Agriculture in India
Feeding the teeming millions is not a mean task. Without proper stress on agriculture, it will be impossible for a country like India to meet the food requirements of the countrymen. Thanks to the climatic and soil diversity of the nation, the farmers residing in various parts of the country can produce the more than one crop during the year. For this reason, the Indian harvest festivals, in different parts of the nation, have a unique character, flavor, and color.
Search the internet, and you will be able to acquire a significant amount of knowledge on the agricultural status of the nation. As India has a diverse climate, the crop production is not same throughout. Rice is mainly cultivated in the eastern parts of the country while the western arid states are known for the cultivation of wheat.
Photo by George Augustine
Types of crops harvested in the country
When discussing the types of crops, the farmers in India have the advantage of reaping two separate crops, the summer crop, and the winter crop. The summer crop is known as the Kharif, and the winter crop is known as Rabi. The categorization of the crop is done on the basis of the time when the seeds are sown and when the mature crop is cultivated. The climate of the area is the main factor that decides the type of the crop. The harvesting of the crop is a happy time for the farmers as it will bring in prosperity for the agricultural workers and also the nation. A significant amount of the grains are also exported to other countries, and it earns foreign exchange for the country.
Various Indian harvest festivals
The Indian harvest festivals are known by different names. The names and the time when it is celebrated depend on the area. Thus there is a lot of color and uniqueness associated with these occasions. The farm and the crop are very important for the farmers. They worship it as a blessing of the God. So, the harvest festivals are not only a time of celebration but are also seen as a religious occasion. In this article, you will acquire information about the various harvest festivals and the traditions associated with them.
Onam in Kerala
The Onam is the harvest festival that is celebrated in the state of Kerala. It is located in South India. It is one of the Indian harvest festivals that is celebrated during the months of August and September. During the celebration of this festival, it is a tradition among the residents of the area to worship their gods and thank them for the good crops. Thiruvona Sadhya is a part of the tradition, and it is a kind of special meal that is made only in Kerala.
The women of the household toil for the entire day and make delicious dishes. They must make at least 50 different kinds of cuisines. Pulikali and Onam Pattu are also a part of the tradition where the locals dress in the costumes of tigers. Then they march on the streets, and the local musicians also add uniqueness to the procession by rhythmically beating drums.
Photo by ramesh Iyanswamy
Pongal in Tamil Nadu
Pongal is also considered as one of the most colorful Indian harvest festivals. It is mainly celebrated by the residents of the Tamil Nadu. It is also known as the Tai Pongal. The farmers celebrate the harvest festival in the month of January. The total duration of the festival is four days. According to the traditions, the second day of Pongal is most fortunate, and all the religious activities are done on this day.
As crop production is not possible without the rays of the sun, Pongal is mainly celebrated to appease the sun god. The significant part of the festival is the preparation of the meal that is offered to the god. It has to be cooked outdoors and on an open fire. It is equivalent to the New Year celebration in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is a tradition to wash the entire house before the puja and people wear new clothes to welcome the harvest.
Baisaakhi in Punjab
If you visit the state of Punjab during the month of April, you will see that the entire state has decked up for welcoming the harvest season. The Vaisaakhi, also known as Baisaakhi is the most colorful of all Indian harvest festivals. The farmers gather around in the farm and burn the “lori” that marks the beginning of the New Year according to the Punjabi calendar. Apart from singing devotional songs, the farmers also dance and sing around the fire to express their happiness and prosperity.
Makara Sankranthi in the northern states
Every year, the people of the northern states celebrate Makara Sankranthi with much grandeur. The harvest festival is celebrated in January. Though Makara Sankranthi is the most popular name, people in some areas call it by other names as well. The event marks the transition phase of the sun just after the winter term. It is mainly celebrated to honor the blessings of the Sun God, without whom, the farmers will not be able to reap a good crop.
Rongali Bihu in Assam
Maagh (January), Bohaag (April) and Kaati (October) are the three times when the people of Assam dress in their best attire and gather to celebrate the most popular harvest festival in the state – Bihu. Just like the other parts of the county, Bihu will mark the beginning of the Assamese New Year. Apart from the traditional pujas, the people celebrate the occasion by singing folk songs and dancing their signature Bihu dance. As it is a harvest festival, food is an important part of the celebration. Preparing traditional dishes is a must in all homes during this time. So, if you want to get the taste of traditional Assam, then it is better to visit the state during these months.
Featured Photo by Joseph Thekkekara