Harvest Festivals of India and How It Is Celebrated

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Harvest Festivals of India

India is a land where festivals occur every month. Not only do Indian people celebrate the light, colors, birthdays of gods and goddesses, and more, but they also celebrate harvest festivals. You will see most states celebrate harvest festivals of India, and it differs from each of the states.

The first harvest of a crop is joyful and delightful for people so, people celebrate it as a harvest festival.

India is a colorful nation, and the lively harvest festivals of India include fascinating mythic legends, blissful celebrations, and enjoyment. Further, they are as outstanding and different as the people and their landscapes. Moreover, the festival exhibit the exquisiteness of our culture and tradition.

So, if you plan to visit and experience these places in India, start scrolling down! We will give you a brief of possibly everything you need to know about the harvest festivals of India.

What is harvest festival meaning?

A harvest festival is a yearly celebration that happens when it is the first harvest of a particular region. Since different places have different climatic conditions, you will notice the harvest festivals happening all around the year.

It is mainly a feasting celebration with family, friends, and the community. You will notice the crops to harvest when they mature during the celebration.

12 harvest festivals of India

Here is a list of harvest festivals Indian people celebrate:

Makar Sankranti

One of the oldest harvest festivals of India is Makar Sankranti.

According to Hindu mythology, it is regarded as a vital mystical practice. And during this festival, people take a dip in rivers such as Ganga, Kaveri, Godavari, Yamuna, and Krishna. All are holy rivers.

There is a belief that bathing in the rivers, will remove the past sins. People also offer their prayer to the God Surya for all the wealth and successes.

You will see Makara Sankranti to celebrate all over India with different names. But you may see people celebrating it on the same date or at multiple dates around the same time.

It is known as Poush Sankranti in West Bengal, Magh Bihu in Assam, Makara Sankranti in Maharashtra, and Karnataka, Pongal in Tamil Nadu. You will see in the north and central part of India it is known as Magha Mela. Maghara Valaku in Kerala, and Pedda Panduga in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

It is celebrated on 14th January (Thursday) 2021.

Makar Sankranti

Ka Pomblang Nongkrem

The people of Khasi Hills worship Goddess Ka Blei Synshar. You will notice them celebrating the bountiful harvest with excitement and great enthusiasm. It is celebrated in Smit village, which is located near Shillong.

This festival brings happiness, contentment, and ultimate joy to the community.

The main purpose of this festival to bring awareness of the beliefs and customs to their next generation. It is a five-day event, and people from different tribes and religions also participate in this festival.

The rituals of the festival include the Nongkrem sword dance, where they hold a whisk made from yak hair and animal sacrifices.

It is celebrated on the 2nd and 3rd week of November (2021).

Baisakhi

The people from Haryana and Punjab celebrate this festival to thank God for harvest. The farmer of India expresses their contentment and happiness through these harvest festivals of India.

Moreover, it is also a memorial of the creation of the Khalsa Panth for warriors who were under Guru Gobind in the year 1699.

Everyone wore colorful clothes, dance and sing happy songs on this day. The people in Punjab very much love Baisakhi.

The fairs organized wresting, vanjli, algoza, and acrobatics, and people perform during this time. Thus, it is an interesting festival in India.

It is celebrated on 14th April (Wednesday) 2021.

Baisakhi

Nabanna

Nabbanna is a paddy plantation festival that West Bengal celebrates.You will see new crops harvested with great enthusiasm. They usually stock them up in the houses.

During the month of Agrahayan, which is a Bengali month, people of West Bengal celebrate this festival. The people offer Goddess Lakshmi the first grain and are thankful to her for the blessings.

There is a fair on that day, and many people participate in competitions and cultural programs. The competitions are mainly seat and draw, pithe making (cooking different types of Bengali sweet dishes), waling competition for senior citizens, etc.

The ‘art camp’ also gets a lot of attention from various creative people from the country. A lot of different artists from several states participate in this.

Locals also show their cultural sides such as Jatra, Baul song, Tarja, chou dance, and koobi gaan.

You can see some rare Bengali items such as Dhenki, which is an old-style rice mill, in the exhibition.

It is celebrated on 16th June (Monday) 2021.

Ladakh Harvest Festival

It is best you know that the Jammu & Kashmir Tourism department organizes this festival. The place looks lovely, bright, and gorgeous from the start of the harvest festival.

All the stupas and monasteries are decorated, people visit Thangka of the Kyabjee Gombo. Some of the other features of the events are archery, cultural ceremonies, handicrafts, and arts. You will see the finest display of all the artworks here.

Ladakh festival Cup is a polo tournament that is hosted during the festival, and in Leh Bazar, a trade mart of Central Asia is held.

The monks perform a masked dance, and the harvest festival ends with a parade walking around the pathways of Ladakh.

The festival replicates a mixture of ethnicities and takes inspiration from the North Indian, Asian, and Tibetan cultures. You will also see  Zanskar valley and Kargil district to celebrate this.

It is celebrated on 3rd January (Sunday) 2021.

Ladakh Harvest Festival 

Wangala

Garo tribes of Northeastern India play 100 drums to celebrate this festival. It is among the well-known harvest festivals of India at the start of winter.

People from Assam, Nagaland, and Meghalaya celebrate this festival and often called “The Hundred Drums”

The people offer their prayers to the Sun God. Men play the drums rhythmically, and women dance to celebrate the festival. They are dressed in traditional outfits and wear headgear which is similar to the Wangala.

