Harvest Festival in India
India is a diverse country and here people from several cultural and religious beliefs live together. There are several festivals celebrated in India, out of which harvest festivals are of different kinds. There are 29 states in India and the harvest festival is celebrated in all parts of India at different times throughout the year. The variation in celebrating the harvest festival in different parts of the country is because of the changing climate.
Few harvest festivals are Bihu, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, etc. The harvest festivals are celebrated to acknowledge the first yield of a new crop. There may be several names for the harvest festivals in India but the significance remains the same for all. The major part of India is involved in agricultural practices and the harvest festivals are a cheerful time of the year for them. In this article, we have explained the 10 harvest festivals of India.
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List of Harvest Festival in India
- The harvest festival of Assam is Bihu and it is also the beginning of the Assamese new year.
- This festival is also known as Magh Bihu or Bohag Bihu.
- The night before the festival a traditional communal feast known as Uruka kicks off the festival and the farmers in Assam enjoy their harvesting efforts.
- On the day of Bihu, the Mejis or pavilions are built out of clay and hay and then burnt. The festival is celebrated by groups of local ladies dancing and singing while wearing the magnificent mukhtars.
- People perform their traditional folk dance Bihu and enjoy bullfights, bird battles, and Sunga Pitha, Til Pitha, and Laru.
||Gujarat, West Bengal, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala
- The oldest and most colorful harvest festival of India is Makar Sankranti which is celebrated across the country.
- The festival is mostly celebrated in Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab, and Haryana.
- The festival marks the arrival of the Sun into the zodiac sign of makar or Capricorn. According to mythology, this festival signifies the end of the bad phase and the beginning of good times.
- In Gujarat makar Sankranti is known as uttarayana, in Punjab, it is known as Maghi, in Himachal Pradesh it is known as Magha Saaji, in Uttar Pradesh khicheri, and in Tamil Nadu, it is known as Pongal.
- Pongal is celebrated in several cities of Tamilnadu and it is also known as Makar Sankranti in different parts of India.
- It is a festival of rice harvest and a thanksgiving festival to appreciate mother nature.
- Pongal is the most colorful harvesting festival in India and it lasts for 4 days.
- The first day is known as the Bhogi festival which is dedicated to Lord Indra.
- On the second day, newly harvested rice and milk are prepared and presented to the Sun god.
- On the third day, cow worship is performed.
- On the first day traditional colored and flavored rice are prepared with turmeric, beetle leaves, and beetle nuts to celebrate Pongal.
- Lori is celebrated in many parts of Punjab and it is celebrated after the conclusion of the winter season and celebrates the first harvest.
- Lohri is celebrated the night before Makar Sankranti, where the locals sing Punjabi traditional Sunder Mundriye during the festival.
||Punjab and Haryana
- Baisakhi is celebrated in Punjab and Haryana for thanking God for the harvest of a new crop.
- The farmers enjoy the first harvest by celebrating this festival.
- The people dress up in bright outfits, sing, and dance to the melodic sounds of dhol.
- The harvest festival of Odisha is known as Nuakhai.
- This festival is also known as Nuakhai Parbo or Nuakhai Bhetghat in several regions of Orissa.
- In the native language, Nua means new and Khai means food, together noakhai indicates the celebration of the first harvested rice.
- The main attraction of this festival is the delectable Arsaa Pitha, which is the sweet pancake which is made out of the first harvested rice.
- In Kerala, the harvesting festival is known as Onam which is celebrated in several regions of the state.
- The festival lasts 10 days with the advent of Mahabali.
- Kerala people celebrate the harvest of crops by decorating their houses with flowers Rangoli, wearing new traditional clothes, and cooking traditional food, along with dancing and singing traditional music.
- People also enjoy the traditional food items which are served in traditional green leaf, and snake boat races and tiger dances are also performed.
- Gudi padwa is the harvest festival that is celebrated in Maharashtra and also marks the new year of Maharashtra.
- Gudi padwa shows the harvest and end of the Rabi crop for the season and during this time mangoes and other fruits are reaped.
- People celebrate this festival by making colorful rangoli and greeting each other by offering handmade Puran Poli, Shrikhand, and Sunth Paak.
- People also make the traditional Gudi or bamboo doll out of mango and Neem leaves and hang it in their entryway.
||Meghalaya and Assam
- People in Meghalaya and Assam celebrate Wangala as their harvest festival.
- It is one of the most celebrated harvest festivals in India and it celebrates the arrival of winter.
- At the Wangala festival, 100 drums performed by Garo Tribes can be seen. It is performed by the Garo Tribes from northeast India.
- Through this festival, the Sun god is adorned with prayers and love.
- Nabanna is celebrated in West Bengal as the harvesting festival.
- The festival marks the harvest of fresh rice and it is one of the most recognized harvest festivals in West Bengal.
- During the festival, Payesh or kheer is cooked out of the freshly harvested rice and people enjoyed also there is Nabanna fair which is the main attraction of this festival.
FAQs related to Harvest Festivals in India
1. Which is the most celebrated harvest festival in Uttar Pradesh?
Ans. Makar Sankranti is the oldest and the most celebrated harvest festival in North India making it the top harvesting festival in Uttar Pradesh.
2. Why do harvest festivals vary in different parts of India?
Ans. The harvest festival in India varies in different parts because the climate condition in India is different in various parts.