Important Festivals of Odisha essay 13 festivals in 12 months in Odisha

Important Festivals of Odisha essay 13 festivals in 12 months in Odisha

Important Festivals Of Orissa (Odisha) The Festival of Orissa or Odisha is also referred to as Odia Festival, Odia Parba, Odiya Festival, or Orissan Festival.
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Odisha is known for its colorful festivals. The festivals are numerous, spread over all the twelve months of the year. Village life centers around agriculture. Therefore, there is an intimate relationship between festivals with the numerous agricultural operations that take place. Orissan Festivals are also observed as part of the Hindu religious faith. 

Dates for Orissan festivals are determined by the traditional Hindu calendar. The specialties of most of the Orissan festivals are that, on these occasions, much merry­making is done, new clothes are worn and special dishes are prepared at home. Orissan cuisine is at its test in these functions. Delicious dishes prepared include small cakes known as Pitha and also sweets made from milk. Festivals carry forward people's traditions and culture.

A Brief List of major festivals of Orissa is given below:

A brief summary of the important festivals of Orissa is recounted below:

Raja Parba 
This festival is the most important in coastal Orissa and unique in its observance in honor of Mother Earth. It is observed for three days. All agricultural operations remain suspended during these days. During the 'Raja' festival, food specialties are prepared in every home. The most important is 'Poda Cake' made out of rice, coconut, molasses, and spices. Children take Pitha (Rice cakes) and fruits during this period. They wear new clothes and make a lot of merry-making in 'Swings'.

Mahabisuva Sankranti
This is the beginning of the New Year in Orissa. This festival is also called: 'Pana Sankranti'. On this day in every Oriya home, 'Pana' or household sweet drink is given to the neighbors and visitors. Families make special prayers and food offerings in the temples. On this day also ends the fire walking function called `Jhamu Yatra' where penitents walk on live charcoal to the accompaniment of gongs and drums.

Rath Yatra or Car Festival
This is the grandest of all festivals in Orissa and is held at Puri. It begins on the second day of the bright half of (Asadha) month which falls in June or July every year. It is the sacred journey of images. Lord Jagannath with brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra in wooden chariots journey from main Jagannath temple through the streets to another shrine called `Gundhicha Char', where the deities stay for nine days. On the last day, the return journey is made i.e. from Gundicha Char to main Jagannath temple. This is called Bahuda Yatra. Thousands of devotees from all over India throng on Ratha Yatra day at Puri to pull the sacred Chariots.

Akoya Trulia 
This is the oldest agricultural festival in the State. On this day farmer goes to his field with turmeric powder, sandal paste, paddy seeds mingled with vermilion, and rice cakes. He takes along with him his plow. In the field, he prays and offers 'Bhoga' to goddess Lakshmi and sows a fistful of paddy seeds in the field after plowing it.

This is celebrated in grand form at the Lingaraj Temple at Bhubaneswar. This is a chariot festival like the Car Festival of Puri. The protege of Lord Lingaraj (Siva) is taken out in a wooden chariot from the main temple to the Rameswar temple. The chariot returns after a four-day stay with Mausi Maa.

Durga Puja
It is celebrated with much color and festivity in the State. Durga Puja symbolizes the commemoration of the victory of good over evil. Mother Durga on this day killed the demon 'Mahisasura' and brought about peace in the land; Puja Mandaps with colored clay images of goddess Durga are set up in large numbers. Crowds throng Puja Mandaps to enjoy the festivities. Goddess Durga is worshipped from the Seventh to the Tenth day. On the tenth day which is called 'Vijaya Dasami', a procession is carried out toward a river for immersion of the image.

Makara Mela
Makar Sankranti is celebrated with much gusto when the sun enters the orbit of Capricorn. By this time, the harvest of new paddy, sugarcane crops, etc. are over. On the day of the Sankranti, food offerings are made to God, Sun God is worshipped with great fervor and enthusiasm by one and all. The festival is also called 'Makara Mela'.

Mahasiva Ratri
On this day, devotees remain fast and perform 'Puja' in the 'Siva' temples. The main festival is celebrated at the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar where a sacred lamp burns on the temple top.

This is a very popular and colorful festival in the State. Radha and Krishna are the main deities who are worshipped in this 'Parbah'. People in the rural areas carry the gaily decorated 'Viman' with the idols in the village streets singing devotional songs. The main attraction of Dola Yatra is Holi when people throw color powders and water at each other.

Chaiti Parba
This is the main festival of the fishermen's community. They dance with a wooden horses in villages. This is called (Ghoda) Horse dance.

This is a major social festival of Western Orissa. Generally, it takes place in August-September on an auspicious day fixed by the astrologers. Although the festival is meant for eating new rice of the year, it is observed as a day of general festivity. New rice is cooked with milk and sugar and distributed. People greet their friends and relatives.

Magha Saptami
On this day thousands of pilgrims take a holy dip in the sea near Chandrabhaga beach. They welcome the rising sun with prayers. Konark is the place of the main festival. According to 'Puranas' Samba worshipped Sun God on this day and was cured of leprosy disease.

Sitala Sasthi
This is the celebration of the marriage ceremony of Lord Siva with Goddess Parvati and is mostly observed in Western Orissa particularly at Sambalpur in June. The wedding of the divine couple is observed with much pomp and ceremony. Lakhs of people witness it when the idols are taken out in procession on a `Medha'.

Dhanu Yatra
This is a colorful festival of Western Orissa, particularly at Bargarh town. Dhanu Yatra relates to the episodes of the visit of God Krishna to Mathura where King Kansa, the tyrant, ruled over his subjects. The ceremony is colorfully observed at Bargarh where thousands of people assemble daily to witness the ceremony. The town of Bargarh becomes Mathura. Different acts of the Puranic descriptions are performed and spectators witness it with great joy.

Thakurani Puja
Thakurani is the presiding deity of Berhampur in South Orissa. Her blessings are sought by everybody. The Thakurani Yatra is observed with much pomp and ceremony when the deity is brought outside.

Chhau Festival
This is a famous war dance. Other subjects have also come into this dance.

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