13 Popular Harvest Festival of India
The harvest festival of India is one that celebrates the harvesting of new crops. The festivals have different names in different parts of the country.
India is a colorful and beautiful nation, and the harvest festivals of India are all about joyous celebrations and interesting mythological legends. The harvesting festivals of India are as diverse and incredible as its landscapes and people and they allow everyone to experience Indian culture at its best.
Nevertheless, the dates for harvest festivals in India are different in varied regions across the nation because of the diversity in climatic conditions. A harvest festival is one that takes place during the time of the foremost harvest in a certain region. Makar Sankranti, Lohri, Pongal, Bihu- the regions’ names greatly differ from each other but have the same intention behind it. They are all the harvest festival of India – a tribute to being thankful for the harvest.
A large part of the population of India is involved in different agricultural practices. When it is time for the framers to yield the new crops, they do this with great zeal and fervor. It is a cheerful time for the farmers in different parts of the country. They celebrate the food they grow by indulging in great fun and frolic. Even the urban population joins the celebrations in varied ways.
Below, you will find a complete list of some of the best and the most popular harvest festivals celebrated in different states of India.
1) Makar Sankranti- The Most Auspicious Harvest Festival of India
Celebrated across the nation, Makar Sankranti is one of the most colorful and the oldest festivals related to crops. To be more specific, it is the main harvest festival of Uttar Pradesh (Northern belt).
According to Hindu mythology, this harvest festival in India is celebrated to mark the end of a harsh phase and the starting of an auspicious phase. Specifically, in the villages of Kerala, Gujarat, Haryana, West Bengal, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu, people celebrate it with songs, bonfires, carnivals, kite flying, rallies, and dances.
The key attractions of this festival include different sumptuous sweets made using jaggery and sesame and the Kumbh Mela held at Varanasi. It is celebrated on 14th January every year, though the date might also shift to 15th January. In some Punjabi homes, split green dal, white rice, jaggery, and other dry food items are donated to the underprivileged.
2) Baisakhi – Celebrations with Dhol and Bhangra
This is a harvest festival of India celebrated with the rhythms of Bhangra and Dhol. It is the main harvest festival of Punjab in India and is also celebrated in Haryana. This is the time when people thank God for offering them a good harvest.
Farmers across the nation express their delight and happiness by celebrating this festival related to farming. On this day, people put on the best of colorful attires, dance to melodious sounds of Dhol, and sing the happiest of songs. It is one of the most loved seasonal festivals in the country.
There are Baisakhi fairs (melas) organised where wrestling, acrobatics, musical performances are displayed at their best. These are some special features that make Baisakhi one of the most interesting of all the different types of harvest festivals in India.
Some of the most significant attractions of this harvest festival of India include Bhangra by the men and Gidda by the women. It is celebrated on 13th April every year.
3) Ladakh Harvest Festival
Amongst the different farmer festivals in India, the Ladakh Harvest Festival is one that has garnered mammoth popularity across the world. The entire region surrounding Ladakh gets all the more beautiful, stunning, and brighter with the inauguration of this festival. The Ladakh harvest festival is celebrated between 1st and 15th September every year.
Stupas and monasteries are all decorated with pilgrimages to Kyabje Gombo and Thangka, remaining open for the people. Old cultural and social ceremonies, art and handicrafts, and archery are some important features of this festival. The celebrations lure travelers from different parts of the world.
During this time, people can remain assured of having some of the most exclusive experiences. These include Chhams or dramas performed for displaying the teachings and life of Buddha, along with different dances showcasing the Tibetan culture.
4) Lohri – The Folk Festival of Punjab
This harvest festival of Punjab needs no introduction. The celebrations are marked by traditional songs, beats of dhol and dance forms. There are bonfires created around which the neighbours and family members gather and sing and dance together. This is considered one way of killing the chills during winter. Rewaris, gajjaks, peanuts, mithais made with warming foods like jaggery, sesame seeds are eaten during this time.
They also offer corn, nuts, and grains for respecting and appreciating the grand harvest of the crops of sugarcane. There is one Punjabi song that is sung by every individual on this day called ‘Sunder Mundariye’. The Punjabi folks celebrate it on 13th January every year.
5) Bhogali Bihu- Harvest Festival of India that Speaks of Cheerfulness and Bliss
Bhogali Bihu is the harvest festival of Assam celebrated in the month of January. During this occasion, people in Assam have uplifted moods, and they showcase great delight and enthusiasm as well.
This Indian harvest celebration marks the end of the harvest season. During the celebrations, women put on traditional attire and perform Bihu (the dance form from Assam). They are accompanied by the men who keep playing drums. One of the most popular events during this festival is the bullfight. The festival is celebrated for cherishing the efforts of agriculture and reaping the advantages. A community feast called Uruka is organised the day before Bihu.
On the day of the chief revelries, pavilions or mejis made of hay and clay are burnt. Also known as Magh Bihu, this is the most lively and interesting name in the harvest festival of India list. Sunga Pitha, birds fight, Laru, and Til Pitha are the key attractions of this festival.
6) Basant Panchami- The Yellow Festival
This harvest festival of India is also known as the yellow festival. It is among the most famous seasonal festivals of India, marking the onset of the spring term. The festival is celebrated in different parts of Northern India and is considered a very auspicious occasion. All family members are urged to wear yellow colored clothing.
During this time, the fields in the countryside are filled with mustard crops, especially in the rural regions of Punjab and Haryana. Exclusive attractions during the festival include Indian dishes such as Sarson Ka Saag, Meethe Chawal (sweet rice) and Makki ki Roti.
