Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

While ‘Vamana Janma’ and ‘Garuda Parswaparibartana’ are being observed at Puri Srimandir on the occasion of Bhadraba Shukla Paksha Dwadasi tithi, Sunia is being observed at various temples and mutts at the Pilgrim City on Tuesday.

Sunia is also being celebrated today at Srinavara of Puri Gahjapati Dibyasingha Deba with traditional fervour, pomp and gaiety.

As per legends, the term Sunia is a combination of the prefix su- meaning ‘good’ and verb nia- meaning ‘taking’. The ‘giving and taking’ relates to the revenue collection by the king from the subjects in the past. The collection was carried out on this day, which made the kings pleased and the subjects relaxed as they paid their dues. Some People also gave gifts to the king to express their love for him. So Sunia literally refers to a day on which things are taken and given on good terms.

“Vamana Janma is observed at Srimandir to commemorate the famous incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a vamana (a dwarf). After ‘Madhyana Dhupa’ secret rituals of Vamana Janma will be performed at Srimandir,” said Jagannath culture researcher Suryanarayana Rathasharma.

“Sunia has been an important day for the king of Puri. At the king’s palace, a special ceremony for the king called the Abhisheka is observed on this day along with the announcement of the New Year, new anka and tithi. The royal calendar used this day as the New Year’s Day to make up the wheel of the administrative year and it is still in practice at Puri in the royal family. The kings, in the old days, considered the day suitable to carry out important administrative activities like the introduction of new gold coins, collection of revenue from the subjects and preparation for new invasions. So, the importance of the day is inseparable from the history of Odisha,” said Rathasharma.

“Apart from that ‘Gadi Puja’ rituals are also performed at various mutts in Puri on the occasion. The festival is no less important for the common people. It is the New Year’s Day for them too. People of different trades begin their work on this day hoping to excel and succeed in their fields,” he added.