Kumarotsav: Girls’ wish for handsome grooms

Bhubaneswar: Kumar Purnima or Sharad Purnima is being celebrated across the State with pomp and gaiety today. Legend has it that on this full moon day in the month of Ashwin, unmarried young girls offer special pooja in the evening and seek that they get a handsome groom like Lord Kumara or Kartikeya, the handsome son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

Kartikeya who was born on this day also became the God of war. As young girls always wish for a handsome husband, they propitiate Kumara who was most handsome among the Gods. But, peculiarly enough there is no ritual for the God, instead the Sun and the Moon are worshipped.

Early in the morning the girls after their purificatory bath wear new garments and make food-offerings to the sun. They observe fasting for the whole day. In the evening, they put liya (an item like puffed rice/poha) along with cowrie-shells, banana, cottage cheese (locally called chhena), grated coconut, black pepper, honey, jiggery and sugar and offer this to the moon God amidst ‘hulu-huli’ (sounds made/done during auspicious occasions). Then the girls have the prasad or ‘bhoga’ after completing the rituals.

It is a festival of rejoicing for the girls. All of them sing and dance. The songs are of special nature. They also play a kind of game known as ‘Puchi’.

This day is also observed as the birth day of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. Therefore, many people worship the Goddess at their homes and keep themselves awake by playing Pasha (Chess), and other indoor games. Significantly it suggests that those who wish to acquire wealth should always be vigilant at night. It is for this reason the owl, the bird which sleeps in the day and comes out only at night.