Festivals have always been the most memorable and favorite part of a traveler’s journey through different countries and continents. Being the colorful nation that India is, the most vibrant harvest festivals of India involve interesting mythological legends and joyous celebrations. They are as incredible and diverse as its people and landscapes and let you experience the beauty of the Indian culture.
However, dates for harvest festivals in different parts of the country vary due to diversity in climate. See the list of harvest festivals in India, may it be north, east, west or south!
17 Harvest Festivals Of North India
Here is a list of the harvest festivals of North India that you might be interested to know about for having a vibrant experience. Take a look!
1. Makar Sankranti – An Auspicious Day For Hindus
Celebrated all over the country, Makar Sankranti is the oldest and the most colorful harvest festival in India. It is also the most celebrated harvest festival of North India making it the top harvest festival of Uttar Pradesh. As per Hindu mythology, this festival marks the end of an unfavorable phase and the beginning of a holy phase. Particularly in villages of Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Himachal, West Bengal, and Punjab, people celebrate the harvest of new crops with bonfire, carnivals, songs, dances, kite flying, and rallies.
Where is Makar Sankranti celebrated: Pan India in different ways but mainly in the north
Key attractions of Makar Sankranti festival: Kumbh Mela and various sumptuous sweet dishes made of sesame and jaggery
Date: 14th January 2019
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2. Baisakhi – Celebrating With The Rhythms Of Dhol And Bhangra
People of Punjab and Haryana celebrate Baisakhi or Vaisakhi by thanking God for the good harvest. And the farmers of the country express their happiness and delight through this Indian harvest festival. People wear their best colorful dresses, sing the happiest songs, and dance to the melodious beats of Dhol. Baisakhi fairs are also organised where acrobatics, wresting, algoza, and vanjli performances can be seen.
Where is Baisakhi celebrated: Punjab and Haryana
Key attractions of Baisakhi festival: Bhangra by menfolk and Gidda by women
Date: 14th April 2019
3. Ladakh Harvest Festival – Buddhist Tradition At Its Best
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.
Where Ladakh Harvest Festival celebrated: Ladakh, Zanskar, Kargil
Key attractions of Ladakh Harvest Festival: Dramas or ‘Chhams’ are performed to display life and teachings of Buddha and different dance forms of Tibetan culture
Date: 25th to 28th September 2019
Suggested Read: 10 Festivals Of Ladakh That Celebrate The Life In The Valley
4. Lohri – A Punjabi Folk Festival
Lohri is a renowned harvest festival in Punjab that showcases traditional dance and songs. To kill the chills of winter, the entire family and neighbours gather around the bonfire and sing together and offers grains, corns, and nuts to respect and appreciate the grand harvest of sugarcane crops.
Where is Lohri celebrated: Punjab
Key attractions of Lohri festival: The Punjabi folklore Sunder Mundriye sung by everyone
Date: 13th January 2019
5. Basant Panchami – To Celebrate Birth Of Goddess Saraswati
Basant Panchami marks the onset of spring season. Celebrated in different states of North India, it is considered an auspicious day. This festival is associated with yellow color, which is a color of spirituality. One can see the magnificent mustard crop fields in the countryside, especially rural areas of Haryana and Punjab.
Key attractions of Basant Panchami festival: Indian cuisine like Meethe Chawal, Maake ki Roti, and Sarso Ka Saag
Date: 22nd January, 2019
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Harvest Festivals Of North-East India
Here is a list of the harvest festivals of North East India that will give you a heart-warming experience while exploring India. Take a look!
6. Bhogali Bihu – Of Bliss And Cheerfulness
Every year in January, the entire state of Assam showcases enthusiasm and delight in celebrating Bhogali Bihu. The farmers of Assam celebrate and cherish the efforts of cultivation and reap the benefits. The celebration starts one night before with Uruka—the community feast. On the day of Bihu, the mejis or pavilion made of clay and hay are burnt. Local women wear stunning mukhlas and participate in group songs and dance. Also known as Magh Bihu, this is an exotic and most vibrant name on the list of harvest festivals of India.
