It is that time of the year, when the sun is beaming, children are rejoicing and the country is celebrating the beginning of Harvest season. Harvest festivals are celebrated all over India at different times of the year, and now is the time when states like Assam, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Punjab celebrate the commencement of a brand new year, praying for future prosperity and thanking god for a bountiful harvest.
Mid-April marks the beginning of new harvest and people in different parts of the country celebrate and rejoice this time of the year with family and friends. While a lot of festivals in India are religious festivals, those surrounding the harvest are celebrated by the community as a whole, truly giving meaning to Unity in Diversity! Here are some of the popular harvest festivals which are celebrated this month.
Bihu: The beautiful state of Assam celebrates Bohag Bihu in April, marking the arrival of spring time. This festival is celebrated for three days with gusto and delight, praying for plentiful harvest and prosperity. The first day begins with Cow bihu, where the cattle are washed, their horns are painted and they are worshipped with flowers, incense sticks and fruits. The cow sheds are lit up with lamp oils and fragrant incense, once the cows return to their shelter. Manuh Bihu is celebrated on the second day of the festival, where people dress in new clothes and rejoice as a community with folk dance and music. The third day of Bihu is called Gosai, where idols are decorated with garlands, worshipped with incense sticks, flowers, fruits and other items.
Baisakhi: Baisakhi is one of the most popular festivals of Punjab. It is usually celebrated on the 13th of April every year and 14th on rare occasions. It is celebrates the founding of Khalsa or the Sikh community as well as the beginning of the harvest year. People visit the Gurudvara and temples on this day and offer flowers to the almighty and worship the god by lighting lamp, burning fragrant incense, offering garlands etc. The Sikh community all over the world celebrate this festival with dancing, singing, music and delicious food.
Vishu: Vishu is a big day in Kerala, people across the state celebrate this festive occasion with joy and merriment. It is marked as the New Year, celebrated on the first day of Medam – a Malayali month. The day is celebrated by worshipping the divine – Vishukanni by offering rice, linen, the holy text, scented oils and other religious items. People wear new clothes and celebrate the occasion by singing and dancing to the folk music.
All these festivals are celebrated on the same day for the same reason, yet the diversity in culture and people is clearly evident in the style of celebration.