Ritu (Indian season)

Ritu (Sanskrit: ऋतु) or Kaalanilai (Tamil: காலநிலை) means "season" in different ancient Indian calendars used in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. There are six ritus (also transliterated ritu) or seasons. The word is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit word Ṛtú, a fixed or appointed time, especially the proper time for sacrifice (yajna) or ritual in Vedic religion; this in turn comes from the word Ṛta (ऋत), as used in Vedic Sanskrit literally means the "order or course of things". This word is used in nearly all Indian languages.

North, West, Central Indian and Andhra Pradesh calendarsEdit

Nepal and India observes six ecological seasons.[1][2]

No. Ritu Season Hindu lunar months Gregorian month Characteristics Seasonal festivals
1 Vasanta
वसन्त
వసంతము
Spring Chaitra and Vaishakha March & April Temperature around 20-30 degrees Celsius; vernal equinox occurs in the middle of this season. First spring harvest along with harvest festivals. Vasant panchami, Ugadi, Gudhi Padwa (Hindu new year), Holi, Rama Navami, Tamil Puthandu Vishu, Rongali Bihu, Baisakhi, Hanuman Jayanti
2 Grīṣma
ग्रीष्म
గ్రీష్మము
Summer/Hot Season Jyeshtha and Ashadha ~ May & June Very hot, temperatures up to 45-50 degrees Celsius; summer solstice occurs. This is one of the two typical Indian/ Hindu Marriage Seasons. Vat Pournima, Rath Yatra, Guru Purnima
3 Varṣā
वर्षा
వర్షాకాలము
Monsoon/Rainy Season Shravana (Sawan) and Bhadrapada (Bhado) ~ July & August Very hot, very humid and heavy monsoon rains; begins with the lunar month AFTER the summer solstice. Raksha Bandhan, Krishna Janmaashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Nuakhai , Onam, Gurujonar Tithi, Mahalaya Amavasya
4 Sharad
शरद्
శరదృతువు
Autumn Ashwina or Ashvayuja (Kwar, Asauj) and Kartika ~ Late- September, October & mid-November Mild temperatures; 19-25 degrees Celsius; autumnal equinox occurs in the middle of this season. First autumn harvest occurs along with harvest festivals. Some trees in the Himalayas or upper elevations change colors much like in northern latitudes across the world. Navaratri, Vijayadashami, Sharad Purnima, Kati Bihu, Deepavali, Dhanatrayodashi, Kartik Purnima
5 Hemanta

हेमन्त
హేమంతము

Pre-Winter/Cool Season Margashirsha (Agrahayana, Agahan) and Pausha (Pus) ~ Late November & December Very pleasant temperatures; generally, 19-25 degrees Celsius; ends with the winter solstice. Some trees in the Himalayas and other hills complete shedding their leaves much like in northern latitudes across the world. (mid-Winter celebration)

Margashira Mahotsavam. Music Season with a number of Indian Carnatic classical music and dance concerts. Thai Pongal, Sankranthi are celebrated during the month of Pausha.

6 Shishira
शिशिर
శిశిరము
Winter/Cold Season Magha and Phalguna ~ January & February Moderately cold, but pleasant during occasional sunshine; temperatures may decrease below 10 degrees Celsius. This season is typical to tropical and subtropical regions because trees actually shed their leaves in this season in tropical areas; starts with the winter solstice. Shivaratri, Magh Bihu Shigmo


East Indian calendarsEdit

East Indian calendars (Bengali, Assamese, Odia and Mithila) start their new year on Mesh Sankranti. The season names corresponds to the Sanskrit Vasanta, Grishma, Varsha, Sharada, Hemanta, Shishira order. The Bengali Calendar is similar to the Sanskrit calendar above, but differs in start and end times which moves certain dates/days around (i.e., Vasant Panchami occurs here in Vasant ritu but in the calendar above, it occurs in Shishir as that is the Magha Shukla Panchami). The East Indian Calendar has the following seasons or ritus:

Bengali CalendarEdit

Bengali season Start End Bengali months English
Grishmo

(গ্রীষ্মকাল)

Mid-April Mid-June Boishakh, Joishtho Summer
Borsha

(বর্ষাকাল)

Mid-June Mid-August Asharh, Srabon Monsoon
Shorot

(শরৎকাল)

Mid-August Mid-October Bhadro, Ashwin Early Autumn
Hemonto

(হেমন্তকাল)

Mid-October Mid-December Kartik, Ogrohayon Late Autumn
Sheeth

(শীতকাল)

Mid-December Mid-February Poush, Magh Winter
Bosonto

(বসন্তকাল)

Mid-February Mid-April Phalgun, Choitro Spring

Maithili CalenderEdit

Season in the Maithili Calendar

Maithili Ritu English Equivalent Maithili Months Gregorian Months
ग्रीष्म

(Grishma)

Summer Baisakha-Jyeshtha Mid-April to Mid-June
वर्षा

(Barkha)

Monsoon Akhadha, Shrabana Mid-June to Mid-August
शरद

(Sharad)

