Festivals

Deva Snana Purnima observed ...

BHUBANESWAR:

Hundreds of thousands devotees thronged Puri Deva Snana Purnima or Snana Yatra (the holy bathing festival of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra) to view the deities on Tuesday.

Elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure smooth conduct of the rituals. As per previous practice, the deities were brought out from the temple and taken in a procession to the Snana Bedi where they were bathed with 108 pitchers of water from a well near the Northern Gate. After the Veshas, the three deities were taken to the Anasara Ghara, where they stay away from public view for fifteen days.

Reported by
Utkal Samachar Bureau

       

Denizens gearing up to celebrate Saraswati Puja with great devotion...

BHUBANESWAR:

School and college students in the city have started preparations to celebrate Saraswati Puja or Basant Panchami with full zeal. Various educational institutions and coaching centres have also gearing up to organise special functions and cultural activities to mark the festival as Saraswati is the Goddess of knowledge, wisdom, music and art.

Devotees throng temples and puja mandaps to offer special prayers to invoke the blessings of the Goddess. Students perform puja in schools and different educational institutions by offering flowers and placing their books, notebooks, pens and pencils before the deity with great devotion.   

Idol makers at different places in the city are also busy giving finishing touches to the idol of Goddess Saraswati.

Saraswati Puja is a Hindu festival celebrated all over the country with much enthusiasm. The festival is held in the month of Magha (January-February).

Reported by
Utkal Samachar Bureau

       

Thousands assemble daily to witness Dhanu Yatra festival...

BHUBANESWAR:

The Bargarh town in Western Odisha came alive with the colourful festival Dhanu Yatra. The festival which started on December 26 will conclude on January 5, 2015.

Dhanu Yatra relates to the mythological episode of Lord Krishna’s visit to Mathura to witness the ‘bow ceremony’ organised by King Kansa. The town of Bargarh becomes Yamuna and the village Amapali across Jira represents Gopa. Thousands assemble daily to watch the artists performing different acts inspired from puranic descriptions with great reverence and joy.   


Reported by
Utkal Samachar Bureau

       

Christmas celebrated with fervor in Odisha capital...

BHUBANESWAR: Birthday of Jesus Christ Christmas was celebrated with fervor in the State capital on Thursday.

More than 1000 people gathered in beautifully decorated St. Vincent’s Pro Cathedral Church to celebrate the festival. Special prayers were also held in Union Church at Unit-4 where people from various religions participated in prayers and carols. Youth were seen dressed up to attend the celebration.

Gifts, pastries and cakes were distributed among people on the auspicious occasion. Meanwhile, various educational institutions and cultural organisations also celebrated Christmas with much fun. The major parts of celebrations include house decorations, planning feasts, purchase of gifts and placing a Christmas tree.


Reported by
Utkal Samachar Bureau

       

Bali Yatra festival begins in Cuttack...

BHUBANESWAR: The annual Bali Yatra festival began in Cuttack on Thursday. More than 1300 stalls set up by traders showcasing a wide range of electronic, electrical, household and ethnic and handicraft items at the week-long festival.

Special emphasis has been laid for security, crowd management and traffic. Nearly 40 platoons of police personnel have been deployed at the venue and CCTV cameras have also been installed at different locations to keep a strict vigil on the movement of trouble makers.

Bali Yatra commemorates the glorious past of commercial voyages to the islands of Bali, Java and Sumatra by Odia traders.   

Reported by
Utkal Samachar Bureau

       

Panchuka begins in Odisha...

BHUBANESWAR:

With the beginning of Panchuka (last five days of Kartika month), huge crowd of devotees was seen in Puri to worship Lord Jagannath and seek blessings. Large number of devotees took dip in the sea at Mahodadhi and other holy ponds offered prayers.

On the auspicious occasion, heavy rush was also witnessed at Lord Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar where elaborate arrangements were made by the police and temple administration for smooth conduct of the rituals.

Panchuka holds immense significance. People refrain from eating non-vegetarian food during these five days.

Reported by
Utkal Samachar Bureau

       

Festive mood prevails in Bhubaneswar...

BHUBANESWAR: A festive mood continues to prevail in the State capital as various Puja Committees are gearing up to celebrate Durga Puja in full swing and zeal by setting up huge pandals to house the idol of Goddess Durga. Ram Leelas will be held in the Puja grounds to make the celebration more charming. Temporary bazaars will also be put to sell different kinds of goods and food items. People are also busy in shopping clothes, jewellery items and many other things to celebrate Puja with fervor and joy.

