|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|
This day marks the beginning of the New Year in the traditional Odia calendar. On this day, the sun enters the sidereal Aries or Mesha Rashi. It generally falls on the 14th or 15 April during spring when summer is approaching. The date is calculated according to sidereal and tropical astrology. Also the day is important to farming and agriculture in these places.
Maha Vishuva Sankranti is similar to the New Year festivals observed elsewhere in India, such as Vaisakhi (Punjab region), Bihu (Assam), Maithili New Year, Naba Barsha or Pohela Boishakh (Bengal), Bisu Parba (Tulu Nadu), Vishu (Kerala) and Puthandu (Tamil Nadu).
On this particular day, a small pot filled with pana, or a sweet drink of misri and water, is hung on tulsi. A hole at the bottom of the pot allows the liquid to fall from the pot, representing rain. The flour of horse gram chhatua, along with banana and curd, is consumed after offering it to the Tulsi. Special offerings are made to shaligrams, linga, god Hanuman and other deities. The devi temples of Taratarini Temple near Brahmapur, Odisha 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 from 14 April to 21 April, is Maa Patana Mangala's big festival in Bhadrak. People enjoy chana and Bela Pana. In Northern Odisha, it is known as 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 the famous Tuesdays in the Month of Chaitra, thousands 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 from all over the state worship Hanuman on this day and celebrate it as his birthday, consuming 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 to 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 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.) Danda Jatra happens to be among one of the most ancient forms 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 which invokes the blessings of Goddess Kali and Lord Shiva. People believe that participation in Danda Nacha means a reduction in sin, bad events in life, plentiful harvests and peace in life. Danda Nacha lasts for 13 days. At the end of the 13th day, Meru Sankranti or Pana Sankranti in Odisha. takes place. The participants in Danda Nacha undergo rigorous training phases in these 13 days and become fully vegetarian i. e. they avoid eating meat, fish, onion and garlic and accept only vegetarian 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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- Maha Vishuba Sankranti Odisha celebrates Maha Vishuba Sankranti with Fervor
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- Meru Sankranti at end of Danda Nata
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