Do you know where the rice, the bread or the dal on your dinner table comes from? Yes, just like fruits and vegetables they are also grown in farms and fields. Yes, food is all about growing and harvesting crops.
Without farming or agriculture, there would be no raw grains and mom would not be able to cook many of the tasty dishes. Did you know, agriculture was the first profession of the people. They learnt to grow crops and work together in the fields. It was much later that other professions, factories or industries happened.
Farming means sowing the seed, growing the crop and then harvesting. Once the crops are grown and ripe, they are harvested or collected from the fields before they are sent to the markets or factories.
The harvesting festivals
Have you ever grown a small plant in your kitchen garden or balcony? It is so joyful, right? Now multiply this joy by a million and more. That is the joy a farmer gets when she or he sees her or his crop ready to harvest. That is the reason why the world over there are so many festivals to celebrate harvesting. Of course, they are celebrated on different dates or months depending on the harvest season of countries. But no matter where the harvest festivals are a lot of fun! There are beautiful decorations, celebrations, performances and loads of delicious food. Here are a few harvest festivals of the world, which you may want to know about and also tell your friends about
Thanksgiving – Yes, we now celebrate Thanksgiving too! It is celebrated in the USA, Canada and the UK in October and November. In the US it was first celebrated in 1621 when there was a very good wheat harvest. During Thanksgiving people get together to enjoy a delicious meal of turkey, pumpkin pie and more.
Vendimia – Vendimia is the harvest festival of Argentina. It is celebrated in February. Women from different regions take part in a colorful parade on the streets. People get together and enjoy watching music, dance and shows.
Sukkot – Celebrated in Israel, Sukkot is a harvest festival that goes on for a week. Initially, the people of Israel traveled or wandered in the deserts and lived in temporary huts. So even today, people usually build huts without a roof and decorate them with fruits from the harvest. They eat and live in these huts during the celebrations.
Moon Festival – The Moon festival is celebrated in China, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam. It is famous for its yummy moon cakes that are eaten with hot Chinese tea. Also called the Mid-Autumn Festival the festival is enjoyed with puppet shows, lantern processions and more.
Yam Festival – The Yam festival is celebrated in August in western Africa. It is marked as a holiday in Nigeria and Ghana. A dish made from yams called Fufu is made especially during the festival. There are also parades, singing, dancing and other celebrations held.
There are many other harvesting festivals in the world. Some of these are Choosuk in Korea, Rice Harvest in Indonesia, Lammas in the UK, Olivagando in Italy, Incwala in Switzerland and more.
Harvesting festivals in India
India is an agricultural country. Remember the many green fields that you can see outside the train window? Yes, a lot of crops are grown throughout the year. Also, a lot of villages and people are involved in agriculture.
In India, the harvesting festivals are known by different names. Makar Sankranti in North India, Pongal in South India, Bihu in Assam or Onam in Kerala are all harvesting festivals of India.
Makar Sankranti is generally celebrated on 14th January. This harvest festival is celebrated in many states of India.
During Makar Sankranti the sun is worshipped and some devotees also take a tip in holy rivers to offer prayers. But it is celebrated in different ways in each state. For example in Rajasthan and Gujarat, families and friends gather to fly kites. Colorful kites look beautiful in the sky and there are also kite-flying competitions.
In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh people wear new clothes and make rangolis in their homes.
Kites are the main attractions of Makar Sankranti. You can make little kite decorations for your home using colorful papers, sticks and strings. You can also make pretty gifts or cards by either drawing, painting and using shoe strings.
Besides kites, the decorations can also be related to agriculture. People usually decorate their prayer rooms with paper trees. They also make tiny huts and cut-outs of cows and cattle to recreate a village.
But if you love colors and want to create bright designs then you would love making rangolis too. Lovely rangoli patterns on floors of different sizes and shapes are often seen during Makar Sankranti. Designs of trees, flowers, crops, kites, grains etc. are brilliant decorations.
The best part of Makar Sankranti is the tasty dishes that are cooked to celebrate the festival. Different sweet dishes, such as laddoos and halwa are made from til (sesame) and jaggery.
Puran poli, payesh, appalu, ghughute, chikki and makara chaula are other yummy sweet dishes that are prepared during the festival.
But if you are not a big fan of sweets, don’t be disappointed. You can enjoy a lot of savory dishes, such as kichdi, undhiyo, dahi chura and murukku too.
We wish you all a Happy Makar Sankranti! And let’s hope that each year we have a successful harvest.