Northern Indian Harvest Festival
In Northern India, People celebrate harvest festival during the spring season, which is either in late February or early March. People harvest their wheat in spring. This is also the time for Holi, which is a Hindu Harvest festival. Holi lasts for five days. Everyone dresses up, or buy new clothes during the occasion. People wear old clothes as part of the celebration and throw colored water and Red Powder at each other and indulge in the fun of the festival. Holi is the festival where all whether they are family, friends or strangers get the same treatment.
Candy Game and Tug of War are two such games which are played during the festival of Holi. Everyone is allowed to participate in these games. People also build and light bonfires. After the flames have died down the ashes, they are rubbed over people’s forehead. This is done only to bring good luck for the year head.
There are different names of the harvest festival celebrated in India. For example: In Northern India it is known as Lohri, In Assam it is called Bhogali Bihu, In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar it is known as Makar Sankranti, and in Andhra Pradesh it is celebrated as Bhogi.
Eastern Indian Harvest Festival
The primary crop harvested in Eastern India is Rice. Springtime is the season of love and at this time they celebrate the love story of the God, Krishna and Radha.
The images of the two gods surrounded by flowers are pulled by decorated animals in a procession through the streets. People offer flowers before the images in the temples. The love story of Krishna and Radha is dramatised or it is recalled by reading verses from a very long poem known as the Bhagavata Purana. Bhagavata Purana means “Ancient Stories of the Lord”.
People also have bonfires and they hold a dance where Men and Women dance in separate groups around the bonfires. They also throw colourful powder and waters at each other.
Southern Indian Harvest Festival
Onam is one of the most popular harvest festivals of Kerala in Southern India. It is a time for everyone to reap the benefits of a good harvest after a year of hard work and labor. Onam festival is celebrated in the memory of popular King Mahabali. The festival is a time for communal thanks-giving. The famous 'Snake boat' race is organized every year. It is a season of dances, songs, food, worshipping among other festivities. Women wear new sarees and they dress up their children in colourful clothes. The traditional 'Pookkalam' a flower mat that adorns the courtyard of almost every house. ‘Payasam’ is the most popular dish among the various dishes during this festival.
Pongal is another four days of harvest festival in Southern India which is celebrated with immense joy and enthusiasm. It is celebrated on the 14th of January every year. Pongal means the boiling of milk and rice. Born fire and feasting is a common feature of the festival. Pongal is also known as ‘VenPongal’ and during this festival farmers express their gratitude. Pongal is basically held to honor the Sun for a bountiful harvest. People decorate their houses and families gather together to rejoice and offer Pongal to Sun. There is a belief that celebrating the harvest festival will bring prosperity, joy and happiness.