Festive fervour is the best fever. These occasions are the sole reasons which keep us grounded to our roots, putting the entire family into a mode of merry making. Meeting up relatives, reliving old memories and making new ones is something everyone looks forward to during these festivities.
We bring to you an exclusive compilation of authentic Odia festivals which are highly noted and which makes our being an Odia an ultimate celebration!
1) Pana Sankranti
This festival usually falls in the month of April and marks the beginning of New Year according to the Odia Calendar. Lord Hanuman is worshipped by people and a special offering of pana (a drink made from bel pulp, banana, grated coconut and curd) and chhatua (powder made from grain, lentils and sugar) is given to him!
2) Kanji Anla Osha
This peculiar festival is held on the ninth day of the lunar month of Margashira at the onset of winter. Goddess Shathi’s image is placed among seven dried fishes, decorated with vermilion, collyrium (a type of kajal) and yellow rags. Kanji (A soup prepared from rice water and cooked with vegetables), Amalaki or Amla (sour berry) and dried fish are the main features during this festivity!
3) Bata Osha
This festival is all about worshipping Yamdev himself, the jolly pot-bellied God in black. Women worship Yamdev at the junction of four roads by praying for the well-being of their husbands and children whenever they travel.
4) Budhei Osha
Celebrated in the month of Bhadrab on Wednesdays and worshipped by women, this is a unique festivity. Turmeric is mixed with water to make a mould and then given a human shape on a Sila or Curry stone. Cowries make up for the eyes and other sense organs and is also decorated with vermillion. It is believed that the turmeric in this form has some kind of healing power!
Being the elder child and the first born can get really interesting at times. Especially during Prathamashtami when the family gathers to pray for the long life and success of the first born child. And that’s not the end of it; relishing the prime delicacy of this occasion, Enduri Pitha makes the proceedings of this festival totally delicious!
6) Kumar Purnima | Janhi Osha
This is for the unmarried girls who pray on Kumar Purnima to Goddess Brundavati (Tulsi plant) and the moon for finding their Mr. Perfect! While beautiful floral designs with lotus petals are made by girls, cheese is mixed with banana, sweets and sugar and given the shape of a crescent as an offering to the moon. It is believed that Lord Kartikeya also known as Kumar was born on this day and that he exuded immense handsomeness!
Observed on the Panchamitithi of Bhadraba month, this is majorly an agricultural festival. It is celebrated to welcome the new rice harvest by the farmers and is highly prevalent in the western part of Odisha. The fresh produce is offered to the Mother Goddess whereas people invite their relatives in their homes and treat them with delicious dishes!
9) Samba Dasami
As per the legend, Sun God cured the son of Lord Krishna, Samba, of leprosy on this day. Hence women of the house worship the Sun God for the welfare and prosperity of their family members. Moreover the offerings to the Lord are generally those dishes that the family members love to eat. That apart, an array of pithas are also prepared on this occasion. In the afternoon, women serve cooked food to the God and view his reflection on a bowl of turmeric water that’s placed near the Tulsi Plant. The very famous Budha Chakuli is also prepared in the evening and offered to Yama!
10) Sitala Shasthi
This is a festival where the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is conducted. Devotees pose as parents of the bride and the bridegroom and ceremonies take place as similar to a typical arranged marriage. For example, the father of the Lord proposes to the father of the Goddess and humbly asks for her hand in marriage to his son, the Lord himself by giving him a bunch of Sal leaves. Many people are invited to this ceremony and treated with a grand feast. Thereafter, the the reception ceremony follows where the Lord visits people along with his newly wed wife. This is a major celebration in Ganjam, Brahmapur!
11) Pua Jiuntia | Dutiya Osha
Yet another festival which falls in the month of September where people get together to appease ‘Dutibamana’ who was born from a Brahmin widow. He is believed to cure children of various diseases. Women observe fast on this day for the long life of their children and nutritious ghanta is prepared to mark the festivity!
Do notify in the comment box below if we might have missed out any other authentic Odia festival that should be a part of this list!