During the royal regime, the festival was observed in the capital of princely states of ‘Mayurbhanj’ and after merger of Odisha, the district headquarter ‘Baripada’ of the district of ‘Mayurbhani’ has become the place for its observation.
History of Chaitra Parba
In its early years it was conceived to be a religious festival but with the pace of time it has been converted into an art festival with religious fervor. It is observed for days together continuously with 'Shaivite' Ceremonies and rituals during the daytime where as ‘Chhau Dance’ is performed in the night.
Till the period of Maharaja 'Krushna Chandra Bhanj Deo' (1882) ‘Chhau’ was not attached to Chaitra Parva. After introduction of ‘Chhau’ in ‘Mayurbhanj’ the dance was attached to the ‘Parva’ subsequently. During the royal administration, the prime objective of the festival was to invoke and propitiate Lord Shiva through ‘Shaivite’ Ceremonies for prosperity of the kingdom and the king. It is believed that if Lord Shiva is invoked during the month of ‘Chaitra’ it would bring welfare for the community and the individual. It is believed that the rituals and penances undertaken to appease God need to be observed in most perfect manner otherwise an opposite disastrous effect may be obtained. On behalf of the people those who can adhere to strict discipline and undertake penance to propitiate Gods for the benefit of the people and community are authorized to do such activities. They are called "Bhaktas". Accordingly the Maharajas of ‘Mayurbhanj’ authorized the ‘Bhaktas’ to pray and propitiate Lord Shiva in the month of ‘Chaitra’ for prospects of the kingdom and the King. The occasion during which such ‘Shaivite’ Ceremonies are performed is called ‘Chaitra Parva’.
Celebration of Chaitra Parba
The carnival involves singing, dancing, drinking and hunting. The tribal people wear new clothes and treat into merriment. People worship Lord Shiva and execute the ‘Saivite’ (Shiva centric) ceremonies. They also make sacrifices of birds and animals before God. ‘Chhau Dance’, which is performed during the night, got connected to the ‘Chaitra Parva’ Festival only after its opening in the ‘Mayurbhanj’ state.
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