The nine-day festival of Hindu is celebrated in memory of Lord Ram’s victory over Ravana-the king of Lanka. It is a symbol of victory of good over evil. In Odisha, the festival is celebrated in the form of Durga Puja, where the Puja continues for a period of nine days and on the tenth day, the idols of goddess Durga are immersed in the river.  

On the Dussehra day, effigies of Ravana are erected at different places, which are tall and coloured. In the evening, these effigies are set on fires. These effigies are inset with crackers which explode as a fire catches them, creating a wonderful and pleasing sight. The day after Dussehra or Dashami marks the end of the Puja festivities. The deities being carried in splendid processions with attractive backdrops, the huge flags of different hues and the frenzied processionists dancing to the beat of drums and music are a treat to watch.

 

Reported by
Abhishek Mohanty
Special Correapondent

       

Nuakhai Festival of New Things in Western Odisha...

BHUBANESWAR: India is a country with full of many beautiful traditions. Celebrated ''Nuakhai'' is one of them. It is one of the very important festival of Western Odisha. Factually speaking that it is that festival when people welcoming the new paddy rice of the season. It is the agrarian festival of Western Odisha. According to the Hindu calender it is celebrated on Panchami Tithi of the Bhadraba month, which generally falls between August & September.

The day after Ganesh Chaturthi, this festival celebrated. It is seen as a new ray of hope. This festival celebrated at a particular time of the day which is called "Lagna". In this festival people offer the first rice to the Estha Devi of the family and the Village Devi, then it is used for day to day affair. May be it is the darkness of sorrows or the bed of happiness, people believed that the village deity has a major role to play this. The deity gives them immense strength to face all the problems.

In Western Odisha Bolangir, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Sundargarh, Kalahandi, Subarnapur, Deogarh, Jhursuguda, Boudh, Nuapada districts it mainly celebrated. It is a festival for the worship of food grain. All the family members gather and celebrated "Nuakhai" with great zeal. Every year the Tithi & the Lagna were calculated by astrologically determined Hindu priests. The Tithi & Lagna were calculated in the name of the village Devi. In Bolangir-Patnagarh area it calculated by the name of Pataneswari Devi, in the name of Samaleswari Devi in Sambalpur district, in the name of Sureswari Devi in Subarnapur district, Manikeswari Devi in Kalahandi district. In Sundargarh it is first offered by the royal family to the goddess Sekharabasini in the temple which is opened only for Nuakhai.

It believed that "Nuakhai" was observed since the 12th century AD, when there was rule of Chouhan Kingdom in Patna State. Now it is belongs to Bolangir district. Raja Ramai Deo  ruled Patna at that time. He realised that the significance of settled agriculture in his empire mainly due to the fact that his land was an agricultural economy. He discovered that the surplus crops were important for the prosperity of the state. Even since that time Ramai Deo started celebrating of Nuakhai in his region to motivate people to invest in the field of sustainable agriculture.

There was no specific day for celebrating Nuakhai in early days. It was conducted in Bhadraba Sukla Pakshys when the Kharif crops began to ripen. The food grains are offered to the village deity prior to it being packed at by birds or animals. The village priest suggested the Day of celebrating Nuakhai. Later it transformed in to a major socio religious festival in Western Odisha. In 1960s there was an attempt for a common tithi for Nuakhai but it was failed. And later 1991 the Bhadrab Sukla Panchami tithi selected for Nuakhai & Odisha government also declared that day as official holiday.
15 days before this festival, the actual preparation started. There are nine rituals followed in Nuakhai. Its understood to nine colours. These are-
1. Beheren (Announcement of a meeting to set the day).
2. Laguna Dekha (Setting the date).
3. Dhaka Haka (Invitation).
4. Safa Sutra arr Lipa Puchha (Clean the house).
5. Ghinabika (Purchasing).
6. Nua Chan Khuja  (Looking for New Crops).
7. Bali Paka (Final resolve for Nuakhai by taking Prasad).
8. Nuakhai (Eating New crops as prasad after offering it to Estadevi).
9. Juhar Bhet (Respect to elders & love to youngers).

