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  • 13 January, 2021

  • 12 Min Read

Harvest Festivals of India

Harvest Festivals of India

Lohri

  • Lohri is primarily celebrated by Sikhs and Hindus. It marks the end of the winter season and is traditionally believed to welcome the sun to the northern hemisphere.
  • It is observed a night before Makar Sankranti, this occasion involves a Puja Parikrama around the bonfire with prasad.
  • It is essentially termed as the festival of the farmers and harvest, whereby, the farmers thank the Supreme Being.

Makar Sankranti

  • Makar Sankranti denotes the entry of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn) as it travels on its celestial path.
  • The day marks the onset of summer and the six months auspicious period for Hindus known as Uttarayan – the northward movement of the sun.
  • As a part of the official celebration of 'Uttarayan', the Gujarat government has been hosting the International Kite Festival since 1989.
  • The festivities associated with the day is known by different names in different parts of the country — Lohri by north Indian Hindus and Sikhs, Sukarat in central India, Bhogali Bihu by Assamese Hindus, and Pongal by Tamil and other South Indian Hindus.

Pongal

  • The word Pongal means ‘overflow’ or ‘boiling over’.Also known as Thai Pongal, the four-day occasion is observed in the month of Thai, when crops such as rice are harvested and people show their gratitude to the almighty and the generosity of the land.
  • Tamilians celebrate the occasion by making traditional designs known as kolams in their homes with rice powder.

Other festivals of India

  • Magha Bihu: In Assam and many parts of the North East, 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.
  • 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 day marks the start of the month of Magha.
  • Kicheri: The festival is known as Kicheri in Uttar Pradesh and involves ritual bathing.

Makaravilakku festival in Sabarimala

  • It is celebrated at the sacred grove of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala.
  • It is an annual seven-day festival, beginning on the day of Makara Sankranti when the sun is in the summer solstice.
  • The highlight of the festival is the appearance of Makarajyothi- a celestial star which appears on the day of Makara Sankranthi on top of Kantamala Hills.
  • Makara Vilakku ends with the ritual called 'Guruthi', an offering made to appease the god and goddesses of the wilderness.

Source: AspireIAS notes


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