Pana Sankranti in Odisha is celebrated as the Odia New Year. Like every year, Pana Sankranti will be celebrated on 14th April 2018 (Saturday).
This day is named after ‘Pana’, the main drink offering specially prepared on this occasion. The Oriya New Year will start from this day.
All over the country this day is considered auspicious and is celebrated with social, cultural and religious performances.
Pana Sankranti (Maha Vishuba Sankranti) is similar to the New Year festivals observed elsewhere in India such as Baisakhi (Punjab), Bihu (Assam), Juir Sheetal (Mithila), Naba Barsha (Bengal), Bisu Parba (Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka), Vishu (Kerala), and Puthandu (Tamil Nadu).
There are specific reasons as to why the Visuva Sankranti is considered as the first day of the solar year. It is only on two occasions i.e. ‘Mesha Sankranti’ and ‘Tula Sankranti’ that the Sun fully rests on the equator and on these two dates the length of days and nights remain equal. After Mesha Sankranti the Sun moves in the northern direction to our side as our country is situated to the north of the equator. It is, therefore, from this day of first movement of the Sun from Mesha Sankranti that the New Year is counted.
People use a small pot filled with “pana” or a sweet drink of Mishri and water is hung on a basil (Tulsi) plant. There is a hole at the bottom of this pot which allows the water to fall from the pot, representing rain.
The flour of horse gram chhatua, along with banana and curd, is consumed by the people of Odisha after offering it to the Tulsi plant.
All temples across the state witness beeline of devotees since morning to have ‘darshan’ of the deities on the beginning of the Odia year.
This festival is observed widely in some form or other in the coastal areas, in some towns and villages of other areas as a rigorous ritualistic observance. Deeply connected with the mass religious culture of Orissa, a number of other festivals otherwise known as ‘Jhamu Yatra’, ‘Hingula Yatra’ or ‘Patua Yatra’, ‘Danda Yatra’, ‘Uda Yatra’ etc, which originated as ritualistic observances of ‘Chaitra Parba’ culminate in the Bishuba Sankranti and make a grand finale of the whole celebration.
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