A Guide to the 6 Seasons of the Hindu Calendar
Vasanta Ritu: Spring
Springtime, called Vasant Ritu, is considered the king of seasons for its mild, pleasant weather across much of India. In 2019, Vasant Ritu began on February 18 and ended on April 20.
The Hindu months of Chaitra and Baisakh fall during this season. It is also the time for some important Hindu festivals, including Vasant Panchami, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Holi, Rama Navami, Vishu, Bihu, Baisakhi, Puthandu, and Hanuman Jayanti.
The equinox, which marks the beginning of spring in India and the rest of the northern hemisphere, and autumn in the southern hemisphere, occurs at the midpoint of Vasant. In Vedic astrology, the vernal equinox is called Vasant Vishuva or Vasant Sampat.
Grishma Ritu: Summer
Summer, or Grishma Ritu, is when the weather grows gradually hotter across most parts of India. In 2019, Grishma Ritu begins on April 20 and ends on June 21.
The two Hindu months of Jyeshta and Aashaadha fall during this season. It is time for the Hindu festivals Rath Yatra and Guru Purnima.
Grishma Ritu ends on the solstice, known in Vedic astrology as Dakshinayana. It marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and is the longest day of the year in India. In the southern hemisphere, the solstice marks the start of winter and is the shortest day of the year.
Varsha Ritu: Monsoon
The monsoon season or Varsha Ritu is the time of year when it rains heavily across much of India. In 2019, Varsha Ritu begins on June 21 and ends on August 23.
The two Hindu months of Shravana and Bhadrapada, or Sawan and Bhado, fall during this season. Important festivals include Raksha Bandhan, Krishna Janmashtami, and Onam.
The solstice, called Dakshinayana, marks the beginning of Varsha Ritu and the official start of summer in India and the rest of the northern hemisphere. However, southern India is close to the equator, so "summertime" lasts much of the year.
Sharad Ritu: Autumn
Autumn is called Sharad Ritu, when the hot weather recedes gradually in most parts of India. In 2019, it begins on August 23 and end on October 23.
The two Hindu months of Ashwin and Kartik fall during this season. It is the festival time in India, with the most important Hindu festivals occurring, among them Navaratri, Vijayadashami, and Sharad Purnima.
The autumnal equinox, which marks the beginning of fall in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere, occurs at the midpoint of Sharad Ritu. On this date, the day and night last exactly the same amount of time. In Vedic astrology, the autumnal equinox is called Sharad Vishuva or Sharad Sampat.
Hemant Ritu: Prewinter
The time before winter is called Hemant Ritu. It is perhaps the most pleasant time of the year across India, weather-wise. In 2019, the season begins on October 23 and ends on December 21.
The two Hindu months of Agrahayana and Pausha, or Agahan and Poos, fall during this season. It is time for some of the most important Hindu festivals, including Diwali, the festival of lights, Bhai Dooj, and a number of new year's celebrations.
Hemant Ritu ends on the solstice, which marks the beginning of winter in India and the rest of the northern hemisphere. It is the shortest day of the year. In Vedic astrology, this solstice is known as Uttarayana.
Shishir Ritu: Winter
The coldest months of the year occur in winter, which is known as Shita Ritu or Shishir Ritu. In 2019, the season begins on December 21 and ends on February 18.
The two Hindu months of Magha and Phalguna fall during this season. It is time for some important harvest festivals, including Lohri, Pongal, Makar Sankranti, and the Hindu festival of Shivratri.
Shishir Ritu starts with the solstice, called Uttarayana in Vedic astrology. In the northern hemisphere, which includes India, the solstice signals the beginning of winter. In the southern hemisphere, it is the start of summer.