Major harvest festivals related to Farming in India
India is well known around the world as the land of festivals.
Be it Diwali or Navratri, people celebrate these festivals with full vigour and joy.
We might not know this but so many of our festivals have a link to agriculture. And why not? So much of our country’s population is involved in agricultural activities.
These harvest festivals differ from region to region but the one significance of these festivals remain common – to be thankful for the bountiful harvest.
Farmers celebrate these festivals by indulging in fun and frolic and praying to the Gods for the upcoming harvest season.
Let’s take a look at the 9 prominent harvest festivals in India.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated in the second week of January. While many of us think that it’s only significance is to go up on the terrace and fly kites, it has a link to agriculture as well.
It is the most popular harvest festival of North India and it signifies the end of the harvesting season in our country and farmers put down their work and come together to celebrate this auspicious festival.
According to Hindu mythology, it is also said that this festival marks the end of an unfavourable phase and the start of a holy phase.
People celebrate the upcoming harvest season by flying kites, carnivals, bonfires, dancing and singing.
Pongal is just another name for Makar Sankranti and it is celebrated during the same time. The difference is that Pongal is celebrated mostly in South India.
Majorly celebrated in Tamil Nadu, it spans over a period of four days.
The first day is devoted to Lord Indra for the abundance of rain. Newly harvested rice and milk is cooked outdoors and offered to the Sun God on the second day. On the third day, the cattle is worshipped and on the last day, traditional coloured rice or Pongal is offered with turmeric, betel nuts and betel leaf.
The literal meaning of the word Pongal is “spilling over” and it is named after the tradition of boiling rice in a pot until it starts to spill while people worship nature and show their gratitude towards it.
The festival of Lohri is also celebrated in the month of January. It is a famous harvest festival of Punjab and other parts of North India.
The festival involves family and neighbours coming together, lighting a bonfire, singing together and offering grains, nuts and corns to appreciate and respect the great harvest of sugarcane crop.
The fire is said to signify the passing of winter and welcoming the hot season of long days. There are also many legends and tales associated with this festival.
The beating of dhol, nagadas and singing of traditional Lohri songs is also observed during this festival.
Gudi padwa is considered to be one of the most important harvest festivals for the people of Maharashtra.
It marks the beginning of the auspicious New year and the harvest season. It is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month which comes in mid-March. According to Hindu belief, it is said that Lord Brahma created the universe on this auspicious day.
The main ritual involves worshipping an adorned Bamboo stalk or Gudi that is erected in the front of the house.
People also make rangoli designs in their homes, meet their friends and relatives, exchange wishes and food items like Puran Poli, Shrikhand, Kothimbir Vadi and Sunth Paak are cooked.
The word Nabanna translates to “new rice” in Bengali and is a unique crop festival of India that is famous for paddy plantation harvest.
It is celebrated in the Bengali month of Agrahayana where as a thanksgiving offering, this new rice is harvested and offered to Goddess Lakshmi.
A mela called the Nabanna Fair is also held. Here a Bengali cuisine called “Pithe” is cooked and offered to everyone. Other cultural events like dance and music also take place as a part of the festivities.
Baisakhi is one of the most loved harvest festivals of Punjab and it is celebrated in April every year. People come together to offer their thanks to God for the good harvest in the past season and hope for a fruitful harvest in the upcoming year.
It signifies the end of the harvest season in India and it is celebrated with folk songs and dances by Sikhs all over the world.
People wear their most colorful dresses and dance to the beats of Dhol. Baisakhi fairs are also held during this festival where wrestling, acrobatics and other performances are carried out.
The most famous dish of this festival is the Peele Chawal (sweet yellow rice) which is also served as a prasad.
Onam is a popular harvest festival of Kerala which spans for over a period of 10 days. It is dedicated to the arrival of Mahabali.
The successful harvest is celebrated and gratitude to the deities is offered. People decorate their homes with colorful paintings, floral rangolis, wearing traditional new clothes and celebrating the festival with traditional music and dance.
A snake boat race contest called the Vallamkali is also carried out during Onam.
Nuakhai is the annual harvest festival of Odisha. The term Nua means new and Khai means to eat which signifies that the new crop is to be eaten at this festival after it is offered to the God.
It is celebrated in August and is also a way to give thanks to the millions of farmers that keep the country full and happy with their hard work on the field.
People enjoy sweet rice porridge and cakes during this festival.
Although this festival is celebrated by the Apatani tribe, it is quite popular among other tribes of Arunachal Pradesh as well.
It is celebrated on the 5th of July every year but the celebrations start a day earlier. It is celebrated to ensure a good harvest and people offer prayers to the four gods: Harniang, Tamu, Metti and Danyi.
As a symbol of good harvest, cucumbers are distributed and traditional dance takes place.
At Utkarsh, we are proud of our rich heritage of harvest festivals and to make every farmer around the country happy to be a part of these festivals, we have spent years researching and coming up with the best products that will result in a fruitful yield of each crop you plan to grow.
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