Monday, July 15, 2024
Odisha (Orissa)

Fairs and Festivals


Maha Shiva Ratri

Shiva Ratri is the most important festival in the annual cycle of rituals which is celebrated in the month of Phalguna (February-March.).

The fair draws pilgrims from villages and towns around and devotees fast till after mid-night when the sacred lamp (Mahadeepa) is taken to the temple spire.

Dola Jatra

Beginning with the Purnima or the full moon day in the lunar month of Phalguna. The Radha and Krishna images from the Vaishnava temples begin the ritual  journey to some important centres of congregation or Melana. With Holy or sprinkling of red 'abir' powder and chanting of bhajan and kirtan, the devotees come in a procession with images of Radha and Krishna carried in the Vimanas to the site of the fair. The deities pay a visit to several villages on their outing and receive homage and offerings from devotees. At the site of the fair chanting if spiritual songs and recitation of the Bhagavata and other scriptures are usually organised.

In western Odisha (Orissa) this ceremonially inaugurates the just use of green mango, Chaar berries, Mahul flower and paluash flower-all jungle fruits, flowers offered to deities. This is known as 'Gundithaai Parba' in western Odisha (Orissa).

Rama Leela

This all -India festival is celebrated in a few important villages and towns in Odisha (Orissa) in the month of Chaitra (March-April). The masks of Rama, Ravana and others of the Ramayana myth are worn by characters in a dramatic re-enactment of the epic happenings. This is accompanied by music and singing and is presented in the form of folk opera. The burning of the huge effigies as practiced elsewhere in India is not prevalent in Odisha (Orissa). The fair is held in honour of Lord Rama to celebrate the victory of virtue over vice Ravana.

Patua Jatra and Chandak Puja

These are allied to the Banda Jatra described for month of Vaishakha and aimed at propitiation of Lord Shiva for boons. The months of Chaitra and Vaishakha are specially sacred for Shiva worshippers or the 'lower castes' presumably derived from Buddhist society. The same physical tortures for spiritual benefit are undergone and they overlap in time and in the rituals with the variations of Dand Jatra.