Odia New Year celebrated across the state

Bhubaneswar: Today marks the beginning of the New Year in the traditional Odia calendar.

Mahabishuba Sankranti, Pana Sankranti or Baisakhi — dubbed in various names; the very day prominently features in the Indian cultural calendar. Coinciding with the traditional New Year in Assam, Punjab and Tamil Nadu and a few other places — the very day is very much anticipated by all odias living in the state and outside.  

Astrologers opine that on this day Sun moves to the equator from north pole.  Sun enters the Aries (Mesha) and stays in the Rashi for one month.

Today people across the state observe certain rituals as they start the day taking a dip in water early in the morning. As it is traditionally believed that Lord Hanuman descended on earth today, many devotees visit various Hanuman temples to do puja and offer their prayers. 

There is a ritual of making Sara, a small mud pot with a hole at the bottom filled with Panaa and is hung over the holy Chaura (Basil plant). The Panaa pouring from the pot through the hole on the Basil symbolizes good rain fall for the upcoming monsoon.

Besides, Odia panji (almanac) is prepared on the very day, which is followed in every oriya household and in Jagannath temple, Puri as the proceedings in the temple strictly follow the Odia panji .

The day brings the blend of spring at its peak and the approaching summer. Preparations are being made from today for the provision of cold water and water mixed with curd to benefit the passers-by stricken by the heat wave of the summer. 

On the day of Sankranti, people enjoy Panaa, a delicious health drink made of bael (Bela). The drink mixed with Bhang is taken by one and all, as the festive day is celebrated with family, friends and relatives.

After observing Jhamu Brata since a few days, today is the day on which many end their Brata. In many Devi temples, Danda Yatra and Jhamu Yatra are organized as devotees walk on thorns and fire. So on many counts, today is significant. It is believed that if today goes by blissfully; we can have a blissful year ahead.