As the year begins, India, whose 70% the population even today depends on agriculture, is all set to celebrate differently harvest festivals across the nation.
Here is a list of 17 popular or lesser-known harvest festivals that are celebrated across the country.
Lohri: A very popular harvest festival celebrated the North Indian region amongst the Punjabi communities, showcases traditional dance and songs. As this festival comes in the winter-most time of the year, people gather around the bonfire, sing together and offer grains, corn, and nuts to respect and appreciate the grand harvest of sugarcane crops. Date: 13th January 2020.
Pongal: Celebrated with another name as Makar Sankranti in Southern parts of India, this is a thanksgiving celebration where people offer their deep gratitude to Mother Nature for the produce of the year. Celebrated for 4 days, this is the most popular festivals of Tamil Nadu. Date: 15th January to 18th January 2020
Gudi Padwa: Following the festive spree in the month of January, this is a very the important harvest festival of Maharashtra, which comes in the month of March. Making rangoli designs at the entrance of their homes and decorate it with flowers and a handmade doll, people in the state welcome New Year. Date: March 25, 2020.
Ugadi: Celebrated as regional New Year for people of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Ugadi is considered auspicious to start new work and ventures. On the day, local people take an oil bath, wear traditional clothes, decorate homes with earthen lamps and rangoli, and perform Ugadi puja at home. Date: 25th March 2020.
Baisakhi: Celebrated in North India, people of Punjab and Haryana celebrate Baisakhi festival or Vaisakhi by thanking God for the good harvest. Wearing their best colourful dresses, people sing the happiest songs, and dance to the melodious beats of Dhol. Date: 13th April 2020.
Vishu: It is a festival in which Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna is worshipped. To celebrate the festival, people of Kerela and Karnataka hosts massive family lunch, evening prayers, and fireworks. Women of the house make Vishukkani—varieties of traditional cuisine to offer to Gods—, with rice, golden lemon, golden cucumber, jackfruit, yellow konna flowers, and betel leaves. Date: 14th April 2020.
Dree Festival: The 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. The festival is celebrated with utmost joy by people from all walks of life who dress up in traditional clothes. The entire ritual is carried out to pray before the four Gods – Tamu, Harniang, Metii, and Danyi – so that the Apatanis can be blessed with a bountiful harvest season. Date: 5th July 2020
Onam: A legendary harvest festival of Kerala, which is celebrated with great enthusiasm in different parts of the state. Celebrated for 10 days with the arrival of Mahabali, Malayalee people decorate their house entrance with floral rangoli, wear new traditional clothes, women cook delicious food, and celebrate with traditional music and dance. Date: 22nd August to 2nd September 2020.
Nuakhai: An age-old harvest celebration in Odisha is made with two words – ‘Nua’ meaning new and ‘Khai’ meaning food. The festival is also known as Nuakhai Parab or Nuakhai Bhetghat. Date: 23rd August 2020.
Agera: Celebrated on the first Sunday of October in the regions of Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, and Vasai, Agera marks the harvest season of Maharashtra when Catholic locals thank “thank God for the abundance of blessings received”. It is also sometimes called the ‘Thanksgiving Sunday and is characterised by a lively procession to the nearest paddy field where a priest blesses the farm and plucks a few sheaves. Date: 4th October 2020.
Wangala Festival: 100 drums played by Garo tribes of northeast India, this is one of the popular harvest festivals of India marking the onset of winter. During this festival, Sun God is worshiped with immense devotion and zeal. Women wear their traditional colourful clothes and dance during this harvesting festival while men rhythmically drum their fingers on the traditional drum pads. Date: second week of November
Ka Pomblang Nongkrem: Worshipping Goddess Ka Blei Synshar and celebrate the plentiful harvest with vigour and excitement, this festival brings utmost joy and happiness to the community. The celebration comprises of animal sacrifice and Nongkrem dance with a sword in one hand and yak hair whisk on the other. Date: 2nd or 3rd week of November.
Nabanna: This is a harvest festival of the Bengal, which is celebrated in the Bengali month of Agrohyon. At this time, the new rice is harvested, and farmers offer the first harvest to Goddess Lakshmi as a thanksgiving offering. Date: Not announced.
Ladakh Harvest Festival: Ladakh Harvest Festival has gained immense popularity and fame all over the world. Ladakh looks bright, beautiful, and absolutely stunning with the commencement of this harvest festival. 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. Ladakh festivals lure travelers from across the world with their exclusive experiences. Date: Yet to be announced.
Hareli: One of the major harvest festival of tribal Chhattisgarh state, celebrate during the holy month of Sawan or in the month of monsoon (July-August). During the Hareli festival of Chhattisgarh tribes worshipping farm equipment, cows and pray for good crops along with many social and cultural events.
This is a list of harvest festivals celebrated across the country throughout the year. Following this, many post-harvest festivals are also celebrated.