Festivals of Odisha

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This article lists the traditional festivals and other cultural events in the Odisha region.

Major festivals[edit]

This section lists festivals which are celebrated throughout Odisha.

Autumn[edit]

Durga Puja[edit]

Main article: Durga Puja in Odisha
A Durga idol in Cuttack with a tarakasi crown.

Durga Puja occurs in the month of Ashvin (October/September). It is a 10-day long festival. During the period, goddess Durga is worshipped in Shakti peethas or temporary shrines called pandals. Navratri refers to the first nine days of the festival. The nine forms of Durga, Navadurga, are worshiped during these nine days. Navratri begins on the Prathama (first bright day) Paksha (lunar fornight) of the Ashvin month. It also marks the end of the rainy season according to the traditional calendar. The asura, Mahishasura, was killed by Durga on the tenth day according to Hindu mythology. The final five days are considered especially important.[1]

The Durga Puja of Cuttack is notable for its usage of silver and gold tarakasi (filigree) work on the crown of the idols and also on the pandals. The city Cuttack attracts lots of tourists during this period of the year. Special trains are run during this time to cater to the rise in tourist traffic.[1] After the worship in Cuttack, on the tenth day of Vijayadashami, the idols are taken out in extravagant processions and are immersed in the Kathajodi river.[2]


Kumar Purnima[edit]

Kumar Purnima occurs on the first full moon day of Ashvin month. It is primarily celebrated by unmarried girls who pray for a handsome husband. According to the belief, the handsome god Kartikeya also known as Kumar was born on this day. Girls also play traditional games like puchi on this day.[3]

Deepabali[edit]

Main article: Diwali

Deepabali is celebrated on Kartik Amavasya. It marks the days on which Rama returned to Ayodhya, after completing his 14 years exile, with Sita, Laxman and Hanuman Earthen lamps (deepa) and fire crackers are lit on the occasion. A rangoli is drawn in front of households, usually depicting a seven-chambered sailboat.[4]

The families around Puri region remember their forefathers by burning jute stalks and call upon them for blessing with the Badabadua verse:[5]

Bada badua ho,
ananda re aasa,
alua re jaa.
Mahaprasad khai
Baaisi pahaacha re gada gadu thaa.

O forefathers,
come to us in this dark evening,
we light your way to heaven.
Having Mahaprasad,
May you attain salvation on the 22 steps of the Jagannath temple of Puri.[4]

In some parts of the state, Kali Puja is also celebrated on the same day.[4]

Winter[edit]

Prathamastami[edit]

Main article: Prathamastami
Enduri Pitha which is prepared on Prathamastami.

On Prathamastami, households pray for the long life of the first borns. Enduri Pitha is a special delicacy which is prepared for this occasion.[6] It has the cultural significance that first born were usually expected to takeover as the family head. It falls on the eighth day of Margasira month.[7]

Spring[edit]

Vasant Panchami[edit]

See also: Vasant Panchami

Vasant Panchami occurs on the fifth day of the first lunar fortnight of month month (Magha Shukla Panchami), which usually falls in January or February. It is also observed as Saraswati Puja. Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge and wisdom in Hinduism. Traditionally, children get their letters on this day. Many educational institutions also observe the festival. It also marks the arrival of spring.[8][9]

Maha Shivaratri[edit]

See also: Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri is celebrated on the 13th night or 14th day on the waning lunar fortnight in the Phalguna month. It usually falls in February or March. It is considered the night on which Shiva perform the Tandava dance. It is observed by fasting by adherents, especially. Married women pray for the well-being of their spouses. Unmarried women may pray for an ideal husband. Shiva temples are visited on this day and night. Bael fruit and leaves are offered to the god, who is worshiped in the form of a lingam. Worshipers may hold an all-night jagarana and break their fast the next morning.[10]

Shivaratri is celebrated in major Shaivite temples like Lingaraja temple, Kapilash temple, and Mukteswar temple. Shivaratri is also important to ascetics as Shiva is considered an ascetic god. Ascetics may partake in drinks like Thandai on this day.[10]

Summer[edit]

Raja Parba[edit]

See also: Raja Parba

Raja Parba is a Major Four Day festival celebrated with much fanfare, music, outdoor and indoor games, and food all over Odisha during mid June to signify the beginning of the solar month of Mithuna, monsoon and the crop season. The decorated rope Swing is associated with the celebration of Raja Parba.

Ratha Yatra[edit]

See also: Ratha-Yatra

Ratha-Yatra is an annual Hindu festival which originated in Puri in the State of Odisha. The festival is celebrated all over Odisha on the 2nd day of the lunar month of Ashadha(June/July). The festival involves transporting of the deities Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra on Chariot.

