Makar Sankranti: The festival of Makar Sankranti is celebrated in Karnataka when the Sun enters the Makar zodiac and the days begin to lengthen compared to nights.
Maghi: In Punjab, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Maghi. Bathing in a river in the early hours on Maghi is important.
Saaji: In Shimla District of Himachal Pradesh, Makara Sankranti is known as Magha Saaji. Saaji is the Pahari word for Sankranti, start of the new month. Hence this daymarks the start of the month of Magha.
Nuakhai: Nuakhai is an age-old harvest celebration in Odisha. Locally ‘nua’ means new and ‘khai’ means food. The festival is also known as Nuakhai Parab or Nuakhai Bhetghat.
Gudi Padwa: 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.
Pongal: In South India and particularly in Tamil Nadu, it’s the festival of Pongal which is being celebrated over 4 days at harvest time.
Onam: 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.
Magha Bihu: In Assam and many parts of the Northeast, the festival of Magha Bihu is celebrated. It sees the first harvest of the season being offered to the gods along with prayers for peace and prosperity.
Uttarayan: Gujarat celebrates it in the form of the convivial kite festival of Uttarayan.
Importance of Harvest Festivals
Harvest festivals are believed to be the oldest forms of festivals around the world. They are a way of thanking the nature for the bounty it offers in the form of new crops.
Since India is a land of great biodiversity, different states celebrate many harvest festivals.
For a country largely dependent on agriculture, harvest becomes one of the most important events across the nation. Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Baisakhi, Onam, Pongal are some of them.
Harvest festivals are not just about celebrating the ripe crops but also an important astronomical change going on in the solar system.
They are auspicious periods and hence are marked with celebrations and prayers.