The elder people of village discuss with village priest & fixed the Tithi & Lagna for Nuakhai. 48 minutes of perfect time consult by priest for taking the Nua. After the day fixed by the priest the women were start to clean the home and also start to purchasing variable things which are realible for Nuakhai. In this day everything new which is offered to Estadevi. People also wear new clothes in this day. Then they search for new crops which is offer to the deity. Eating new crops as prasad after offering it to the Estadevi, the elder people of the family distributed Nua to the others & after eating Nua by elders others were eat. The younger family members offer their reverences to their elders after receiving the Nua. It is followed by Nuakhai Juhar. It is the interchange the greetings with relatives, friends and well-wishers.

In Nuakhai all local sweets and foods are prepared by the women from early morning. Manda, Pitha, Aarisa, Kakara, Khiri, Puri etc. All the family members are assembled together, after offering the new rice to the deity they all sit together and take the Nua along with different types of sweets like Manda, Pitha, Khiri etc. After devouring the food they take the blessing of thebIsthadevi and from other elders of the family. In the evening of Nuakhai there the cultural programme arranged and all the folk dance, songs, Sambalpuri dances which Dalkhai, Sajani, Rasarkeli etc performed and celebrate Nuakhai Bhetghat with great zeal. After celebrated Nuakhai the next day the people of western Odisha celebrated Chadkhai. In this day they eat non-veg item. They prepared special mutton chicken items and eat together.

Nuakhai is a festival in which people gathered and also forgot all eniminess. They friendly unite & celebrate this festival. The immigrants people from Western Odisha also have been celebrating Nuakhai in their new cities and live their village life or old life in new places.

 

Reported by
Pragnya Priyadarshini Saraf
Group Editor

       

Ganesh Puj...

BHUBANESWAR:

Many festivals are celebrated by Hindus. In every season people perform these festivals in great enthusiasms. Ganesh Chaturthi is one of such festivals celebrated on birthday of lord Ganesh that falls in the month of Bhadrab sukla chaturthi, as per the Hindu calender. Generally it falls between August and September.

Lord Ganesh, the son of Lord Shiva & Mata Parbati is worshipped first in the beginning of every new work & also prayers at first. It is believed that during this time Lord Ganesh came to the earth and gives his blessings to all his devotes. He is widely worshipped as the God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. He also worshipped as "Vighnaharta" (destroy of all problems).

Generally Ganesh Puja is celebrated in schools, colleges and educational institutions to take his blessings. A clay image of Lord Ganesh is worshipped in the houses with all vedic rituals. As Modak is the favourite sweet, but other sweets are also offered to him. After worshipping three days, people perform the Ganesh Visharjan.

There is a beautiful story behind the birth of Lord Ganesh. According to Shiva Purana Goddess Parbati taking the turmeric paste from her body and breathing life into it. When she used to go for bath she set to stand him as guard to nobody allow to enter while she bathed. When Lord Shiva returned home and a strange boy not allowing him to enter his own house, then he became angry and cut off Ganesha's head. When Parbati know about it she became very angry and decided to destroy the entire creation. After that Lord Brahma try to remove her angry and finally Mata Parbati be calm but she had two conditions. One that Ganesh be brought back life and another that he worshipped before all Gods forever. Then Lord Shiva ordered his devas to bring the head of any creature that sleeping with its head facing in North. Accordingly all devas went and found an elephant sleeping in that position. They returned with that head and Lord Shiva placed it on Ganesha's body. Breathing life in to him Shiva declared him as son and gave him the status of being foremost among the Gods.

In Mumbai Ganesh Puja celebrated for ten days. And during this time people perform all traditions & rituals of this puja. Lord Ganesh is regarded as the patron saint of Maharashtra and over 6000 idols are commissioned in Mumbai every year. Though Ganeah Chaturthi is celebrated in many places but Mumbai is most famous for its massive processions. After worshipping 7 to 10 days they immersed the idols in to water, which is called Ganesh Visharjan. Chatrapati Shivaji, the Maratha ruler first introduced Ganesh Chaturthi in Peswa as Ganesh is the 'Kuldevta' of theirs.He wants to promote culture and nationalism. After that Bal Gangadhar Tilak makes it as public ceremony. He first organised it in 1893. He could build unity among all people and fight against the British Colonial.