The priest known as Kamal performs two rituals on the first day. Rugala means pouring the rice beer and Cha chat. Also, you will notice incense burning is done on the first day.

13th November (Saturday) in 2021 is the day this festival is going to take place.

Agera

Agera is a crop festival that some cities in Maharashtra celebrates. Generally, takes place in October (first Sunday). Thane, Mumbai, Vasai, and Raigad commemorate this.

The Catholic locals mainly celebrate it, and they thank God for the blessing they received in the year. Sometimes people even regard this day as the “Thanksgiving Sunday.”

The priest of the place blesses the farmlands and plucks some sheaves. You will find the people to celebrate this festival with dance and music.

You will notice many food stands outside the churches. Moreover, The crops are first bought here before they distribute it among the people.

It is celebrated on 3rd October (Sunday) 2021.

Bhogali Bihu

Everyone from Assam showcases their eagerness and joy to celebrate Bhogali Bihu or Magh Bihu. The farmers from Assam cherish and treasure the efforts of the cultivation.

Bhogali Bihu starts the night before with the Uruka, which is the community feast. The next day pavilions made from hay and clay are burnt.

Some people make temporary huts from leaves, thatch, and bamboos known as Bhelaghar or Meji. Inside the huts, people eat the foods that they made, and the next day in the morning, they burn these huts.

15th January (Friday) 2021 is the day this festival will take place.

Bhogali Bihu 

Onam

It is a  legendary festival from Kerala that people celebrate for ten days when Mahabali arrives.

Malayalee people wear new clothes, decorate their houses, celebrate with dance and music, and cook traditional Kerala food and rangolis.

Foods such as avial, payasam, parippu curry, rasam, and brown rice are made. People usually serve this in a green leaf.

The first month of the Malayalam calendar is Chingam, and Onam is celebrated at that time.

It is ended with Thiruvonam. The ten days are Atham, Chodhi, Uthradam, Moolam, Thriketa, Anizham, Pooradam, Chithira, Vishakam, and Thiruuvonam.

The first and the last is the most crucial part of this harvest festival. Even though Onam ends with Thiruvonam, the next two days are also celebrated as Third Onam and Fourth Onam.

Third Onam, known as Avvittom, is the day King Mahabali returns to the heavens. On this day, the Onathappan statue is taken and immerse in the river. Also, the statue was placed in the middle of the Pookkalam for ten days.

It starts on 12th August (Thursday) and ends on 23rd August (Monday) 2021.

Dree Festival

The Apatani tribe from Arunachal Pradesh celebrate this harvest festival. During the festival, sacrifices are made, and prayers are offered to God. Moreover, people generally celebrate this in the first week of July in the district of Ziro.

The harvest festival is a joyous moment, and the people dress in their traditional clothes.

They do art, music, and traditional dance. The main food during this harvest festival is millet beer and tangy rice.

Moreover, people orgainze a lot of sports and games during these three days festivals. It is a means of  entertainment for the locals and onlookers.

This tribe prays to four Gods – Danvi, Harniang, Tamu, and Metii. So that they get the blessings of another great harvest season in the next year.

The date for this year is not known yet.

Holi

Holi counts among one of the colorful and famous harvest festivals of India. that is celebrate it with enthusiasm and good spirits.

You can also refer to these as the “festival of love,” “festival of spring,” and “festival of colors.”

The festival has cultural and social significance among the Hindus. Holi is a celebration to get rid of past mistakes and errors. Also, it marks the end of all the conflicts with others.

This day people forgive and forget and pay the debts, also starts a new life ahead without past mistakes. It is also the start of the spring season.

Individuals pay or forgive the debts of others and deal afresh with people who are close to them. Holi is also the start of the spring season, a time for individuals to enjoy and cherish the changing seasons and make new friends.

28th March (Sunday) and 29th March (Monday) in 2021 are the days to celebrate Holi.

Holi

Nuakhai

It is an ancient harvest festival in Odisha. ‘Nua’ meaning new, and the word ‘Khai’ means food.

Naukhai is celebrated to pass away the evil and bad days. You will notice them welcoming the new days with excitement and open arms. Further, it happens the day after Ganesh Chaturthi. And you need to celebrate at a specific time of the day, commonly known as lagan.

During the time of lagan, inhabitants remember and pray to the village Goddess and God. Then they have their new food.

11th September (Saturday) in 2021 is the day to celebrate this festival.

Common Enquiries About the Harvest Festivals

What are the harvest festivals from Bihar known as?

Makar Sankranti is the only harvest festival that Bihar celebrates.

Is Diwali a harvest festival?

Diwali does not count among the harvest festivals of India.

What is the harvest festival from Rajasthan known as?

Gangaur is the most important festival in Rajasthan. Womenfolk with great devotion and enthusiasm worship Gauri. It happens during March or April.

Are there harvest festivals around the world?

A lot of countries celebrate the harvest festival. It does not limit to India.

What country other than India celebrates it?

Countries where a large portion of people depend on the agriculture industry celebrate the harvest festivals. So, countries like Bangladesh, United Kingdom, Thailand, Argentina, Israel, Indonesia, Greece, and Italy have harvest festivals.

Why is Wangala dance special?

Wangala dance is a way to offer prayer to God. It is a carnival type of festival during the harvest seasons.

Final thoughts

The harvest festivals of India brings in fame and recognition globally. If you plan to come during one of the harvest festivals, you need to book your tickets fast.

It is impossible to attend all the harvest festivals at one time, so decide which one you want to attend again. Lastly, if you celebrate any of the harvest festivals, do let us know in the comment section below.

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