The Bhajan is meant for group singing, and Bhajan means singing in praise of God. The most popular Bhajan or devotional song is 'Khanjani Bhajana'. It is a group devotional song. Devotional songs are sung to the accompaniment of Khanjani. Khanjani is a percussion instrument, which looks like a miniature tambourine. The singer holds it in the left hand and plays with the fingers of the right hand. It is especially used by a particular religious sect called Alekh or Kumbhipatua. Mostly Bhajans by Oriya mystics like Achutananda or Bhima Bhoi are sung with Khanjani.
Through Janana the devotee invokes God and seeks his blessings. Jananas dedicated to Lord Jagannath are the most popular Jananas of Orissa. It is said that this type of song got maturity in the fifteenth century. Janana is generally sung solo with accompaniment of Harmonium, Brass Bells, Gini, Mridanga.
In Kirtan also the devotees sing the glories of God, especially, the glories of Radha and Lord Krishna. In Orissa it was introduced by the Vaishnavas, perhaps during the time of Shri Chaitnya (16th). Here two types of Kirtans are prevalent, namely, Gaudiya Kirtan and Utkaliya Kirtan. They differ in style. The Gaudiya Kirtan is mostly in Bengali language. The Utakaliya Kirtan is also occasionally interspersed with Bengali wordings. Every morning and evening Kirtan is played in Vaishnava temples. There are Kirtan Mandalis almost in all the villages of Orissa. Kirtan is also an indispensable part of all Vaishanva festivals.
It is a festival of unmarried girls and boys. On the full moon day of the lunar month of Ashwina young unmarried girls and boys worship the Moon God, remain vigil the whole night and go around the village singing a specific popular song "Phula haula beni".
All the year round the Hindus have their festivals and each festival has some performing art associated with it. There are different festivals observed by different sexes, different castes and by different age groups. For example, Rajaparba is exclusively observed by girls while Kumarpurnima is observed by both young girls and boys. Chaiti Ghoda Nata and Ogala are performed, as mentioned earlier by the fishermen and the cowherds respectively. Accompanying them are the various festival songs.
Thus listed above are some of the devotional songs of Orissa.
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