There are different meanings of the body of Ganesh. The trunk symbolises a wise being has the ability to be strong and identify good or bad. His large ears listens prayers of every persons, his lotus bearing hand symbolises enlightenment, another hand holds a hatchet that means cut off all bonds of attachment with the world. On of his left hand carries sweets, which signifies if one can do good then he also got well thing. As per Lord Krishna in Bhagwadgita, always focus on 'Karma' not in 'Fala'. His right hand seen in 'Ashirwad Mudra' which means ideal person always wishes for everyone. One of his foot down on ground and another is on his knee. It means good people live on earth with out any attachment in material life. An ideal people should control all his senses to enjoy wholesome existence and a rat has this quality, so that he rides back of a rat.

 

Reported by
Pragnya Priyadarshini Saraf
Group Editor

       

The Thread of Love: Rakhi...

BHUBANESWAR: There are many festivals celebrated by the Hindus in every season. But Rakshya Bandhan is celebrated specially for brothers. This festival is for the love and care among brothers and sisters. Rakshya Bandhan or Rakhi Poornima is celebrated on the full moon day of Shravana month of the Hindu calender. Generally it falls in the month of August every year.

There are many significances of Rakshya Bandhan. In Sanskrit it literally means ''the tie or knot of protection''. In this festival, a sister pray to express her love and wishes for her loving brother, in return to brother ritually pledges to protect and take care of his sister under all circumstances. Rakhi tied on the wrist of brothers symbolizes the love & prayers of sisters. Rakhis are ideally made of silk with gold and silver threads, beautifully crafted embroidered sequins and studded with semi precious stones.

This festival is also an occasion to celebrate brother sister like family ties between cousins or distant family members, sometimes between biologically unrelated men and women.

In Northern India, Rakhi Poornima is also called Kajri Poornima o Kjri Navami,when wheat or barley is down, and goddess Bhagwati is worshipped. In Western India it is called Nariyal Poornima or the Coconut full moon. In Southern part it is popularly known as Shrava Poornima. Rakshya Bandhan is known by various names like Vish Tarak the destroyers of venom, Punya Pradayak the bestower of boons and Pap Nasal the destroyer of sins.

This festival is a very ancient festival and has many myths and historic legends linked to it. There is a beautiful story behind it. According to Bhavishya Purana there was a war between Gods and Demons. In this war Gods lost their kingdom and Demons were conquered the kingdom of Indra along with all three Loks. In this time Guru Brihaspati suggested Raksha Vidhan to Indra. On the day of Shravana Poornima guru performed the ritual s of Raksha Vidhan. During this the Rakha Potli was fortified with sacred mantra. After puja Shuchi, wife of Indra tied this to the right hand of him. Due to power of Raksha Potli Indra was able to defeat Demons and get back his kingdom. Since then the Rakshya Bandhan is performed during Shravana Poornima.

Even in the great epic of Mahabharata, we find Draupadi tied one piece of her saree on the hand of Sri Krishna, when he wounded deeply. Kunti Also tied a rakhi to her grand son Abhimanyu, before the Great War. In the time of the ruling various dynesty, the queens were also sends rakhi to the neighbouring rulers as token of brotherhood.

Thus the Rakshya Bandhan symbolizes all aspects of protection of the good from evil forces.


Reported by
Pragnya Priyadarshini Saraf

       

Niladri Bije ...

BHUBANESWAR: Niladri Bije is the last festival of three lords, Jagannath, Balabhadra & Subhadra during the time of Rath Yatra. In this festival all the three lords return to Ratnasinghasana of Srimandira. On Shukla Paksha Triyodashi of Ashadh this observed. This is known as ‘Niladri Bije’.

While Lord Balabadhra and Subhadra are allowed to enter and take Ratna Singhasan, Lord Jagannath finds himself obstructed at Singadwara, JayaBijaya Dwar. Lord Jagannath maneuvers himself into the Mandir, offers Garland, Sweet to Goddess Lakshmi and takes Ratna Singasana.

Maa Lakshmi is served rasagollas on this last day. This is the tradition of more than 600 years. To appease Mahalaxmi, Lord Jagannath offers Rasagolas and cajoles her to forgive him. After prolonged persuasion she allows the Lord inside. This is the only occasion when Rasagola Bhog is offered to the deities by the devotees.

The Daita servitors escorts Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra to the sanctum sanctorum of the Sri Jagannath temple in Goti Pahandi procession late night after offering of rassagolla bhog to the deities on their respective chariots. 


