|Also called||Maha Vishuva Sankranti|
|Observed by||Odia people|
|Significance||New Year in sidereal and tropical astrology|
|Celebrations||Meru Yatra, Jhaamu Yatra, Chadak Parva|
|Observances||Pujas, processions, eating sattu and Bela Pana|
On this day, the sun enters the zodiac sign of Aries or Mesha Rashi, which marks the beginning of the New Year in the traditional Odia calendar. The date is calculated according to sidereal and tropical astrology, but generally falls on the 14th or 15th of April. This is also an important day for farming and agriculture in this area.
Pana Sankranti is similar to New Year festivals observed elsewhere in India, such as Vaisakhi (Punjab region), Bihu (Assam), Maithili New Year, Pohela Boishakh (Bengal), Bisu Parba (Tulu Nadu), Vishu (Kerala) and Puthandu (Tamil Nadu).
On Pana Sandranti, a small pot filled with pana, a sweet drink of misri and water, is hung over a tulsi plant. A hole at the bottom of the pot allows the liquid to fall from the pot, representing rain. Chhatua, a flour made from lentils and grains, is eaten along with banana and curd, after offering it to the Tulsi. Special offerings are made to shaligrams (symbol of the god, Vishnu), linga (symbol of the god, Shiva), Hanuman (a Hindu god), and other deities.
Pilgrims visit Devi temples during this holiday and celebrate festivals that vary according to the region. 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. 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 worship Hanuman on this day and celebrate it as his birthday, eating chhatua and Bel Pana to mark the occasion.
Various communities like Punjabis, Keralites, Tamilians, Odias, Bengalis and Assamese celebrate New Year with rituals and events. For the Sikh community, religious rituals are held mostly in Gurudwaras where the entire community comes together. The Tamils celebrate New Year as Vaushapirapu or Puthandu as they call it. The day is dedicated to visiting the temple, reading and worshipping of Panchang and performing aarti. Vishu celebrations are more on a personal note in Malayali homes. The Odia families in the city gather at their community hall in Kukdey Layout during these celebrations.
Danda nata or Danda Jatra is a tribal way of welcoming the New Year which begins with the month of Vaishakh. Danda Jatra is one of the most ancient forms of performance art in the state. The opening ritual begins in the middle of Chaitra (March - April). Danda Nacha is dedicated to Goddess Kali, and is a group spiritual event which invokes the blessings of Goddess Kali and Lord Shiva. Participants avoid eating meat, fish, onion and garlic during the festival. People believe that participation in Danda Nacha will lead to a reduction in sin and bad events in life, and an increase in plentiful harvests and peace. Danda Nacha lasts for 13 days, and Pana Sankranti begins at the end of the 13th day.[dead link]
Related holidays in other cultures
Pana Sandranti coincides with the New Year 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|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 .
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