Festivals

5 Festivals of Odisha You Should Know About And Experience

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Orissa is a state bordered by West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh in North and South; along with Bay of Bengal on the East. Orissa festivals are well known for their high spirits of festivity and celebration with vibrant grandeur and colour. This article gives a detailed list of Odisha festivals which enables us to know more about the main festival of Odisha along with the other festivals celebrated in Orissa throughout the year. A visit to Orissa can never be said to be complete without taking part in their festive celebrations or visiting their colourful fairs. The hundreds of temples found in Orissa offer an exemplary view into the rich cultural heritage of Orissa.

Best Culture and Festivals of Odisha:

Let us see the Odisha festival list here on. The important festivals of Odisha are as follows.

1. Ratha Yatra or Chariot Festival:

festivals of orissa

This is one of the main festivals in Odisha. Known as Rath Yatra, it is also called as Chariot Festival. This festival is generally held in months of June or July. Pilgrims from all over the world come to visit this festival which commences in the month of Jyestha on a full moon day. This day will be Snana Yatra where idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken along with Sudarshana chakra. They are then bathed in Snana Mandap, 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 celebration lasts for a fortnight.

Further, they also partake special ayurvedic medicine called boli along with unique and special medicinal liquid diet named ‘sarapana.’ These medicines nurse them back to health. After confinement for a fortnight on Ashadha Shukla Dwitiya that is the second day of the lunar month, the three Gods travel in giant chariots to see their waiting devotees outside.

The Rath Yatra being a famous Odisha festival, there are several rituals followed. One famous ritual 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 labor, 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.

Once these are completed, all the deities or idols are then go sent back to the Gundicha Ghara or the Mausi Maa Mandir. There they remain in the place for eight days. After this, the Bahuda Yatra or the return chariot festival takes place. The Lords then return to their original abode at the Shree Mandir.

2. Sitalsasthi Carnival:

Another one on the Odisha festivals list is Sitalsasthi carnival. This festival is celebrated in the form of a carnival. This is a native festival that celebrates the wedding of Lord Shiva to Parvati. It is celebrated in all Shiva temples across Orissa. The festival generally takes place in jyaistha. Further, this festival generally occurs in shuddha Panchami. The procession is then brought out on the day of Shashti.This festival marks the end of summer season and the commencement of monsoons. This is one of the widely celebrated festivals in Western Odisha.

3. Gamha Purnima:

Another one among the important festivals of Odisha is Gamba Purnima. This is a ritual and traditional festival of Orissa. The festival of Gamha Purnima is also known as Raksha Bandhan. On this native festival, the sisters tie rakhi to the wrists of their brothers for protection and as a symbol of their affection. This day also marks where one can witness the farmers in various villages worshipping cows. Various types of country made cakes called Pitha are made and sweets are distributed. On this day, the Utkala Brahmins do the puja of Upakarma. This day also marks an important day due to the birthday of Lord Balaram.

4. Ganesh Puja & Nuakhai:

Another major important festival of Odisha is the Ganesh Chaturthi. This festival is observed by all over the state of Orissa and celebrated with much religious fervour, especially in parts of the western coast, Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi. Hundreds of puja pandals are erected for darshan. The day after Chaturthi is known as Nuakhai. This is mainly an agricultural festival. This festival is said to welcome the new rice of the season and on this day, all the people of western Odisha celebrate by eating the new harvests from the paddy fields. These 2 days are holidays declared by the State government all over the state.

5. Hingula Yatra:

festivals of orissa

Another famous Odisha festival is Hingula Yatra. Hingula Yatra is a festival that celebrates the worship of ‘Shakti’ which is seen as a Shiva puja. This festival generally commenceson the day of Vishuba Sankranti. The religious culture of Tantricism is a sub culture of this festival. Remote villages celebrate this festival with a lot of austerity. One of the rituals during this festival is the worshipper has his food made out of a special oven and takes his meal once a day until the completion of the festival. Special prayers are offered to the Goddess every Thursday of the month of Chaitra.

Given the Odisha festival list, one can understand how these culture and traditions mean to the local Odisha people in the state. These festivals are celebrated with grandeur and huge beliefs. Local dishes and varieties are prepared. Offerings and prayers are made to the respective lord by the communities. Hope to hear your comments on this Odisha festival list.

Frequently Asked Questions And Answers:

1. What is the famous food of Orissa during festivals?

The major food items in Orissa at the time of celebrations include curries, dal, khattas, chutneys, rice, saagas, and pithas.

2. What is a famous festival observed in the Puri temple of Orissa?

The Jagannath Puri Yatra is a famous festival which takes place near Puri temple in Orissa. This is a chariot festival which is associated with Lord Jagannath. It is the oldest yatra until date and one of the most awaited festivals.

3. What is the famous Konark temple festival?

Konark dance festival is a famous festival celebrated with classical dances along with music and extravaganza. During this festival, celebrations take place with the backdrop of the Konark sun temple. Kathak, Mohiniattam, and Odissi are some of the dances which take place during this time intended to create a spirit of brotherhood and unity among people.