Ritu (Indian season)

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For other uses, see Ritu (disambiguation).

Ritu (Sanskrit: ऋतु) defines "season" in different calendars around the South Asian countries of India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, 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.

North Indian Hindu calendars (Nepalese and North Indian)[edit]

Nepal and India observes six ecological seasons.[1][2] Southern parts of 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
वसन्त
Spring Chaitra and Vaishakha ~ March to May Temperature around 20-30 degrees Celsius; vernal equinox occurs in the middle of this season. Vasant panchami, Ugadi, Gudhi Padwa, Holi, Rama Navami, Vishu/Rongali Bihu/Baisakhi/Tamil Puthandu, Hanuman Jayanti
2 Grishma
ग्रीष्म
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
वर्षा
Monsoon Shraavana (Sawan) and Bhadrapada (Bhado) ~ July to August Very hot, very humid and heavy monsoon rains; begins with the summer solstice. Raksha Bandhan, Krishna Janmaashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Nuakhai , Onam, Gurujonar Tithi
4 Sharada

शरद्

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

हेमन्त

Pre-winter Margashirsha (Agrahayana, Agahan) and Pausha (Poos, Foos) ~ 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
शिशिर
Winter Maagha and 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

East Indian Hindu (Bengali and Mithila which too starts its new year from Mesh Sankranti, in fact Nepali and Assamese and Odia Hindus too do the same, the season names are in all other in Sanskrit Vasanta, Grisma, Varsha, Sharada, Hemanta, Sisira) calendar[edit]

The Bengali Calendar is similar but differs in start and end time but is more practical as Vasant Panchami falls here in Vasant but in above calendar in Shishir in fact as that Magha Shukla Panchami. It has the following seasons or ritus:

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 Autumn
Hemonto

(হেমন্তকাল)

mid-October mid-December Kartik, Ogrohayon Late Autumn
Sit

(শীতকাল)

mid-December mid-February Poush, Magh Winter
Bosonto

(বসন্তকাল)

mid-February mid-April Falgun, Choitro Spring

(South Indian Hindu) Tamil calendar[edit]

The South Indian Hindu 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 Name English Meaning Gregorian Months Tamil Months
IlaVenil (Spring) இளவேனில் Tender heat / warmth April 15 to June 14 Chithirai and Vaikasi
MuthuVenil (Summer) முதுவேனில் Matured heat / warmth June 15 to August 14 Aani and Aadi
Kaar (Monsoon) கார் Dark Clouds August 15 to October 14 Avani and Purattasi
Kulir (Autumn) குளிர் Cold / Chill October 15 to December 14 Aipasi and Karthikai
MunPani (Winter) முன்பனி Early (Frontal) Dew / Mist December 15 to February 14 Margazhi and Thai
PinPani (Prevernal) பின்பனி Late (Rear) Dew / Mist 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 the legendary Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa.

Names of the ritu are commonly used for persons also, with Vasant, Sharad, Hemanta, Shishir being male names and Grishma and Varsha given to females.

See also[edit]

References[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