Spring Harvest Festivals in India: Baisakhi, Bihu, Pohela Boishakh, and Vishu
With 22 recognized languages, 5 major religions, 29 states and 7 Union Territories, India is vibrantly full of local traditions and customs across the country. As a very spiritual country, festivals in India are a strong part of Indian culture. Numerous festivals are celebrated throughout the year bringing people of different traditions and religions together in the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation.
April is the time for new beginnings and fresh harvest in India. After crops are cut and sold, farmers get to relax with good food, music, and dance through four regional harvest festivals celebrated across the country.
4 Regional Spring Harvest Festivals in India
- Pohela Boishakh, also known as the Bengali New Year, is celebrated around April 14 or 15 each year. It marks the first day of the first month (Baishakh) of the lunisolar Bengali calendar.
- Baisakhi, is celebrated in the Punjab region where people get all geared up to ring in the harvest festival. Also celebrated in mid-April, Baisakhi or Vaisakhi is one of the most significant festivals of Punjab marking the beginning of the new year. Baisakhi gets its name from ‘Baisakh’, the first month of the Bikram Sambat Hindu calendar.
- Vishu, celebrated in Kerala, marks the end of the spring equinox. Traditionally, elders gift coins to children as part of the custom known as Vishukkaineettam. A grand sadya (feast), includes various dishes and delicacies, mostly made of seasonal fruits and vegetables – something sweet, sour, salty and bitter, to represent the different experiences of life.
- Bihu, celebrated in Assam, Bihu is a set of three distinct farming cycles, Bhogali Bihu ,or Magh Bihu; Bohag Bihu (or Rongali), and Kongali Bihu. Rongali or the Bohag (spring) Bihu starts on the last day of the Assamese calendar month of Chot, which normally falls on April 13 or 14 each. Like other harvest festivals, Bihu involves the farmer community thanking the almighty for the successful harvest and hoping for abundance in the future.
Whether you’re celebrating Baisakhi, Bihu, Pohela Boishakh, or Vishu, we wish you a happy new year. May these cheerful festivals usher in good times and happiness.
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