Reported by
Sindhuja Choudhury
Pragnya Priyadarshini Saraf

       

Suna Besa: The Path of Moksh ...

On the Aasadha Sukla Ekadasi ''Aadharapana'' is being offered to the three deities, Lord Jagannath, Brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. After that in the evening time the three deities were dressed in glittering gold and give darshan to all devotees. It’s believed that to see Suna Besa on the chariot all sin of one can erase.

Suna besa has been observed since 1232, during the reign of Aananga Vima Dev, the king of Utkal. All the three deities are bejeweled with gold ornaments and the total weight of the ornaments is more than one quintal. Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra appear with hands and feet made of gold in this time. Lord Jagannath holds a gold chakra in his right hand and a silver conch in the left hand, while Balabhadra appears holding a gold plough in the left hand and a gold mace in the right hand. One of the popular adornments of the lord, the Suna Besa is witnessed by millions of people.


Reported by
Sindhuja Choudhury
Pragnya Priyadarshini Saraf

       

Bahuda Yatra...

PURI: Bahuda Yatra is the return journey of Lord Jagannath from the house of his Mausi (Gundicha). After spending a week in the Gundicha temple he came back to his temple Srimandira with his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. On Asadha Sukla Dasami all three deities came back to main temple. They came on their chariots or rathas. This journey follows the same protocol and schedule, which is performed in the time of Rath Yatra.
The Taladhwaja and Darpadalana of Balabhadra and Subhadra respectively moved forward and are parked at Singhadwara. But the Nanighosa of Lord Jagannath stopped in front of the King's palace. In the meanwhile Goddess Lakshmi, wife of Lord Jagannath steals a glimpse of the safe return of Jagannath. Being pleased Goddess Lakhsmi is carried to the chariot of Jagannath. She is offered a loving garland which Lord Jagannath uses as loving souvenir from her partner. After receiving the garland Goddess Lakshmi goes back to the temple and waits for Jagannath. It believed that after performed this, the entry of Lord Jagannath to the Srimandir is successful.

Reported by
Pragnya Priyadarshini Saraf
Group Editor

       

Ratha Yatra: Festival of Purity...

BHUBANESWAR: There are many festivals celebrated by Hindus, but the “Car Festival” or “Ratha Yatra” is the most important festival of them. It is the festival of Lord Jagannath. He placed on a car or ratha with his elder brother Balabhadra, & sister Subhadra. They together go to their aunty’s (mausi) house. And this is their annual visit to Gundicha mata's temple or aunt’s home (Mausi Maa) for 9days. After 9days they came from mausi maa temple, and it is generally known as “Bahuda Yatra”.

Generally Ratha Yatra takes place in the month of Asadha Shukla Dwitiya or June. This is the only day when devotees who are not allowed in the temple premises, such as non-Hindus and foreigners, can get their glimpse of the deities. During the festival, devotees from all over the world go to Puri with an earnest desire to help pull the Lords' chariots with the help of other priests pulling the chariots with ropes.

In this huge processions accompanying the chariots play devotional songs with drums, tambourines, trumpets etc. Children line the streets through which the chariot will pass and add to the mass chorus. The Ratha carts themselves are some approximately 45 feet (14 m) high and are pulled by the thousands of pilgrims who turn up for the event; the chariots are built anew each year only from a particular type of tree. Millions of devotees congregate at Puri for this annual event from all over the country and abroad. It is also broadcast live on many Indian, foreign television channels as well as many of the websites telecast jagannath ratha yatra live.

The festival is also known as Gundicha Jatra, Ghosa Jatra, Navadina Yatra.  Rath Jatra being unique among all Jatras is the grandest festival of the supreme divinity that has manifested himself in the Kali Yuga to emancipate humanity and to relieve them from their sufferings.

The three chariots of Balarama, Subhadra and Jagannatha are newly constructed every year with wood of specified trees like phassi, dhausa, etc. They are customarily brought from the ex-princely state of Dasapalla by a specialist team of carpenters who have hereditary rights and privileges for the same. The logs are traditionally set afloat as rafts in the river Mahanadi. These are collected near Puri and then transported by road. Covered with bright canopies made of stripes of red cloth and combined with those of black, yellow and blue colors, the huge chariots are lined across the wide avenue in front of the majestic temple close to its eastern entrance, which is also known as the Singhadwara.

