5 Must Know Festivals of Odisha
The massive and enchanting Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath held every year at Puri is typically the first festival that comes to one’s mind when we talk of Odisha. However, unfamiliar to the masses, this state observes numerous captivating and unique festivals.
Here is a list of a few of the important festivities of the state :
1. Dola Purnima
Holi, a festival that is celebrated all over the country, is preceded by a five day long Dola Purnima in Odisha. Bal Krishna or Lord Jagannath as Dolagovinda is worshipped and his procession is carried in a palanquin halting at each residence in colonies, offering bhog to the people and allowing them to apply colours to the Lord.
This phenomenon is distinct as the Lord himself arrives at one’s doorstep.
2. Rajo Sankranti
Occurring at the onset of monsoon, in the month of June, this is a three-day festival where Mother Earth is believed to be menstruating and is provided rest from agricultural operations and other ground activities, similar to any other woman amidst such times. Furthermore, in this duration, women do not indulge in any household task and consume healthy foods like various Pithas(a dish made of rice flour), dress up and enjoy fairs.
3. Nuakhai or Nabanna Bhakhayana
One of the major agricultural festivals, Nuakhai (meaning new food in Odia) is celebrated during August-September, a day after Ganesh Chaturthi, to welcome the new harvest of rice. The newly harvested rice and Arisa Pitha (made of rice) is offered to the deities. Moreover, this festival holds a special significance and is witnessed as a day to express gratitude to the Lord and farmers for the yield.
4. Boita Bandana
Boita Bandana(meaning boat worship in Odia) is a festival observed on the morning of Kartik Purnima(usually in the month of November or December). In this festivity; people float tiny boats before sunrise in the memory of the glorious past of the sea traders and worship the Lord Kartikeya.
The colourful paper boats are a major attraction for the children.
The eighth day of the month of Margasira, which falls during November-December, witnesses Prathamastami rituals, meant to honour the eldest child of the family and offer them gifts. Goddess Sathi, believed to protect children from all evils, is worshipped during this day and several delicacies like Enduri and Haldi Patra Pitha ( a special variety of Pitha), Khiri is consumed.
Apart from the festivals mentioned above, there are several other regional and national festivals like Durga Puja, Holi which is widely celebrated in the state. The trends convey how Odisha is a place not only rich in its art and culture, but also in terms of its festivities.