(Last Updated on : 16/03/2013)
The state of Orissa in the Indian subcontinent is widely popular for its temple complexes, tribal customs, splendiferous beaches, fertile river basins, striking waterfalls, lakes and wildlife sanctuaries. The widely celebrated festivals of Orissa can be redefined as a spiritual canvas of soul stirring celebration. This state astonishingly combines antiquity and plenty. So the festive celebrations in the state of Orissa are marked with great ebullience and traditional ardor. Festivals in this state make for unrestrained jollification. Orissa participates in almost all the festivals taking place in the country. The festivals celebrated in Orissa embody the robust and composite cultural heritage of our nation. Various communities of the Indian subcontinent celebrate as many as forty festivals with complete communal concordance. The festivals specific to the state of Orissa lends ethnic overtones to other festivals that are celebrated throughout the Indian subcontinent. The festivals of Orissa are also the best way to understand the multihued culture of India. The festivals with all their colors and traditions also amalgamate together to give a true reflection of this state, which is so diverse in its riches. In the festivals of Orissa you will experience the feeling of togetherness and social harmony. The chief festivals of this state include:
This festival is celebrated in the month of June. In fact the car festival of Puri is famous all over the globe and is indeed one of the famous festivals of Orissa. This festival can be redefined as the journey of Lord Jagannath and his siblings Subhadra and Balarama from the famous Jagannath temple to the temple of their maternal aunt at Gundicha. They stay over here for a period of ten days and then return back to the Jagannath Temple with the same amount of pomp and show in the ceremonial procedures. Thousands of devotees join in the procession to pull the chariot. It is believed that pulling the chariot absolves one from all the sins and makes your earn virtue and salvation.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated in the state of Orissa in myriad cultural forms as in other parts of the country. This festival is celebrated in the month of January and is solely dedicated to the worship of Sun God. This widely popular festival is celebrated in different forms in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. In the state of Orissa it is celebrated with much vigor and fervor at few places like Keonjar, Atri and Chilika. The Bhuya tribes of Orissa indulge in a celebration of unique style by having Maghyatra in which they put small home made articles for sale.
This is one of the popular festivals of Orissa. It is observed widely by the locals of Orissa on the eight day of the second fortnight in the month of Aswin. They keep fast on this particular day. The "Godhasa parbana puja" of Goddess Durga ends on this day. Animal sacrifices form a major part of the festive celebration. The particular night of this festival is one of the four `ratries` known as `Maha Ratries`.
This festival falls on the last day of the Oriya month of Aswin. It is regarded as a social festival in the state of Orissa. The women-folk put on new dresses and perform worship to both the Sun-God and Moon-God to get a groom like Lord Kartikeya, son of Lord Shiva who is also beloved to be the most handsome of all the male Gods.
This festival is grandly observed on the 14th, 15th and 16th day of the Kartika month according to the Oriya calendar. This is regarded as a socio-religious festival in the state of Orissa. Goddess Kali is worshipped with much veneration on the first day, Dipavali falls on the second night and Bhatru Dwitiya on the 16th day. On this particular night the Hindu devotees of the state remain awake for the whole night and surrender themselves before Goddess Shyama. Bhatru Dwitiya is especially observed by the domiciled Bengali families and epitomizes the worship of brothers by their beloved sisters.
Sri Nrusingha Chatturdashi
This festival is celebrated by the people of Orisssa on the month of May just the day before Buddha Purnima. It is grandly observed in the temple of Sri Nrusingha Nath, Paikmal in Sambalpur district and in other Nrusingha temples. The devotes perform all the religious rites and rituals with much veneration.
The festival of Janmashtami is a celebration of all that Lord Krishna epitomizes. This immensely popular festival is observed on the eighth day of the dark half or `Krishna Paksha` of the Bhadrapadha month in the Hindu calendar. The Hindu devotees make fasting on this day and the night is one among the far ratris, better known as Maha Ratri.
This festival is also known as `Rahas Purnima`. It is celebrated throughout the state of Orissa in the Kartika month according to the Hindu calendar or the months of October/November according to the English calendar. On this special day the `Rasha Jhulana` of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha are observed with immense faith and virtue. The Mrunmaya Murthi of God Kartikeya is also worshipped with much veneration.
Navaratri is the longest Hindu festival celebrated in the state of Orissa with as much exuberance and ebullience as in the whole country. It usually falls on the days of Bhadra Sukhla Panchami. This is generally regarded as a socio-religious function in the state of Orissa. The grand celebration of this festival is observed in the temple of Sri Samaleshwari and also in western Orissa.
Sri Vinayak Chaturthi/ Ganesh Chaturthi
This festival observes the birthday of Lord Vinayak or Lord Ganesh. It is generally observed on the 4th day of second fortnight of Bhadrab month. During this festival clay idols are especially prepared by the people of Orissa and installed in home. Prayers are performed and hymns are sung in the honor of Lord Ganesh also known as the Lord of `Vidya` and `Sidhi` and are mainly worshipped by the student folk during the festive celebrations. The festival ends in the state with the ceremonial procession and immersion of the Lord in the nearby sea or river waters.
Sri Rakhi Purnima
This festival is also known as Balavadra Janma and is one of the most celebrated festivals of Orissa. It is one of the most special festivals of Orissa. It is mainly observed in the Baladev Jew temple of the state and also in the Jagannath temples of Orissa where Balavadras are worshipped. The religious rites and rituals are observed by the people of Orissa with much veneration.
The Diwali celebrations in the state of Orissa are also full of fun and frolic. Rows of `diyas` or oil lamps, candles and lanterns, bursting of fire crackers and distribution of sweetmeats marks the festive celebrations of Orissa. Except for one small ritual of calling upon the spirit of the family`s forefathers, there in not much difference in the festivities of Diwali in Orissa. A `rangoli` of a sailboat made on the ground is another feature that marks the festive celebrations in the region. All the family members gather together after dusk and hold a bundle of jute stems, the lighting of which signifies the lighting of the dark path that the spriti of the ancestors take back to Heaven.
The festive celebration of Holi in the state of Orissa is almost similar to that of West Bengal except for some minor aspects and is definitely one of the popular festivals of Orissa. The other name of Holi here is also `Dol Purnima`. But instead of worshipping the idols of Lord Krishna and Radha on this auspicious occasion they worship the idol of Lord Jagannath, who is also regarded as another incarnation of Lord Krishna. Holika is burnt in the evening as the symbol of the victory of good over evil.