Lord Jagannatha’s Chariot is called Nandighosa. It is forty-five feet high and forty-five feet square at the wheel level. It has sixteen wheels, each of seven-foot diameters, and is decked with a cover made of red and yellow cloth. Lord Jagannatha is identified with Krushna, who is also known as Pitambara, the one attired in golden yellow robes and hence the distinguishing yellow stripes on the canopy of this chariot.

The Chariot of Lord Balarama, called the Taladhwaja, is the one with the Palm Tree on its flag. It has fourteen wheels, each of seven-foot diameters and is covered with red and blue cloth. Its height is forty-four feet.

The Chariot of Subhadra, known as Dwarpadalana, literally "trampler of pride," is forty-three feet high with twelve wheels, each of seven-foot diameters. This Chariot is decked with a covering of red and black cloth – black being traditionally associated with Shakti and the Mother Goddess.

Around each of the chariots are nine Parsva devatas, painted wooden images representing different deities on the chariots' sides. Each of the chariots is attached to four horses. These are of different colours – white ones for Balarama, dark ones for Jagannatha, and red ones for Subhadra. Each chariot has a charioteer called Sarathi. The three charioteers attached to the chariots of Jagannatha, Balarama and Subhadra respectively are Daruka, Matali and Arjuna.
The construction of the chariots starts on Akshaya Trutiya, the third day of the bright fortnight of Vaisakha, with ritual fire worship. This takes place in front of the palace of the King of Puri and opposite the main office of the Puri temple. On this day, the new agricultural season starts and farmers start ploughing their fields. This day also marks the beginning of the summer festival of the deities, also known as the sandalwood festival or Chandan Yatra, which lasts for three weeks. In this festival, the representative images of the presiding deities are taken out in colorful processions and given a ceremonial boat ride in the Narendra tank every day. In an interesting demonstration of the assimilative character of the Jagannatha cult, Madanmohana and Rama Krushna, representing Jagannatha & Balarama partake in the festival with the representatives' images of the presiding deities of five main Shiva temples of Puri. These are curiously known as Pancha Pandava, the five brothers of the Mahabharata story. Later the deities have a ritual bath in a small temple in the middle of the tank, in stone tubs filled with water, sandalwood paste, scents and flowers.

Ratha Yatra, the festival of unity, where all kinds of people see the Lord Jagannath at Ratha. Devotees who don’t get inside the temple to see Jagannath, they all see the Lord jagannath in Ratha. It believed that who see Lord Jagannath in Ratha, his sin erase from their life.

Reported by
Sindhuja Choudhury
Pragnya Priyadarshini Saraf

       

Snana Yatra...

BHUBANESWAR: Snana Yatra is a bath festival of Lord Jagannath. It is celebrated on the Purnima (full moon day) of the Hindu month of Jyeshtha. The deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, and Madanmohan are brought out from the Jagannath Temple (Puri) and taken in a procession to the Snana Mandap. There they are ceremonially bathed and decorated for a public audience with the devotees. It is a belief among devotees of Lord Jagannath that if they make a pilgrimage to see the deity on this day, they would be cleansed of all of their sins. Lakhs of devotees visit Puri on this occasion.

On this occasion, the pandas perform abhisheka with Ganges water, milk, etc. for the bathing of devotees. The deities are bathed with 108 pots, of ritually purified water drawn from the northern well of the temple to the accompaniment of religious incantations. This bathing goes on for a few hours in the midst of kirtanas glorifying. This ceremony going to happened in the chanting of the Maha-mantra. It is believed that the devotees were become sick after the bith. And they take rest & must take “medicines” until they become “rejuvenated” enough to go for Ratha-yatra. So for 15 days from the Snana Yatra, Lord Jagannath was not giving darshan.

Reported by
Pragnya Priyadarshini Saraf
Group Editor

       

Rajo: Festival of enjoyment ...

BHUBANESWAR: The arrival of Monsoon brings cheer to farmers across the country, as good rains enable a good harvest and offer a hope of prosperity for all. In eastern parts of Orissa, the arrival of monsoon rains is hailed with Rajo festival, the four day long festival and the second day signifies beginning of the solar month of Mithuna from, which the season of rains starts. It inaugurates and welcomes the agricultural year all over Odisha, and it mainly celebrated by local girls and women farmers with full enthusiasm.

