated on the first day of Malayalee New Year. Women of the house prepare Vishukkani — varieties of traditional cuisine to offer to Gods—, with rice, golden lemon, golden cucumber, jackfruit, yellow konna flowers, and betel leaves.