Ritu (Indian season)

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For other uses, see Ritu (disambiguation).

Ritu (Sanskrit: ऋतु) means "season" in various South Asian calendars, and there are six ritus (also transliterated rutu) 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.

Hindu calendars[edit]

India observes six ecological seasons.[1][2] South India experiences the seasons on a different schedule than the one depicted here.

No. Ritu Season Hindu lunar months Gregorian month Characteristics Seasonal festivals
1 Vasanta
Spring Chaitra and Vaishakha ~ March to May Temperature around 20-30 degrees; vernal equinox occurs in the middle of this season. Vasant panchami, Ugadi, Gudhi Padwa, Holi, Rama Navami, Vishu/RongaliBihu/Baisakhi/Tamil Puthandu, Hanuman Jayanti
2 Grishma
Summer Jyeshta and Aashaadha ~ May to July Very hot, temperatures up to 45-50 degrees Celsius; ends with the summer solstice. Vat Pournima, Rath Yatra, Guru Purnima
3 Varsha
Monsoon Shraavana (Sawan) and Bhadrapada (Bhado) ~ July to September Very hot, very humid and heavy monsoon rains; begins with the summer solstice. Raksha Bandhan, Krishna Janmaashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam, Gurujonar Tithi
4 Sharad


Autumn Ashwin (Kwar) and Kartika ~ September to November Mild temperatures; 19 to 22 degrees Celsius; Autumnal equinox occurs in the middle of this season. Navaratri, Vijayadashami, Sharad Purnima, Bihu
5 Hemanta


Fall winter Margashirsha (Agrahayana, Agahan) and Pausha (Poos) ~ November to January Very pleasant temperatures; generally, 20-25 degrees Celsius; ends with the winter solstice. (mid-Winter celebration), Bihu, Deepavali, Kartik Poornima
6 Shishira
Winter Magha and Phalguna (Phagun) ~ January to March 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, Shigmo, Pongal, Sankranthi

Bengali calendar[edit]

The Bengali Calendar is similar but differs in start and end time. It has the following seasons or ritu:

Bengali season Start End Bengali Months Mapping to English Names
Grishmo Mid-April Mid-June Boishakh, Joishtho Summer
Borsha Mid-June Mid-August Asharh, Srabon Monsoon
Shorot Mid-August Mid-October Bhadro, Ashwin Autumn
Hemonto mid-October mid-December Kartik, Ogrohayon Late Autumn
Sit mid-December mid-February Poush, Magh Winter
Bosonto mid-February mid-April Falgun, Choitro Spring

Tamil calendar[edit]

The Tamil calendar follows a similar pattern of six seasons.

Tamil season Gregorian Months Tamil Months
IlaVenil (Summer) April 15 to June 14 Chithirai and Vaikasi
MuthuVenil (Spring) June 15 to August 14 Aani and Aadi
Kaar (Monsoon) August 15 to October 14 Avani and Purattasi
Kulir (Autumn) October 15 to December 14 Aipasi and Karthikai
MunPani (Winter) December 15 to February 14 Margazhi and Thai
PinPani (Prevernal) February 15 to April 15 Maasi and Panguni

In culture[edit]

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

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • 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