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Festivals and Events

Harvest Festivals of India

India is famously known as the land of festivals all throughout the world and rightly so. The festivities not only bring the people from different backgrounds and ethnicities closer but also turn the country into an alluring carnival, always having something new to offer to its tourists and visitors. India is also an agrarian country with different parts of the country growing different grains and crops through the year. This has given the country its true essence and to celebrate this essence with merriment, various harvest festivals are celebrated in several parts of India during the harvest season.

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Let us walk you through some of the major harvest festivals of India – 2020

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti is one of the most widely celebrated harvest festivals of India. Also known as Pongal, Uttarayana, Lohri, Khichdi, Shishur Saenkraat and Maagh Bihu in the country, it is celebrated in different parts with different names. The day of Makar Sankranti is considered to be the most auspicious day for Hindus wherein they take a dip in the holy waters of Ganga in different parts of the country, praying for good luck to come their way. Markar Sankranti is also a major kite flying festival in Gujarat where a lot of competitions are held as well to entertain old and young alike. One of the biggest attractions in the country during Makar Sankranti is the Kumbh Mela at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna.

Holi

The festival of colors is everyone’s favourite whether you celebrate it as a harvest festival or not. Also famously known as Phagwah, Holi signifies bidding adieu to winter and welcoming the springs with great gusto with the hope of the new season bringing in positivity and good harvests for one and all. It is celebrated with multi-hued colours that are smeared by one across the faces of friends and family and savouring hot jalebis, bhajjis and cold milk based thandais. The religious purpose of Holi is Holika Dahan as well as Rangapanchami which is celebrated the next day. Some parts of India such as the Braj region is very famous for the Lathmar Holi and is visited by a lot of tourists every year.

Baisakhi

Baisakhi, which is also famously known as Vaisakhi is the most important Harvest festival in India and is celebrated with a lot of belief all over north India. It is celebrated as the Indian thanksgiving wherein the farmers thank the Lord for a prosperous and fruitful previous year and pray for an even more prosperous harvest next year. It has religious significance for the Sikh Community as well since Guru Gobind Singh had laid the foundation of Panth Khalsa on this day.

Hareli Festival

Hareli is celebrated largely in districts of Chattisgarh during the monsoon (Sawan) months of the year i.e. from July to August. During this festival, the members of the tribes pray to cows, motherland, farming equipment and crops and celebrate the upcoming season with lots of social and cultural events and gatherings. Cher Chera is also a popular festival celebrated in Chattisgarh with dances and folk songs in tribal regions of the state.

Onam

One of the most auspicious harvest festivals down south India, Onam is celebrated like a grand carnival during the month of Chingam from August to September. The festival also has a religious significance as it is celebrated to mark the homecoming of the legendary emperor Mahabali. It is celebrated by using harvested rice and rain flowers in Kerala. Rangolis are made with flowers, the size of which keeps increasing over the ten-day period, delicious and elaborate meals are prepared, and deities are adorned with flowers during Onam. It can truly prove to be the happiest period in the southern parts of the country.

Ladakh Harvest Festival

Ladakh Harvest Festival is an integral part of the entire year in Ladakh and is celebrated all across the areas of Zanskar valley and Ladakh. The day is celebrated to commemorate Buddha, his teachings and the positive influence he had on the people of Ladakh. The pilgrimage to Thangka is made on this auspicious occasion and on this day, Ladakh looks even more stunning than ever. The monasteries are decorated beautifully and are visited by the tourists and monks every year.

Lohri

Lohri is celebrated all over North India to celebrate the end of winters and beginning of a new harvest season. Generally falling a day before Makar Sankranti, people set up huge bonfires and gather around it to perform small rituals and express their gratitude to the Lord. It is celebrated relatively differently in urban areas on a grander level especially if there has been a childbirth or marriage in the house.

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Suggested Read : Travel to North East India: ‘The Hidden Jewels’

Basant Panchami

This holy day is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of Knowledge and art. The colour yellow holds great importance on this day. People dress up in yellow attires and offer their respects the Goddess. This day has a legendary story attached to it wherein Goddess Parvati requested Kamadeva to shoot an arrow of flowers at Lord Shiva to invoke his interest in Goddess Parvati.

Wangala

Image Source : twitter.com

Wangala is the major harvest festival celebrated every year in the Northeastern part of the country. Many parts of states like Assam, Mizoram and Meghalaya are known for celebrating this day with great excitement. On this day, the entire area where celebration is conducted gets filled the beats of the drum and gong, celebratory hymns and folk dances. This festival also has a deep significance for the Assamese and Garo tribes living out of India who celebrate the festival by preparing delicious food and remembering the lord.

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Head over to the Thomas Cook website to book a trip and experience the beautiful Harvest festivals of India today!

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