Vikash Sharma

It is a moment of pride for the people of Odisha as Odias across the state celebrate Odia New Year with religious fervour. The day is celebrated as Pana Sankranti and marks the beginning of Odia New Year. Also celebrated as Maha Vishuba Sankranti or Mesha Sankranti, this festival falls on the first day of the traditional Hindu solar calendar month of Mesha.

As per the Hindu calendar, this day usually falls on April 13 or 14 each year. The auspicious Maha Vishuba Sankranti is also celebrated as the birthday of Lord Hanuman. To celebrate the day, people in Odisha throng temples and bathe in the holy water. On this holy day, temples across the state witness a huge influx of devotees.

Braving the scorching heat and humid conditions, people visit temples to worship the lord and seek his blessings for the well-being of their family members and friends. The day assumes much significance as the new Odia calendar or Panjika is released on the auspicious day. The day also marks the onset of the summer season and is known as Pana Sankranti and people distribute 'pana', a traditional cool drink.

Pana Sankranti:

There is a tradition of making a homemade beverage known as ‘Pana’ which is distributed among the people. It is usually prepared from the pulp of wood apple, locally known as bel fruit, fruits, sweets, sugar or molasses, black pepper powder etc.

Pana is distributed among family members, friends, and neighbours as a symbol of sharing and community bonding.

On this day, people hang an earthen pot over a basil plant. This is known as ‘hanging of Basundhara Theki’. A hole is made at the bottom of the pot and a blade of grass is inserted into it. After filling it with water mixed with ‘pana’, the pot is hung over a Basil (Tulsi) plant. Water in the pot keeps falling on the Basil drop by drop.

Pana Sankranti holds great cultural and religious significance that brings people together, fostering a sense of unity and harmony.