(Last Updated on : 01/11/2014)
Oriya culture is a rich mix of ethnicity and tradition. Being the home of famous temples and religious shrines, the pious and spiritual customs intermingle in the social interactions of Oriyas. Music and dance compliment the religious rites and rituals. Oriya culture started its development process a long time back. Discussed below are some of the major aspects of Oriya culture which provide a deeper insight into the life and lifestyle of the Oriya people.
Festivals of Orissa
Festivals are part and parcel of Oriya culture. All the popular Indian festivals are feted by the Oriyas along with some local festivals, incorporating religious rituals with social norms. The main festival of Orissa is the Rath Yatra. It is held on the second day of 'Asadha' or monsoon seasons. On this day, the idol of Lord Jagannath
, together with Lord Balaram and Subhadra
are being brought out in roads in chariots by thousands of devotees.
Another popular festival, Dhanu Yatra
, is held in the months of December or January to celebrate the occasion of the visit of Lord Krishna
. The Annual Konark Dance Festival
is a huge celebration of Indian classical dance. Magha Saptami is feted in the month of 'Magha
' to revere the Sun God at Konark. The five day long Puri Beach
Festival starts from November 5, and is observed in the beautiful coastal beaches with great merrymaking and enthusiasm.
Music and Dance of Orissa
Oriya music can broadly be divided into various genres of folk music, light music, light-classical music and classical music. Folk music like Balipuja Geeta, Kendra Geeta, Jaiphula Geeta depicts the woes and sorrows of the natives. Bhajan, a popular song type of light classical music is famous throughout the nation. Sariman, Champu, Malasri, Vyanjani, Chaturang, Tribhang, are the various sub categories of the conventional Odissi music
. They fall under the Oriya classical music genre.
'Odissi' is the traditional dance of Orissa. It has gained recognition as one of the important Indian Classical Dances
for its glory and beautiful appeal. Odissi
was performed in the Orissa temples as a religious ritual by the Devadasis
known as 'Maharis.' The disciples of Ramanuja
, the great Vaishnav saint from the south, introduced the Devadasi system for musical performances in Jagannath temple
in the time of Chodagangadeva. Among the folk dances of Orissa, Chhau
is reputed worldwide.
The Chhau composition is based on stories of the Indian Puranas
, combining unique lyrics with fast dancing strides. The Naga dance is a type of war dance, performed with lethal weapons like swords, bows and arrows. Other folk dances like Humo, Bauli, Jhulki, Jamudali, Mayalajar, Gunjikata, Ghumra are also rampant.
Cuisine of Orissa
Oriyas cuisine is similar to its neighbours West Bengal
. Most of the Oriyas are vegetarians with rice and vegetables like potatoes, cabbage etc as their staples. A great variety of delicacies are prepared from fish. Oriya food is oil-free and has negligible fattening values. Oriyas are fond of sweets; Pancha-Phutana is cooked mixing Cumin
. Pithas, desserts, too are savoured by the Oriyas.
Recently, Orissa underwent an upsurge due to advancement in the fields of research, technology and industries. Yet, tradition and modernity can be seen existing side-by-side in the culture of Orissa.