Autumn Ashwina, Kartika Mid-August to Mid-October
हेमन्त

Hemanta

Late-Autumn Maargashirsha, Pausha Mid-October to Mid-December
शिशिर

(Shishir)

Winter Pausha, Magh Mid-December to Mid-February
वसन्त

(Basanta)

Spring Phalgun, Chaitra Mid-February to Mid-May

Odia CalendarEdit

Seasons in the Odia calendar:

Odia Ritu Season Odia months Gregorian
ଗ୍ରୀଷ୍ମ
Grisma
Summer Baiśākha–Jyeṣṭha April–June
ବର୍ଷା
Barsā
Monsoon Āṣāṛha–Śrābaṇa June–August
ଶରତ
Sarata
Autumn Bhādraba–Āświna August–October
ହେମନ୍ତ
Hemanta
Pre-Winter Kārttika–Mārgaśira October–December
ଶୀତ
Sita
Winter Pauṣa–Māgha December–February
ବସନ୍ତ
Basanta
Spring Phālguna–Chaitra February–April

South Indian calendarsEdit

Malayalam Kannada CalendarEdit

The Malayalam calendar or Kollam Era, a solar and sidereal Hindu calendar used in Kerala, and in Karnataka they follows a pattern of six seasons slightly different from North Indian Calendars.

Ritu Season Malayalam solar months Sanskrit solar months Gregorian months Seasonal festivals
1 Vasantam
വസന്തം
వసంతం ವಸಂತ ಋತು
Spring Makaram (second half)-Kumbham-Meenam (first half) Makara (second half)-Kumbha-Mīna (first half) February & March Vasantha Panchami, Holi
2 Grishmam
ഗ്രീഷ്മം
గ్రీష్మం

ಗ್ರೀಷ್ಮಋತು

Summer Meenam (second half)-Medam-Idavam (first half) Mīna (second half)-Meṣa-Vṛṣabha (first half) April & May Vishu
3 Varsham
വർഷം
వర్షాకాలం ವರ್ಷ ಋತು
Monsoon or Rain Idavam (second half)-Mithunam-Karkatakam (first half) Vṛṣabha (second half)-Mithuna-Karkaṭaka (first half) June & July Karkataka Vavu (marks the beginning of Sharad season)
4 Sarath
ശരത്ത്
శరదృతువు ಶರದ್ಋತು
Early Autumn Karkitakam (second half)-Chingam-Kanni (first half) Karkaṭaka (second half)-Siṃha-Kanyā (first half) August & September Rakshabandhanam, Krishna Janmashtami (Sri Krishna Jayanti), Onam
5 Hemantham
ഹേമന്തം హేమంతం
ಹೇಮಂತ ಋತು
Late Autumn Kanni (second half)-Thulam-Vrischikam (first half) Kanyā (second half)-Tulā-Vṛścikam (first half) October & November
6 Sisiram
ശിശിരം
శిశిరం

ಶಿಶಿರ ಋತು

Winter Vrischikam (second half)-Dhanu-Makaram (first half) Vṛścikam (second half)-Dhanu-Makara (first half) December & January

Tamil calendarEdit

The Tamil Calendar follows a similar pattern of six seasons as described for north Indian Hindu calendars which in fact need adjustment as taking new year from Grishma like that Bengali calendar....

Tamil season Names English Meaning Gregorian Months Tamil Months
Muthuvenil (Hot Summer) முதுவேனில் Matured heat / warmth April 15 to June 14 Chithirai and Vaikasi
Kar (Monsoon) கார் Dark Clouds June 15 to August 14 Ani and Adi
Kutir (Autumn) கூதிர் Cold / Chill August 15 to October 14 Avani and Purattasi
Munpani (Pre Winter) முன்பனி Early (Frontal) Dew / Mist October 15 to December 14 Aipasi and Karthikai
Pinpani (Prevernal / Early Spring) பின்பனி Late (Rear) Dew / Mist December 15 to February 14 Margazhi and Thai
Ilavenil (Mild Summer) இளவேனில் Tender heat / warmth February 15 to April 14 Masi and Panguni

In cultureEdit

The seasons are described in literature such as the Sanskrit poem Ṛtusaṃhāra written by the legendary Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa.

Names of the ritu are commonly used for persons: typically, Vasant, Sharad, Hemant, Shishir and Varsh are "male" names; "female" names include Vasanti, Sharada, Hemanti, Grishma and Varsha.

Similar naming conventions are also used in Tamil: For female Ilavenil. For male Kar(Vannan).

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Ritus, Seasons and Vedic Calendar".
  2. ^ "Indian Seasons, Indian Ritus Start Date and Timings for New Delhi, NCT, India".

Further readingEdit

  • Feller, Danielle. The Seasons in Mahākāvya Literature, Eastern Book Linkers, Delhi, 1995, ISBN 8186339248
  • Raghavan, V. Ṛtu in Sanskrit literature, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Delhi, 1972
  • Renou, Louis. Sanskrit et culture, Payot, 1950
  • Selby, Martha Ann (translator). The Circle of Six Seasons, Penguin, New Delhi, 2003, ISBN 0-14-100772-9