Where is Bihu celebrated: Assam
Key attractions of Bihu festival: Bihu dance, bullfight, bird fight and Sunga Pitha, Til Pitha and Laru
Date: 15th January 2019
Suggested Read: Top 10 Summer Festivals In India You Shouldn’t Miss In 2019
7. Wangala – Echoes Of Drums And Songs Everywhere
Wangala is the merriment of 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.
Where is Wangala celebrated: Meghalaya and Assam
Key attractions of the Wangala festival: Musical extravaganza with drums, flutes, and gongs
Date: 9th to 11th November 2019
8. Ka Pomblang Nongkrem – The Dance Festival Of Meghalaya
The inhabitants of Khasi hills worship Goddess Ka Blei Synshar and celebrate the plentiful harvest with vigour and excitement. Ka Pomblang Nongkrem brings ultimate joy and happiness to the community. The celebration comprises of animal sacrifice and Nongkrem dance with sword in one hand and yak hair whisk on the other.
Where is Ka Pomblang Nongkrem celebrated: Meghalaya
Key attractions of Ka Pomblang Nongkrem festival: Pemblang ceremony and Ceremony of Tangmuri
Date: 5-day long festival begins in 3rd week of November
Festivals In East And West India
Here is a list of the harvest festivals of East and West India that will let you absorb the culture of the country and give you a soul-stirring experience. Take a look!
9. Nuakhai – Worship Of Food Grains
Nuakhai is an age old harvest celebration in Odisha. Locally ‘nua’ means new and ‘khai’ means food. This is not only a popular harvest festival in India, but also celebrated to appreciate the passing away of the past and evil days while welcoming the new and beautiful with open arms. The festival is also known as Nuakhai Parab or Nuakhai Bhetghat.
Where is Nuakhai celebrated: Orissa
Key attractions of Nuakhai festival: The delicious Arsaa Pitha (sweet pancakes)
Date: 14th September 2019
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10. Gudi Padwa – A Springtime Ceremony
Gudi Padwa is a grand harvest festival of Maharashtra marking the beginning of an auspicious New Year. People make rangoli designs at the entrance of their homes and decorate it with flowers and a handmade doll . Folks meet friends and relatives, exchange wishes, and women cook sweets like Puran Poli, Shrikhand, and Sunth Paak.
Where is Gudi Padwa celebrated: Maharashtra
Key attractions of Gudi Padwa festival: Local people make Gudi (bamboo doll) using mango and neem leaves and hang them at the entrance.
Date: 18th March 2019
Suggested Read: 13 Most Spectacular Festivals In March In India
11. Nabanna – The Festival Of The New Harvest
This is one of the most celebrated traditions of Bengal, where new rice is harvested with sheer joy and stocked in homes. Farmers from Bengal cheerfully participate in this harvest ritual in the Bengali month of Agrahayan and offer the first grains to Goddess Lakshmi while thanking her for all blessings.
Where is Nabanna celebrated: West Bengal
Key attractions of Nabanna festival: Payesh (Kheer) made from the newly harvested rice and Nabanna fair.
Date: November and December
Harvest Festivals Of South India
Here is a list of the harvest festivals of South India that will help you know the history and culture of south India. Take a look!
12. Onam – The Harvest Festival Of India
Onam is a legendary harvest festival of Kerala celebrated with great enthusiasm in different parts of Kerala. The festival is celebrated for 10 days with the arrival of Mahabali. To relish the successful harvest, Malayalee people decorate their house entrance with floral rangoli, wear new traditional clothes, women cook delicious food, and celebrate with traditional music and dance.
Where is Onam celebrated: Some regions of Kerala
Key attractions of Onam festival: Traditional Malayalee recipes like Rasam, Payasam, Avial, brown rice and parippu curry are offered to guests in traditional green leaf, snake boat race and tiger dance are also exciting to watch.
Date: 15th August to 27th August 2019
13. Pongal – Displaying Gratitude To Mother Nature
Pongal is another name for Makar Sankranti, which is celebrated during the same time in various cities of Tamil Nadu. This is a thanksgiving celebration where people express their deep gratitude to mother nature for the produce of the year. This is one of the most colourful harvest festivals of India celebrated for 4 days.
