Pana Sankranti

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Pana Sankranti
Maha Vishuba Sankranti
Pana Sankranti (Maha Vishuba Sankranti) offerings with Bela Pana juice.jpg
Pana Sankranti (Maha Vishuba Sankranti) offerings with Bela Pana
Official namePana Sankranti, Maha Vishuba Sankranti, Odia Nua Barsa
Also calledMaha Bisuba Sankranti
Observed byOdia people
SignificanceNew Year
CelebrationsMeru Jatra, Jhaamu Jatra, Chadak Parba
ObservancesPujas, processions, Dalma, Khechudi, Bela Pana, Macha Bhata
Date1st Baisakha (Odia calendar, solar cycle)
2019 date14 April
2020 date13 April
2021 date14 April

Pana Sankranti, (Odia: ପଣା ସଂକ୍ରାନ୍ତି) also known as Maha Vishuba Sankranti (Odia: ମହା ବିଷୁବ ସଂକ୍ରାନ୍ତି),[1][2] is the traditional new year day festival of Hindus in Odisha, India.[3][4][5] The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, as the first day of the traditional solar month of Mesha and hence on the 1st day of lunar month of Baisakha of the Odia calendar. This falls on the Purnimanta system of lunar month Baisakha on the Indian national system, i.e. the 24th day of Chaitra.[2] It therefore falls on 13/14 April every year on the Gregorian calendar.[6]

The festival is celebrated with visits to Shiva, Shakti, or Hanuman Temples, as the day is considered to be the birthday of Hanuman.[7] People take baths in rivers or major pilgrimage centers. Communities participate in mela (fairs), watch street dance or acrobatic performances. A notable climax of the social celebrations is fire-walk, where volunteers sprint over a bed of burning coal while being cheered with music and songs.[2] Feasts and special drinks such as a chilled sweet mango-milk-yoghurt-coconut drink called Pana is shared, a tradition that partly is the source of this festival's name.[7][2]

Pana Sankranti is similar to new year festivals observed by Hindus elsewhere such as Vaisakhi (north and central India), Bihu (Assam), Pohela Boishakh (Bengal) and Puthandu (Tamil Nadu).[6][8]


Bela Pana is a special festive sweet drink made from milk, ripe fruit of bel and spices, shared on Odia new year.
Basundhara theki

In the Odia tradition, the Pana Sankranti is believed to be the birthday of the Hindu deity Hanuman, whose loving devotion Lord Rama (Seventh Avatar of Lord Vishnu) in Ramayana is legendary. His temples, along with those of Shiva and Surya (sun god) are revered on the new year.[7]

Hindus also visit Devi (goddess) temples on Pana Sankranti. The temples include Taratarini Temple near Brahmapur, Odisha in Ganjam, Cuttack Chandi, Biraja Temple, Samaleswari temple and Sarala Temple. At Sarala Temple the priests walk on hot coals in the fire-walking festival, Jhaamu Yatra. At the Maa Patana Mangala Temple in Chhatrapada, Bhadrak, the Patua Yatra festival is held from 14 April to 21 April.[citation needed] In Northern Odisha, the festival is known as Chadak Parva. In Southern Odisha, the Meru Yatra festival is celebrated as the end of the month-long Danda nata dance festival. Thousands of devotees gather at the Shakti Pitha shrine in the Taratarini Temple because it is one of the auspicious days during the Chaitra Yatra. People from all over the state eat festive chhatua[clarification needed] and drink Bel Pana to mark the occasion.[citation needed]

Main festival[edit]

Ghantapatuas are traditional male folk artistes from the Odisha that perform the art form "Jhama nata" during Pana Sankranti. They generally perform in a group of two or four wearing dresses that resemble women's clothing.

A group street performance on Pana Sankranti near the Lankeswari Temple, Sonepur, Odisha.
Danda nata, dedicated to the mother goddess starts on Pana Sankranti

Danda nata that is performed during this festival celebration is one of the most ancient forms of performance art of the region. The opening ritual begins in the middle of Chaitra (March – April). The performers, also known as Dandua, take dip in a village pond and walk/run over hot charcoals while performing the art. After performing danda nata they also perform jala dandaby dipping themselves in deep water for a short while. These performances symbolize the liberation from physical pain.

Uda Jatra (Uda Parba) is a traditional tribal festival similar as danda nata where iron nails (12–16 inch) hammered in the back of the devotees and tagged with a rope.

Using this rope, the devotees are hanged and swinged around a wooden pillar. This festival is mainly celebrated in the northern part of Odisha specially in many tribal regions of Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj districts.

Related holidays[edit]

This new year day is celebrated elsewhere by other names. It is called Vaisakhi by Hindus and Sikhs in north and central India, which too marks the solar new year.[9][10][11] The same day every year is also the new year for many Buddhist communities in parts of southeast Asia such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Cambodia, likely an influence of their shared culture in the 1st millennium CE.[11] Some examples include:

  1. Vishu in Kerala
  2. Vaisakhi in central and north India
  3. Poila Boishakh in West Bengal and Tripura, as well as Bangladesh
  4. Rongali Bihu in Assam
  5. Bikram Samwat/Vaishak Ek in Nepal
  6. Aluth Avuruthu in Sri Lanka.[12]
  7. Songkran in Thailand
  8. Chol Chnam Thmey in Cambodia
  9. Songkan/Pi Mai Lao in Laos
  10. Thingyan in Burma

However, this is not the universal new year for all Hindus. For some, such as those in and near Gujarat, the new year festivities coincide with the five day Diwali festival. For many others, the new year falls on Ugadi and Gudi Padwa, which falls a few weeks earlier.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Orissa (India). Orissa District Gazetteers: Ganjam. Superintendent, Orissa Government Press.
  2. ^ a b c d Lynn Foulston; Stuart Abbott (2009). Hindu Goddesses: Beliefs and Practices. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 178–181. ISBN 978-1-902210-43-8.
  3. ^ Maha Vishuba Sankranti Odisha celebrates Maha Vishuba Sankranti with Fervor
  4. ^ Classic Cooking of Orissa. Danda Nata. Allied Publishers. pp. 26–. ISBN 978-81-8424-584-4. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  5. ^ Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (1995). Prakr̥ti: Primal elements, the oral tradition. Meru Day, Meru Sankranti. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. p. 172. ISBN 978-81-246-0037-5. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  6. ^ a b J. Gordon Melton (2011). Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations. ABC-CLIO. p. 633. ISBN 978-1-59884-206-7.
  7. ^ a b c Jyoshnarani Behera (1997). Political Socialization of Women: A Study of Teenager Girls. Atlantic Publishers. p. 79. ISBN 978-81-85495-21-7.
  8. ^ Kalyan Kumar Dasgupta; P. K. Mishra (1996). Aspects of Indian history and historiography: Professor Kalyan Kumar Dasgupta felicitation volume. World wise "vishuba sankranti". Kaveri Books. p. 111. ISBN 978-81-7479-009-5. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  9. ^ "BBC – Religion: Hinduism – Vaisakhi". BBC. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  10. ^ Crump, William D. (2014), Encyclopedia of New Year's Holidays Worldwide, MacFarland, page 114
  11. ^ a b c Karen Pechilis; Selva J. Raj (2013). South Asian Religions: Tradition and Today. Routledge. pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-0-415-44851-2.
  12. ^ Peter Reeves (2014). The Encyclopedia of the Sri Lankan Diaspora. Didier Millet. p. 174. ISBN 978-981-4260-83-1.

Further reading[edit]