|Also called||Maha Vishuva Sankranti|
|Observed by||Oriya people|
|Significance||New Year as per the traditional Sidereal astrology|
|Celebrations||Meru Yatra, Jhaamu Yatra, Chadak Parva|
|Observances||Pujas, processions, enjoying chhatua and Bel Pana|
The day marks the beginning of the New Year in the traditional Hindu Solar Calendar. On this day the sun enters the sidereal Aries or Mesha Rashi. It generally falls on 14/15 April. The spring season is at its zenith during this period, and the summer is approaching. The date is calculated as per Sidereal astrology.
Maha Vishuva Sankranti is similar to the New Year festivals observed elsewhere in India such as Baisakhi (Punjab), Bihu (Assam), Juir Sheetal (Mithila), Naba Barsha or Pohela Boishakh (Bengal), Bisu Parba (Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka), Vishu (Kerala), and Puthandu (Tamil Nadu).
There are specific reasons as to why the Vishuva Sankranti is considered as the first day of the solar year. On only two occasions around year, Mesha Sankramana and Tula Sankramana, the Sun fully rests on the equator. On these two dates, the length of days and nights are equal. But in case of a sidereal zodiac, as used in Indian solar calendars, it has no connection with the equinoxes. Hence, the length of the Indian sidereal calendars is longer than the actual tropical solar year. The Oriya sidereal month of Mesha starts from this day.
Difference from lunar calendar
Although people of Odisha calculate the month from the next day of Purnima to Purnima, as per the North Indian Purnimanta system, the yearly cycle of the moon is less than 365 days of earth's rotation, and some years also contain Adhika Maasa. Therefore, the new year is calculated from the day of Mesha Sankramana to fix a particular day. The Oriya New Year is calculated from the day of Sankramana, whereas the neighbouring state of Bengal celebrates Pohela Boishakh on the next day of Sankramana.
On this particular day, a small pot filled with pana or a sweet drink of Mishri and water is hung on a basil (Tulsi) plant. There is a hole at the bottom of this pot which allows the water to fall from the pot, representing rain. The flour of horse gram chhatua, along with banana and curd, is consumed by the people of Odisha after offering it to the Tulsi plant. Special offerings are made to Shalagram, Shivalinga, Hanuman, and other deities. The devi temples of Adi Shakti Tara Tarini (Sthana Pitha) near Berhampur city in Ganjam Cuttack Chandi, Biraja, Samaleswari temple and Sarala become crowded, which is called Jhaamu Yatra. One of the major famous festival for "Patua Yatra" held at Chhatrapada April 14 to 21 April its Maa Patana Mangala's big festival in Bhadrak. People enjoy chana and Bel Pana with great pleasure.In Northern Odisha it is called Chadak Parva. In Southern Odisha the day is celebrated as the end of month-long Danda nata, and the final ceremony is known as Meru Yatra. Like famous Tuesdays in the Month of Chaitra lakhs of devotees gather at Tara Tarini Adi Shakti Pitha on this day because this is one of the auspicious days during the famous Chaitra Yatra at the Shrine. People all over the state worship Hanuman on this day and celebrate it as his birthday. People enjoy chhatua and Bel Pana with great pleasure.
Danda Nacha or Danda Nata of Odisha is a tribal way of welcoming the New Year which begins with the month of Vaishakh also known as the Danda Jatra, happens to be one amongst the most ancient form of histrionic arts of the state. The opening ritual of Danda nacha begins in the middle of Chaitra (March–April. Danda Nacha is dedicated to Goddess Kali. This is one kind of group spiritual event or festival invokes the blessings of Goddess Kali and Lord Shiva. People believe that participate in Danda Nacha means reduce sin and bad period in life and harvest happiness and peace in life. Danda Nacha goes pretty for 13 days. At end of 13 day, the day is called Meru Sankranti or Pana Sankranti in Odisha. The participants in Danda Nacha are undergone rigorous difficult training phase in these 13 days and become full vegetarian i. e. they avoid eating meat, fish, onion and garlic or accepted only vegetarian (fast) food during this period.
Related holidays in other cultures
It coincides with the New Years in many other Southern Asian calendars, including:
- Assamese New Year, or Rongali Bihu (India's Assam state)
- Burmese New Year, or Thingyan (Burma)
- Khmer New Year, or Chol Chnam Thmey (Cambodia)
- Lao New Year, or Songkan / Pi Mai Lao (Laos)
- Malayali New Year, or Vishu (India's Kerala state)
- Nepali New Year, or Bikram Samwat / Vaishak Ek (Nepal)
- Sinhalese New Year, or Aluth Avurudda (Sri Lanka)
- Tamil New Year, or Puthandu (India's Tamil Nadu state and Sri Lanka)
- Thai New Year, or Songkran (Thailand)
- Tuluva New Year, or Bisu (India's Karnataka state)
- Maithili New Year, or Jude Shital (Mithila)
- Bengali New Year or Pohela Boishakh in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Bangladesh
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- Meru Sankranti at end of Danda Nata
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