The first day is the Bhogi Festival devoted to Lord Indra for abundance of rain. On the second day, newly harvested rice and milk is cooked outdoor and offered to Sun God. Third day is for cattle worship and on the fourth day, Pongal or traditional coloured rice is offered with turmeric, betel leaf, and betel nuts.
Where is Pongal celebrated: Tamil Nadu
Key attractions of Pongal festival: Decorated houses with Kolam, bull taming contests, bonfire with agricultural wastes and worship for the family’s prosperity
Date: 14th to 17th January 2019
Suggested Read: 15 Winter Festivals In India You Must Attend
14. Ugadi – A Festival To Thank The Deity
Ugadi is a regional New Year celebration for people of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This harvest festival is considered auspicious to start new work and ventures. On the day, local people take oil bath, wear traditional clothes, decorate homes with earthen lamps and rangoli, and perform Ugadi puja at home.
Where is Ugadi celebrated: Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
Key attractions of Ugadi festival: The Ugadi delicacies like Ugadi Pachadi, Pulihora and Bobbatlu are prepared with raw mango, jaggery, neem, and tamarind.
Date: 18th March 2019
15. Vishu – The Day Of Worshiping Lord Krishna
Grand worship of Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna, elaborate family lunch, evening prayers, and fireworks sum up the complete picture of Vishu festival. This is an interesting harvest festival celebrated on the first day of Malayalee New Year. Women of the house prepare Vishukkani—varieties of traditional cuisine to offer to Gods—, with rice, golden lemon, golden cucumber, jackfruit, yellow konna flowers, and betel leaves.
Where is Vishu celebrated: Kerala and Karnataka
Key attractions of Vishu festival: Kani Kanal—the first holy sight of Vishnu and the Sadya—the grand mid-day meal spread
Date: 14th April 2019
Celebrated on the first Sunday of October in the regions of Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, and Vasai, it 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 characterized by a lively procession to the nearest paddy field where a priest blesses the farm and plucks a few sheaves. The procession is accompanied by music and dance. Various food stalls are set up outside churches where the blessed paddy is finally brought before being distributed to the participants.
Date: 3rd March, 2019
17. Dree Festival
The Dree 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. Characterized by sacrificial offerings and prayers, Dree is celebrated on the 5th of July every year in the Ziro district of Arunachal Pradesh. The festival is celebrated with utmost joy by people of all walks of life who dress up in traditional clothes. Locals perform traditional dance and music numbers while others enjoy a feast of tangy rice and millet beer. Other than this, the three-day festival is also marked by various games and sports that the locals and onlookers are entertained with. 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, 2019
Further Read: 15 Famous Festivals Of India
You must attend at least a few of the harvest festivals of India in different states. You’ll be amazed to witness the great diversity of this gorgeous land. Taking a trip to these Indian states during their harvest festivals will help you learn a great deal about their vivid culture, heritage, and traditions. So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip now!
Frequently Asked Questions About Harvest Festivals In India
A. No, Diwali is not a harvest festival.
A. Makar Sankranti is the harvest festival of Bihar.
A. A harvest festival is a celebration of the food that has been grown on the land. It marks that time of the year when all the crops that had been sowed in and cared for round the clock have been harvested.
A. Gangaur is the harvest festival of Rajasthan and one of the most colourful and important festivals. It is celebrated throughout the state with great enthusiasm and devotion by womenfolk who worship Gauri during the month of March/ April.
A. The Wangala festival is a carnival to celebrate the harvest season. Prayer is offered to God and celebrated by singing and dancing.
A. Pongal, Onam and Ugadi are the famous harvest festivals of South India. All these festivals help one knows about the culture of South India.
A. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states in India celebrates Ugadi festival with full zeal and enthusiasm.
A. Mostly regions that are involved in agricultural practices celebrate their respective harvest seasons. Some of the countries that celebrate harvest festivals include Argentina, Indonesia, Thailand, Israel, Greece, Italy, United Kingdom.