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6 Major Harvest Festivals in Our Country

In our country, we celebrate life and all those things which help in living our lives well. One such celebration is Harvest festivals. In different states of India, harvest festivals are being celebrated based on the main crops of that region and its timing. But regardless of state or time, the main reason behind every harvest festival is to welcome new food and to bid thanks to almighty for giving us an important aspect of our lives, harvest.

Here are few harvest festivals that we celebrate with excitement and zeal every year : 

1. Makara Sankranti in January: Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in almost every state of India. This festival is to honour the beginning of the harvest season and end of the northeast monsoon in South India. Makar Sankranti is respected as the beginning of an auspicious phase in Indian (Hindu) culture. It is cited as the 'holy phase of transition'. Makara Sankranti is known as Pongal, Uttarayana, Lohri, Khichdi, Shishir Sankraat and Maagh Bihu. Kite flying is also an important part of this festival.

2.  Baisakhi in April: Baisakhi or Vaishakhi refers to the harvest festival of the Punjab region. The Punjabi New Year also falls on the same day. This day is observed as a thanksgiving day by farmers when they pay their tribute to God with thanking for the abundant harvest and also pray for future prosperity. There are different rituals that are being performed this day. Drums are played and people sing and dance. This harvest festival is also characterized by the folk dance Bhangra which traditionally is a harvest dance.

3.  Bihu in April: Bihu denotes three different festivals celebrated in Asaam. These three festivals are Maagh in January, Bohaag in April and Kaati in October. Rongali Bihu or Bohag Bihu is the major among the three and most popular Bihu festival, celebrated as the Assamese New Year in mid-April along with spring season. It’s a seven days festival and is always celebrated with the feeling of joy, worship, traditional cuisines and folk dance.

4.  Hareli festival in July-August: The Hareli festival is one of the popular festivals of tribal Chhattisgarh state. The word 'Hareli' is derived from the Hindi word 'Haryali' which means greenery. It is a festival celebrated by the various communities of the farmer in the Hindu month of Savan. While celebrating this festival the farmers of Chhattisgarh worship their equipments used for farming and cows of their houses. The farmers pray for a good harvest and the main purpose of this festival is to celebrate nature and its generosity.

5. Onum in August-September: This festival is like a grand carnival of Kerala. This ancient festival marks the commemoration of Vamana avatar of God Vishnu and yearly homecoming of the mythical Emperor Mahabali. It is regarded as Kerala's rice harvest festival and the festival of Rain Flowers, which fall on the month of Chingam (August-September). Amazingly it’s a ten-day festival which is celebrated with various celebrations such as flower carpets, Vallamkali, Puli Kali and Kaikottikkali.

6.  Nuakhai in August-September: Naukhai is the harvest festival being celebrated in Orissa. Nuakhai is also known as Nuakhai Parab or Nuakahi Bhetghat.  It is celebrated to welcome the new rice of the season. The word ‘nua’ means new and ‘khai’ means food, so the name represents that the farmers fruitfully got the newly harvested rice. The festival is regarded as a new ray of hope, held the day after the Ganesha Chaturthi festival.

I'm sure there are many other harvest festivals in India which I'm not aware of. So based on my knowledge. I have tried to give a glimpse of few of such festivals and where/when they are being celebrated. Please share your thoughts if you know any other harvest festival.

Also, I wish the new year will bring lots of happiness and good luck to everyone. I'm showing my gratitude to our mother nature for giving us life and resources for leading our lives ahead.


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