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.

Hindu calendars (Nepalese and Indian)[edit]

Nepal and 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 Phalguna(Phagun) and Chaitra ~ 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/Rongali Bihu/Baisakhi/Tamil Puthandu, Hanuman Jayanti
2 Grishma
Summer Vaishakha and Jyeshta ~ 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 Aashaadha and Shraavana (Sawan) ~ July to September Very hot, very humid and heavy monsoon rains; begins with the summer solstice. Raksha Bandhan, Krishna Janmaashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Nuakhai , Onam, Gurujonar Tithi
4 Sharad


Autumn Bhadrapada (Bhado)and Ashwin (Kwar) ~ 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


Pre-winter Kartika (Agrahayana, Agahan) and Margashirsha ~ 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 Pausha(Poos) and Magha ~ 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 English


Mid-April Mid-June Boishakh, Joishtho Summer


Mid-June Mid-August Asharh, Srabon Monsoon


Mid-August Mid-October Bhadro, Ashwin Autumn


mid-October mid-December Kartik, Ogrohayon Late Autumn


mid-December mid-February Poush, Magh Winter


mid-February mid-April Falgun, Choitro Spring

Tamil calendar[edit]

The Tamil calendar follows a similar pattern of six seasons.

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.

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