Monday, February 26, 2024
Odisha (Orissa)

Fairs and Festivals


The fasts in contradistinction to the fairs and festivals are under taken by individuals in fulfillment of personal vows-either for one's own personal interest or in interest of one's loved ones. The fasts are of two kinds. The 'Brata' (vrata) is a fast undertaken in fulfillment of a vow made both men and women, whereas the 'Osha' is the fast which is undertaken only by women.

Bada Osha

Bada Osha is essentially a major occasion of fasting. In coastal Odisha (Orissa) thousands of people gather at Dhabaleswar, Temple of Lord Mahadeva, in rocky islands in the midst of the river Mahanadi near Cuttak for fulfillment of boons. It is celebrated on the fourteenth of Kartika (September-October). This fast is also observed by men.

Mana Basa or Gurubara Osha

At the time when the paddy in the low-lying fields is ripe and harvesting has begun. Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth has blessed the cultivator and is to be thanked and the family members rejoice in the bounty.

It is a weekly celebration of the worship of the goddess with varieties of cakes and other delicacies every Thursday which is considered to be the day of Lakshmi. The goddess is represented by a special variety of whitish paddy put in a grain measure ('Mana'). The lady of the house fasts and worships the goddess. Only the members of the family can partake of the oblations. Otherwise, goddess Lakshmi may leave the household of the worshipper. The concluding festivities of the last Thursday of the month are most elaborate.

Savitri Vrata

Savitri is the deified virtuous woman who had brought back her husband to wife by doggedly pleading with the God of Death, Yama. By observing the fast on the new moon day of the lunar month of Jaishtha, the married woman seeks Savitri's grace for making her husband live as long.

Khudurukuni Osha

Young girl's worship goddess Mangala in the morning of every Sunday in the month of Bhadrava. They believe that this God has the power of perform miracles of curing leprosy and other  virulent diseases and the God is revengeful if one forgets to observe one's fast, after obtaining a boon.

Jahmi Osha

Jahmi or ridge-gourd is a forbidden fruit for the unmarried girls in the month of Bhadrava. The goddess Vrundavati  who is located in the basil plant (Tulsi) is worshipped in this month. The Goddess is also credited with the power of unmarried girls of leprosy and a punishing the unbelievers especially married women, by inflicting death upon their children.

Shathi Osha

Shathi or Shasthi is the powerful goddess presiding over the destiny and welfare of all children. It is believed that she writes the child's future on its forehead on the sixth day after the birth of the child. She is worshipped on the sixth day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Bhadrava  by the mother and neighbouring family women.  When the goddess pleased, she has been credited with restoring life to dead children.

Bali Trutiya

This is a  fast observed by married women only for worshipping the images of Uma and Maheswar made of sand. It is celebrated on the third day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrava. According to the myth in the Padma Purana, Parvathi had observed this fast and was married to Shiva.  In other myth Lord Rama had worshipped the Divine couple for securing their favour in winning the war against Ravana. Young men on this day have the liberty of striking the roofs of the houses with sticks and of removing stone-steps from the door believing that the curses of people will be turned into blessing that day.