Celebration of Pana Sankranti
Pana Sankranti is the day marks the beginning of the New Year of Odisha in the traditional Hindu Solar Calendar. On this day the sun enters the sidereal Aries or Mesha Rashi. It generally falls on 14th or 15th April every year. The spring season in Pana Sankranti is at its zenith during this period, and the summer is approaching. The date is calculated as per Sidereal astrology.
Other New Year Celebration in India
Pana Sankranti or Maha Vishuva Sankranti is similar to the New Year festivals observed elsewhere in India such as Baisakhi (Punjab), Bihu (Assam), Juir Sheetal (Mithila), Pohela Baishakh (West Bengal), Bisu Parba (Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka), Vishu (Kerala), and Puthandu (Tamil Nadu).
Day in Pana Sankranti
There are specific reasons as to why the Vishuva Sankranti or Pana Sankranti is considered as the first day of the solar year. On only two occasions around year, Mesha Sankramana and Tula Sankramana, the Sun fully rests on the equator. On these two dates, the length of days and nights are equal. But in case of a sidereal zodiac, as used in Indian solar calendars, it has no connection with the equinoxes. Hence, the length of the Indian sidereal calendars is longer than the actual tropical solar year. The Oriya Pana Sankranti is the sidereal month of "Mesha" starts from this day.
North Indian Purnimanta system in Pana Sankranti
Although people of Odisha calculate the month from the next day of Purnima to Purnima, as per the North Indian Purnimanta system, the yearly cycle of the moon is less than 365 days of earth's rotation, and some years also contain Adhika Maasa. Therefore, the new year of Odisha is calculated from the day of Mesha Sankramana to fix a particular day. The Oriya New Year is calculated from the day of Sankramana, whereas the neighbouring state of West Bengal celebrates Pohela Boishakh on the next day of Sankramana.
Pana in Pana Sankranti
On this particular day, a small pot filled with "pana" or a sweet drink of Mishri and water is hung on 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.
Offerings in Pana Sankantranti
The special offerings are made to Shalagram, Shivalinga, Lord Hanuman, and other deities. The temples of Adi Shakti Tara Tarini (Sthana Pitha) near Berhampur, Odisha in Ganjam, Cuttack Chandi, Biraja, Samaleswari temple and Sarala become crowded, which is called Jhaamu Yatra.
Naming of Pana Sannkranti
In Northern Odisha, Pana Sankranti is called Chadak Parva. In Southern Odisha the day is celebrated as the end of month-long Danda Nata, and the final ceremony is known as Meru Yatra. Like famous Tuesdays in the Month of Chaitra lakhs of devotees gather at Tara Tarini Adi Shakti Pitha on this day because this is one of the auspicious days during the famous Chaitra Parva at the shrine of Tara Tarini Adi Shakti Pitha. The people from all over the state of Odisha worship Lord Hanumana on this day and celebrate it as his birthday. The people enjoy Chhatua and Bel Pana with great pleasure.
Danda Nacha of Odisha
Danda Nacha or Danda Nata of Odisha is a tribal way of welcoming the New Year in Odhisha, which begins with the month of Vaishakh also known as the Danda Jatra, happens to be one amongst the most ancient form of histrionic arts of the state. The opening ritual of Danda nacha begins in the middle of Chaitra (March-April). Danda Nacha is dedicated to Goddess Kali . This is one kind of group spiritual event or festival that invokes the blessings of Goddess Kali and Lord Shiva or Mahadeva. The people believe in to participate in Danda Nacha which means to reduce sin and bad period in life and harvest happiness and peace in life. Danda Nacha goes pretty for 13 days. The end of 13th day is called Meru Sankranti or Pana Sankranti in Odisha.