Festivals Celebrating Regional Harvests in India

Festivals Celebrating Regional Harvests in India


India is popularly known as the land of festival, and it is rightly said so, considering it is a colorful nation where people celebrate with full vigor and joy. India has 29 states and every state celebrates harvest festivals at different times in the year. The first yield of the crop is a delight for the people and they celebrate it cheerfully as a festival.

Festivals have always been the most memorable and favorite part of a traveler’s journey through different countries and continents. Being the colorful nation, that India is, the most vibrant harvest festivals of India involve interesting mythological legends and joyous celebrations. They are as incredible and diverse as its people and landscapes and let you experience the beauty of the Indian culture. However, dates for harvest festivals in different parts of the country vary due to diversity in climate. See the list of harvest festivals in India, may it be north, east, west, or south.

The festivals that celebrate religious harvests in India are listed below:

  • Makar Sankranti: Makar Sankranti is the oldest and the most colorful harvest festival in India. It is also the most celebrated harvest festival of North India making it the top harvest festival of Uttar Pradesh. The 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. There are three dates for this festival in which most pilgrims participate and this festival lasts for three months in a year.
  • Baisakhi: People of Punjab and Haryana celebrate Baisakhi festival 2022 or Vaisakhi by thanking God for the good harvest. And the farmers of the country express their happiness and delight through this Indian harvest festival. People wear their best colorful dresses, sing the happiest songs, and dance to the melodious beats of Dhol. It is the most loved harvest festival of Punjab. Baisakhi fairs are also organized where acrobatics, wresting, algoza, and vanjli performances can be seen which makes it one of the most interesting harvest festivals celebrated in India.
  • Ladakh Harvest Festival: 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 attracts travelers from across the world with their exclusive experiences. While visiting this destination, you must enjoy this unique festival of harvest in India.
  • Lohri: 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, corns, and nuts to respect and appreciate the grand harvest of sugarcane crops.
  • 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. One can see the magnificent mustard crop fields in the countryside, especially rural areas of Haryana and Punjab.
  • Gudi Padwa: 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: 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.
  • Pongal: 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 amongst the most popular festivals of Tamil Nadu. The first day is the Bhogi Festival devoted to Lord Indra for an abundance of rain. On the second day, newly harvested rice and milk are cooked outdoor and offered to Sun God. The third day is for cattle worship and on the fourth day, Pongal or traditional colored rice is offered with turmeric, betel leaf, and betel nuts.
  • Ugadi: 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.
  • Vishu: 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.
  • 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. The celebration starts one night before with Uruka—the community feast. On the day of Bihu, the mejis or pavilion made of clay and hay are burnt. 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.
  • Chhath Puja: Chhath is an ancient Hindu festival historically native to the Indian subcontinent, more specifically, the Indian states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and the Nepalese provinces of Madhesh and Lumbini. Prayers during Chhath puja are dedicated to the solar deity, Surya, to show gratitude and thankfulness for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and to request that certain wishes be granted. Chhathi Maiya, the sixth form of Devi Prakriti and Lord Surya's sister is worshipped as the Goddess of the festival. It is celebrated six days after Deepavali, on the sixth day of the lunar month of Kartika (October–November) in the Hindu calendar Vikram Samvat. The rituals are observed over four days. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (vrata), standing in water, and offering prasad (prayer offerings) and arghya to the setting and rising sun. Some devotees also perform a prostration march as they head for the river banks.
  • Nuakhai: Nuakhai is an annual harvest festival in Odisha, celebrated to welcome the season's new rice. Celebrated a day after Ganesh Chaturthi, Nuakhai is the most auspicious and important social festival in Western Odisha and the neighbouring areas of Simdega in Jharkhand. It is celebrated in both domestic and community levels - while the festival brings people to their natives for customary greetings and meals in the urban places, the season in the rural counterparts runs through the entire month and is marked by prayers, community dances, and feasts.
  • Holi: One of the, if not the most colourful harvest festivals celebrated in the world, Holi is representative of India’s essence and vibrancy. The beautiful cultural festival celebrated with colours and water in March is a unique festival marked all across the country. Celebrated across two days; the night before the colour playing family and friends gather to burn a bonfire to commemorate the sacrifice of Holika and the next day people come out and play with colours and water in the spirit of joy.
  • Wangala: Wangala is an important post-harvest festival of the Garo Tribe, to mark the end of an agricultural year. It is a thanksgiving festival to the god of fertility, known as Misi-A-Gilpa-Saljong-Galapa. An extravaganza of 100 drums, the festival is also known as the hundred drum festival. It is accompanied by the cries of a leading warrior, while boys and girls join him synchronizing the dance steps with hand gestures. Celebrated from September to December, it marks the onset of Winter. During the festival, the sun god is worshipped with great Zeal with women dressed in colourful attire and men rhythmically drumming their traditional instruments.

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