Harvesting Happiness: The Mesmerising Hues of India’s Harvest Festivals
It seems that we have a festival for every occasion and season in India. Every Indian festival is celebrated with great passion. Spring in India is an especially busy time with many a spring festival dedicated to the harvest season. Every state has its own version of the harvest festival. Assam has the Bihu festival, West Bengal celebrates Pohela Boishakh and Punjab dances to the beats of Baisakhi. These are some of the brightest festivals in April.
Be a part of these harvest festivals in India if you want to experience the energy they exude. Festivals in April offer you the perfect excuse to go on a long summer vacation. Spring in India is a good time to travel since many parts of the country retain the remnants of winter’s cool. There’s a palpable sense of joy in the air as the harvest festival celebrates farmers’ hard work over the past year.
Here are three prominent festivals that celebrate the harvest season with pomp and delight. They offer a peek into the unbridled happiness that drives the celebrations in an Indian festival.
The Bihu festival is celebrated thrice a year in Assam. Among these, Rongali Bihu is the spring festival that marks the harvest season. Also known as Bohag Bihu, Rongali festival is a significant event that also marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year. The “Rong” in Rongali festival means happiness and celebrations. The Rongali Bihu festival is among the most joyous festivals in Assam. The first day of Rongali Bihu is dedicated to cattle, farmers’ partners in hard work. On the day they are ceremonially bathed, painted in beautiful colours and adorned with flowers.
Food is a big part of festivals in Assam and Rongali Bihu is no different. On the second day of the festival, Manuh Bihu, special dishes with flattened rice, curd, and jaggery are prepared. People offer prayers in prayer halls where ‘Bihu Husori’ (local carols) is formally inaugurated. The third day, Goisan Bihu, is dedicated to the gods and goddesses. The Assamese New Year is a big occasion that’s marked with dance and music on all the three days. The whole of Assam participates in the Bihu festival to honour the farmer’s contribution to society.
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The Bengali festival of Pohela Boishakh is a joyful celebration. It is also known as Nonoborsho since it marks the Bengali New Year. It is the most special among all the festivals in West Bengal. It is a time when friends and families come together to enjoy good food and festivities. Like any Bengali festival, sweets rule the taste buds on Pohela Boishakh. In addition to ushering in the Bengali New Year, it also signals the beginning of the financial new year. It is a cultural celebration that includes cultural meets, village fairs, and feasts.
Though it is predominantly a harvest festival, it is celebrated a bit differently in the cities. Processions, known as Mangal Shobhajatra, take over the streets. People enjoy the various cultural motifs that are highlighted in these processions. In villages, fairs are the hubs of celebration as people get together to celebrate the year’s harvest. Temple visits, prayers, and fasts mark the day while the evening is reserved for food and merriment. Of all the festivals in West Bengal, Pohela Boishakh holds a special place among people for its celebration of nature’s bounty and farmers’ hard work.
The best-known harvest festival among these three, Baisakhi is Punjab’s very own harvest festival. On this day, the people of Punjab welcome the Sikh New Year with greetings of “Happy Vaisakhi”. Baisakhi also commemorates the formation of the Khalsa Panth under Guru Gobind Singh ji in 1699. The gurudwaras in Punjab, and all over the world, wear a festive look on this day as people stream in to offer prayers after a holy dip in nearby ponds. The gurudwaras also hold Nagar Kirtans, procession of the Guru Granth Sahib, and serve Langars to all visitors.
After the prayers, it is time for dance and merriment to celebrate the abundance of harvest and ring in the Sikh New Year. The joyful shouts of “Jatta Aayi Baisakhi” compete with the greetings of “Happy Vaisakhi” to create a harmonious tune that is the essence of Baisakhi. The strains of Bhangra get feet tapping which soon turn into full-blown renditions of energetic dance moves. Food shares the centre stage with music as people enjoy traditional Punjabi dishes will big glassfuls of thick, creamy lassi. The exuberant celebration of Baisakhi is a sight to behold.
Harvest signifies new beginnings, a time to celebrate the efforts that goes behind growing food. You must experience these celebrations at least once. Book your Club Mahindra holiday and be a part of the festivities.
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