India’s Winter Harvest Festivals

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    • India is popularly known as the land of festivals and 14 January is especially festive as different parts of the country celebrate the harvest festival by different names.

    Significance of these festivals

    • The festival is celebrated to mark the beginning of the harvesting season in the country: and is probably the only one that is celebrated in every region of India, on the same day, but in different manners and names.
    • Sun’s northward journey: It is associated with the sun’s northward journey.
    • A Harvest festival is a celebration of the food grown on the land: Given the difference in climate and crops around the world, harvest festivals can be found at various times at different places.
    • Harvest festivals in Asia: include the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most widely spread harvest festivals in the world.

    Major Festivals 

     

    Festival

    Region

    Significance

    Lohri

    Punjab and northern parts of India

    • Observed by both Hindus and Sikhs in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • It marks the onset of harvest season.

    Makar Sankranti

    Harvest festival of North India

    • Referring to the Sanskrit term sankramana, which means “to begin to move,” Makar Sankranti is a solar holiday denoting the northward transition of the sun into Makar (Capricorn) on its celestial path.
    • It is the oldest and the most colorful harvest festival in India. It is also the most celebrated harvest festival of North India.

    Pongal

    Tamil Nadu

    • In Tamil, pongal translates to “spilling over”, and so the festival derives its name from the tradition of boiling rice in a pot until it starts to overflow.
    • Pongal is a four-day festival with the first day being devoted to Lord Indra for an abundance of rain.

    Bhogali Bihu

    Assam

    • The celebration starts one night before with Uruka-the community feast.
    • Also known as Magh Bihu, this is a vibrant festival marked in the east.

    Baisakhi

    Punjab and Haryana

    • People of Punjab and Haryana celebrate Baisakhi festival or Vaisakhi by thanking God for the good harvest.

    Ladakh Harvest Festival

    Ladakh, Zanskar, Kargil

    • 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.

    Basant Panchami

    Eastern parts of India West Bengal & Bihar

    • Basant Panchami marks the onset of the spring season.
    • One can see the magnificent mustard crop fields in the countryside, especially rural areas of Haryana and Punjab.

    Wangala

    Meghalaya and Assam

    • Wangala is the merriment of 100 drums played by Garo tribes of northeast India.
    • During this festival, Sun God is worshiped with immense devotion and zeal.

    Ka Pomblang Nongkrem

    Meghalaya

    • The inhabitants of Khasi hills worship Goddess Ka Blei Synshar and celebrate the plentiful harvest with vigour and excitement.

    Nuakhai

    Orissa

    • 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.

    Gudi Padwa

    Maharashtra

    • People make rangoli designs at the entrance of their homes and decorate them with flowers and a handmade doll.

    Nabanna

    West Bengal

    • Nabana is amongst one of the crop festivals of India which is famous for the paddy plantation harvest.
    • This is one of the most celebrated traditions of Bengal, where new rice is harvested with sheer joy and stocked in homes.

    Onam

    Some regions of Kerala

    • 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.

    Ugadi

    Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka

    • This harvest festival is considered auspicious to start new work and ventures.

    Vishu

    Kerala and Karnataka

    • Grand worship of Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna, elaborate family lunch, evening prayers, and fireworks sum up the complete picture of the Vishu festival.

    Agera

    Mumbai

    • Agera is one of the crop festivals of India celebrated with great enthusiasm by the people of Mumbai.

    Dree Festival

    Arunachal Pradesh

    • The Dree Festival is among the most famous festivals in Arunachal Pradesh as it marks an important time of the year for the Apatani tribe-the harvest season.

    Source: PIB