7) Wangala – Indian Harvest Celebration With Drums
This harvest festival’s name is exclusive to the way it is celebrated. The Garo tribes in the north-eastern part of India celebrate the occasion with the merriment of more than 100 drums played simultaneously.
This is yet another popular festival in the list of harvest festivals in India. It marks the beginning of the winter season, and people workshop and thank the Sun God on this occasion. The immense zeal and devotion of the north Indian Garo tribes are worth seeing and experiencing on this day.
Women in Assam and Meghalaya put on conventional colorful attire and dance while the men play drums rhythmically. It is the musical extravaganza with gongs, drums, and flutes that is considered the main attraction of this festival.
8) Ka Pomblang Nongkrem of Meghalaya
People living in the Khasi hills celebrate Ka Pomblang Nongkrem, which is a five-day-long celebration. During this time, people worship Goddess Ka Blei Synshar, the regional guardian. It is a kind of harvest thanksgiving festival during which people make innumerable offerings, including small portions of crops harvested.
Animal sacrifices are also one of the most important parts of this festival. This is a jovial time for people, and they try living it to the fullest by dancing and singing. The occasion brings ultimate happiness and joy to the entire community.
The Khasi tribes are well-known for their Nongkrem dance, which is performed with yak hair whisk in one hand and a sword in the other. Tangmuri and Pemblang ceremonies are the main attractions of this important harvest festival of India.
9) Pongal to Show Gratitude to Nature
This harvest festival of Tamil Nadu is celebrated in the month of January (Celebrated on the first day of the Tamil calendar). It marks the onset of Uttarayan or the journey of the Sun northwards. People are filled with joy and excitement during this time, and they celebrate it for four days. The meaning of the term “Pongal” is spilling over.
On this day, people practice the tradition of boiling rice in a bowl until it starts spilling. It is also a time to show gratitude to nature that has so much on offer for its inhabitants. Cooking, swinging, and drawing Kolam are noteworthy traditions of this festival.
Arrangements start in advance with patios and households being cleaned and mango leaves being hung at the entrances (vandanvaars). This auspicious occasion is known for its rituals and even for varied connotations. Bonfire ceremonies on this day signify the going away of all things old and bringing in new things.
10) Nuakhai- Harvesting Festival of India Worshipping Food Grains
Nuakhai is the annual harvest festival of Odisha celebrated for welcoming the new rice harvest of the season. It takes place the day after Ganesh Puja and is considered the most important and auspicious social festival of the state.
This harvest festival of India is also celebrated in the Simdega region of Jharkhand. Different districts of Odisha, including Sambalpur, Boudh, Kalahandi, Bargarh, and Balangir, are decorated during this time. These are some of the best places to visit to get the right feel and experience of the occasion. These are historical places with a good number of tribal people and, therefore, the best destinations for experiencing varied cultures.
Worshipping the harvest and receiving the blessings of the Earth are some important traditions associated with this festival. Preparations begin 15 days prior to the date of the festival. The onset of this festival season is announced by blowing trumpets.
Paddy is collected from the farming fields on the day of the festival, and flowers and milk are offered to mother Earth. Different forms of dance and songs are also practiced on this day.
11) Gudi Padwa – The Springtime Ceremony
Marking the onset of the Marathi New Year, this is a popular harvest festival of India. This grand festival is celebrated by making rangoli designs right at the entrance of homes. People also decorate their homes with handmade dolls and flowers. They meet their relatives and friends and exchange good wishes. The women cook different varieties of sweets such as Shrikhand, Sunth Paak, and Puran Poli.
The Gudi Padwa celebration in Uttar Pradesh is also quite popular. The festival occurs in March every year.
12) Nabanna – Festival of New Harvest Season
When it comes to enumerating the details of the harvest festival of India, how can one forget Bengal, the state known for several enjoyable and fun-filled celebrations? Nabanna is one of the most popular harvest festivals of West Bengal, with people indulging in the harvest of new rice with great excitement and joy.
Farmers across the state cheerfully take part in this ritual during Agrahayan, the Bengali month. They offer the very first grains of the harvest to Goddess Lakshmi and even thank her for bestowing her blessings. Payesh or Kheer made or new rice is the main attraction of this festival.
There is nothing like Onam when it comes to celebrating the best harvest festival of India. This festival is celebrated throughout Kerala, marking the harvest of new rice. The occasion has the same significance as the festival of Diwali celebrated in the northern parts of India.
On this day, homes are festooned with rangolis made of flowers while the people wear ethnic clothes. A huge feast is also enjoyed as part of the celebrations. Tiger dance and snake boat racing competition are key attractions of the festival.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have answered a few interesting FAQs about the best tawa for chapati.
There are 13 popular harvest festival of India which are Makar Sankranti, Baisakhi, Ladakh Harvest Festival, Lohri, Bhogali Bihu, Basant Panchami, Wangala, Ka Pomblang Nongkrem, Pongal, Nuakhai, Gudi Padwa, Nabanna, and Onam.
Harvest festivals like Pongal, Makar Sankranti, Bihu, Onam, Lohri and Basant Panchami are famous across India.
The harvest festivals are auspicious occasions and hence celebrated with joy and offering prayers. Besides this, many important astronomical transitions happen during this phase.
Diwali signifies the harvest festival. During October-November (the end of the Kharif season), the rice crops and many other Kharif crops are harvested.
Wrapping It Up!
You cannot single out any one harvest festival of India. Since India is a land of varied cultures and traditions, the people here celebrate different harvest festivals in different seasons of the year. But one thing in common is the festivals are celebrated as per traditions and rituals and with great fun and enthusiasm. The majority of these festivals celebrate the enterprise and hard work of millions of farmers living in different parts of the nation.