Monsoon[edit]

Ganesh Chaturthi[edit]

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the birthday of the god Ganesha, usually in August. It is primarily observed by educational institutes and students. The god is offered prasad like modak and laddu in pandals. Students may also offer writing utensils and notebooks, which are used by them after the festival. During the festival, student do not undertake any study related activity. After Ganesh Visarjan, study activities are resumed.[11]

Regional festivals[edit]

This section lists festivals which are specific to a region.

Coastal Odisha[edit]

Dola Purnima[edit]

It also known as Dola Yatra and it falls on the same day as Holi. It is primarily observed in the coastal regions of Odisha. On this day, the Oriya calendar becomes ready and is offered to the deity Jagannath, who is also known as Dolagovinda.[12]

Bali Jatra[edit]

Main article: Bali Jatra
The entrance to the 2012 Bali Jatra trade fair in Cuttack.

Bali Jatra is celebrated to mark the voyages made by ancient sea traders from Odisha to Bali. It falls on the day of Kartik Purnima. On this day, miniatures of the boats called boitas are released in ponds, rivers and the sea.Festival is celebrated for a week.[13] A major annual trade fair is also held in Cuttack.[14]

Central Odisha[edit]

Gajalaxmi Puja[edit]

The Gajalaxmi Puja is celebrated primarily in Dhenkanal town. It is a 11 day festival dedicated to goddess Laxmi, which begins on Kumar Purnima.[15]

Western Odisha[edit]

Nuakhai[edit]

Main article: Nuakhai

Nuakhai is particularly celebrated in the Sambalpuri cultural region. It is celebrated to welcome the new paddy harvest. It falls on the day after Ganesh Chaturthi. In various regions, priests calculate the tithi and offer the new grains to the local goddesses at an precise auspicious moment. People on this occasional greet each other with the words "Nuakhai Juhar". At evening, folk dance and song events may be organized which are called "Nuakhai Bhetghat".[16]

Sitalsasthi[edit]

Main article: Sitalsasthi

Sitalsasthi is celebrated to observe the marriage of god Shiva and Parvati. One of the devotees acts as the parent of Shiva and another devotee acts as the parent of Parvati. The devotee acting as the father of the god travels to the goddess's house with a bundle of sal tree leaves to make a proposal. After the marriage is fixed, deities of the locality and general public are invited to the ceremony. The general public also financially contributes to the ceremony.[17] The marriage ceremony is undertaken on the sixth day of Jyeshtha month. Various artists including eunuchs perform street performances during the festival.[18][19]

Dhanu Jatra[edit]

Main article: Dhanu Jatra
An actor playing king Kansa during Dhanu Jatra

Dhanu Jatra is a large-scale reenactment of the reign and death of the asura king Kansa which takes place annually in Bargarh. During the period of 1 to 11 January, the town of Bargarh is assumed to be the mythical city of Mathura. The neighboring settlements also take up names from the Mahabharata. The district collector and police superintendent also pretend to be employees of Kansa. The festival begins with the marriage of Vasudeva and Devaki. Ambapalli village is treated as Gopapur. During the festival, an actor pretending to be Kansa issues social messages which are contrary to mythical character.[20][21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Durga Puja". East Coast Railway. September 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Durga Puja". Government of Odisha. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Kumar Purnima". Government of Odisha. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Deepabali". Government of Odisha. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Thousands chant ‘Bada Badua Ho’ in Puri". The Pioneer (newspaper). 5 November 2005. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Oriyas prefer ‘Enduri Pitha' on ‘Prathamashtami'". The Hindu. 30 November 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Prathamastami". Government of Odisha. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Vasant Panchami". Government of India. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Odisha: Fairs and Festivals". Know India. Government of India. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Mahashiva Ratri". Government of Odisha. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "Ganesh Chaturthi". Government of Odisha. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "Dola Purnima". Government of Odisha. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Odisha celebrates glorious maritime past". The Hindu. 19 Nov 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "Lakhs turn up for Bali Yatra on opening day". The Hindu. 22 Nov 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Dhenkanal gears up for Laxmi Puja". The Times of India. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "Nuakhai". Government of Odisha. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Sambalpur in festive mood for Sital Sasthi". The New Indian Express. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "Rituals start for divine marriage in Sambalpur". The Times of India. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "Eunuchs put up impressive show". The Times of India. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Bargarh gears up for Dhanu Yatra". The Hindu. 23 Dec 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  21. ^ "Dhanu Yatra gets under way". The Hindu. 1 Jan 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 

External links[edit]