In the Jayeshtha month of the Hindu calendar this festival is organized. It observed every year on the 13th day of the bright fortnight. The popular belief is that the festival marks the changes that the Mother Earth undergoes during this period and the rains make it more fertile. The occasion is perceived as the beginning of a new agricultural year.

The first day of Rajo is called Pahili Rajo, second day is Mithuna Sankranti, and third day is Bhu daaha or Basi Rajo. And the final fourth day is called Vasumati snana, in which the ladies bath the grinding stone as a symbol of Bhumi with turmeric paste and adore with flower, sindoor etc. All types of seasonal fruits are offered to mother Bhumi. The day before first day is called Sajabaja or preparatory day during which the house, kitchen including grinding stones is cleaned, spices are ground for three days. During these three days women and girls take rest from work and wear new Saree, Alata and ornaments.

Rajo is celebrated for three consecutive days. Just as the earth prepares itself to whence its thirst by the incoming rains, the unmarried girls of the family groomed for matrimony through this festival. They passed these three days in joyous way. They also enjoy to eat only uncooked and nourishing food especially Podapitha. They do not take bath, do not walk barefooted and vow to give birth to healthy children in future. The most vivid and enjoyable memories one has of the Rajo is the rope-swings on big banyan trees and the lyrical folk-songs that one listens from the nubile beauty enjoying the atmosphere.

“Banaste Dakila Gaja,
Barasake Thare Aasichhi Rajo,
Asichi Rajo lo Gheni Nua Sajabaja,
Baula lo Gheni Nua Sajabaja……….”

Rajo Festival is the best festival of Odisha. Girls enjoy this occasion by wearing new clothes, footwear and eating many delicious food, spending time with friends and playing the swings & also many other games. Poda Pitha, Chakuli Pitha, mangoes are among the special dishes and foods, we usually love to eat in Rajo. The girls of Odia family also celebrate it with pana and swinging in doli with rajo song.

The first day of raja is known as ‘Pahili Raja’. Girls wear new clothes and ornaments. They visit to the neighbor’s house, play Doli, Ludo, and cards. Boys too spend their time with playing Bagudi, Kabadi, cards etc. Competitions are also held between different groups of villages. Second day of raja is known as ‘Raja Sankranti’. This day is for offering puja to deities with fruits and flowers. The last day of raja is known as ‘Sesha Raja’. This festival is incomplete without taking ‘Raja Pana’(bettle). ‘Bhuin Sitala’ is the end of raja, after the sesha raja. On this day, people offer prayers to mother earth.



Reported by
Sindhuja Choudhury
Pragnya Priyadarshini Saraf

       

Saraswati Puja celebrated with religious fervour...

 

Saraswati Puja was celebrated with religious fervour in the City. Students and teachers performed Puja in schools and different educational institutions by offering flowers and placing their books, pencils and notebooks for a Puja before the deity of knowledge, wisdom, music and art.

Besides that people in large number thronged temples and Puja Mandaps on the auspicious occasion. Pandals have also been put at many places and Cultural progammes were organized in the evening to mark the occasion.

   Ganesh Puja...

 

Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular Hindu festivals, which is the birthday of Lord Ganesh. It falls on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadraba month (August-September). Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed god is worshipped first in any prayers and before the beginning of any new work.  The festival is observed all over the Country, as well as by Hindus in all parts of the world.

An idol of Lord Ganesh is installed in houses where the Puja is carried out with Vedic mantras, Homas and offering Ladoos and other sweets, as it is a belief that worshipping Lord Ganesh brings good luck and Prosperity to the family. Ganesh Puja is celebrated by the students in schools, colleges and educational institutions to take his blessings, as he is also the God of Wisdom. Different Cultural Programmes are organized in many places to celebrate the festival with great pomp.

Ganesh is the eldest son of Lord Shiva and the elder brother of Kartikeya. He is the energy of Lord Shiva and is so called the son of Shankar and Umadevi.

There is a great story behind the birth of Ganesh. The Goddess Umadevi, while bathing, created Ganesh as a pure white being out of the mud of her body and placed him at the entrance of the house telling him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. When Lord Shiva himself was returning home, was stopped by Ganesh at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganesha’s head thinking him a stranger.

In order to console Gauri’s grief after she knew about the incident, Shiva ordered his servants to bring the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. Accordingly, the servants went on and found only an elephant sleeping in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant’s head was brought before Shiva. The Lord Shiva then joined the elephant’s head onto the body of Ganesh.