6 Seasons of the Hindu Calendar

01
of 07

Introduction to the Six Seasons

Faithful Gather At Temple During Kheer Bhawani Festival In Kashmir
Yawar Nazir / Getty Images

According to the lunisolar Hindu calendar, there are six seasons or ritu in a year. Since Vedic times, Hindus across India and South Asia have used this calendar to structure their lives around the seasons of the year. The faithful still use it today for important Hindu festivals and religious occasions.

Each season is two months long, and there are special celebrations and events that occur during all of them. According to Hindu scriptures, the six seasons are:

  • Vasant Ritu: Spring
  • Grishma Ritu: Summer
  • Varsha Ritu: Monsoon
  • Sharad Ritu: Autumn
  • Hemant Ritu: Pre-winter
  • Shishir or Shita Ritu: Winter

While northern India mostly conforms to this marked change of seasons, it is less so in southern India, which lies close to the equator. 

02
of 07

Vasanta Ritu: Spring

Vasanta Ritu - A Spring Scene
Vasanta Ritu - A Spring Scene [Watercolor on 'patti' (18 x 12 inch) - ExoticIndia Art Gallery, New Delhi, India]. http://exoticindia.com/

Springtime, called Vasant Ritu, is considered the king of seasons for its mild, pleasant weather across much of India. In 2018, Vasant Ritu begins on Feb. 18 and ends on April 19.

The Hindu months of Chaitra and Baisakh fall during this season. It is time for some important Hindu festivals, including Vasant PanchamiUgadi, 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

03
of 07

Grishma Ritu: Summer

Grishma Ritu: A Summer Scene
Grishma Ritu: A Summer Scene [Watercolor on 'patti' (18 x 12 inch) - ExoticIndia Art Gallery, New Delhi, India]. http://exoticindia.com/

Summer or Grishma Ritu is when the weather grows gradually hotter across most parts of India. In 2018, Grishma Ritu begins on April 19 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. 

04
of 07

Varsha Ritu: Monsoon

Varsha Ritu: A Monsoon Scene
Varsha Ritu: A Monsoon Scene [Watercolor on 'patti' (18 x 12 inch) - ExoticIndia Art Gallery, New Delhi, India]. http://exoticindia.com/

The monsoon season or Varsha Ritu is the time of year when it rains heavily across much of India. In 2018, Varsha Ritu begins on June 21 and ends on Aug. 22.

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.

05
of 07

Sharad Ritu: Autumn

Sharat Ritu: An Autumn Scene
Sharat Ritu: An Autumn Scene [Watercolor on 'patti' (18 x 12 inch) - ExoticIndia Art Gallery, New Delhi, India]. http://exoticindia.com/

Autumn is called Sharad Ritu when the hot weather recedes gradually in most parts of India. In 2018, it begins on Aug. 22 and end on Oct. 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

06
of 07

Hemant Ritu: Pre-winter

Hemant Ritu: A Pre-winter Scene
Hemant Ritu: A Pre-winter Scene [Watercolor on 'patti' (18 x 12 inch) - ExoticIndia Art Gallery, New Delhi, India]. http://exoticindia.com/

The time before winter is called Hemant Ritu. It is it perhaps the pleasant time of the year across India, weather-wise. In 2018, the season begins on Oct. 23 and ends on Dec. 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.

07
of 07

Shishir Ritu: Winter

Shishir Ritu: A Winter Scene
Shishir Ritu: A Winter Scene [Watercolor on 'patti' (18 x 12 inch) - ExoticIndia Art Gallery, New Delhi, India]. http://exoticindia.com/

The coldest months of the year occur in winter, which is known as Shita Ritu or Shishir Ritu. In 2018, the season begins on Dec. 21 and ends on Feb. 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.