Orissa is a state of vibrancy and colours. These are highlighted in the many festivals that are celebrated by the state annually. This article lists some of the most important festivals in Orissa that are celebrated every year.
Best Culture and Festivals of Orissa.
1. Ratha Yatra or Chariot Festival:
The Rath Yatra is known as the Chariot Festival. It is held in the months of June and July. It attracts pilgrims from all corners of the world. It commences on the month of Jyestha, on the full moon day. This is known as Snana Yatra. On this day, the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are brought out along with the sudarshana chakra. They are then bathed on on the SnanaMandap, a pandal, according to traditional religious rites. Then they are said to have become ill with fever. Hence, they quarantined and confined to solitary confinement. This lasts for a fortnight. Here, they undergo medication in the form of special ayurvedic medicine called boli along with some special medicinal liquid diet named ‘sarapana’. These medicines nurse them back to health. After a quarantine of a fortnight, on Ashadha shukla Dwitiya that is the second day of the lunar month, the three gods travel in giant chariots to see the waiting devotees outside. This marks the commencement of the Grand Festival of ‘Ratha Yatra’.Among the many rituals, the most important is the ‘sweeping’ or brooming of the chariots. This is done by the Gajapati Maharaja of Puri. The action is done with a golden broom. This action proclaims that he is the Lord’s servant first. Through this act and the dignity of his labour, he demonstrates socialism .The giant Chariots are pulled by the masses who number in thousands of people. The people pull the chariots irrespective of sex,caste, creed and religion. They do so to proclaim the universality of the gods to humanity at large. The deities or idols are then go sent back to the GundichaGhara or the MaausiMaa Mandir. There they remain for a total of eight days. After this, the Bahuda Yatra or the return chariot festival takes place. The Lords then return to their original abode at the ShreeMandir.
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2. Sitalshashti Carnival:
The Sitalsasthi Carnival of Orissa is a native festival that celebrates the wedding of Lord Shiva to Parvati. It is celebrated in all shiva temples across Orissa. It takes place in jyaistha. This occurs in shuddha panchami. The procession is then brought out on the day of shashti. This festival marks the end of the summer season. It is extensively celebrated in Western Odisha.
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3. Gamha Purnima:
Gamha Purnima is also known as Raksha Bandhan. On this native festival, the sisters tie a rakhi to the wrists of their brothers for protection and as a symbol of their affection. The farmers in various villages are seen to worship cows. On this day, the Utkala Brahmins do the puja of Upakarma. This day is also the birthday of Lord Balaram.
4. Ganesh Puja & Nuakhai:
Ganesh Chaturthi is observed all over Orissa, especially in parts on the western coas, by bhadrapada Shukla chaturthi. The day after chaturthi is known as Nuakhai. On this day, all the people in western Odisha partake in eating the new harvests from the paddy fields. The State government has declared these two days as a holiday all over the state.
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5. Hingula Jatra:
Hingula Jatra is the festival that celebrates the worship of ‘Shakti’. This is a Shiva puja. It takes place on the day of Visubha Sankranti. The mass religious culture of Tantricism is a sub culture of this festival.
These festivals portray the life of Orissa. All of society comes together for these festivals.