About Rath yatra of Orissa
Rath yatra with the other name car festival has derived its name from the words Rath, meaning Chariot, and Yatra, meaning Procession. Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, enshrined in Jagannath temple , Puri also known as Srimandira is the holy place for celebrating Rath yatra. The temple attracts devotees from different parts of India. As per the oriya calender in Ashadha month (June - July),Rath Yatra is a 3 km journey to the Gundicha Temple where Lord Jagannath's aunt resides. The three superb designed Chariot carries the deities to the Gundicha temple which is pulled by the pilgrims through out 3 km. After a staying of 9 days in Gundicha temple, the return procession arrives. The respective name of three chariot(Raths) of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra are Nandighose, Taldwaja, and Devadalan. The three chariots consists of 18,16 and 14 wheels respectively. The temple priests (pandas) carry out the deities from the temple on to the chariot. The holy procession only starts after sweeping the chariots by Gajapati (the ceremonial King of Puri). The ropes of the huge chariots are pulled by millions of devotees. In the ancient times, devotees would occasionally throw themselves in front of the chariot of Sri Jagananath, with believing that to be crushed to death under its sixteen wheels was to go straight to heaven. The most prominent observation in this festival is the quality construction and cloth design of chariots.The process of renewal of the body known as Nava Kalebara , is one of the great secrets of the world performed by distinguished temple priests. This is a grand festival ever known in worldwide.
About Makara sankranti of Orissa
Orissa celebrates a festival on the basis of the movement of sun called makara sankranti , when Sun make his outset towards north pole and this type of movement of sun is called Uttarayana Gati. Oriya people gather for it in the first day of oriya month magha. In the districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh, it is observed as the most important festival of the year. The festival celebrated all over South-India is Pongal in their own custom. A special variety of Bhog prepared with raw-rice, molasses, coconut, chhena (cheese), honey and milk etc. is called makara chaula is offered to sun. According to the Sun's movement, the days from this day onwards become lengthy and warmer and so the Sun-God is worshipped as a great benefactor. People prepare for it from the early. The houses are cleaned properly and all dressed up new . In this day people take the new harvested food. In the districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh where the tribal population is more, the time of the festival is best suited for them as all agricultural operations are over by that time and each family possess something after the harvest. The whole day is engaged with feasting and merry-making. Various sports are also organized in some villages of Orissa. Various types of sweet cake are made at every house hold. In the puri jaganaath temple it is celebrated as Uttarayana Yatra. This festival brings a new glory to every family.
About Pana sankranti of Orissa
Pana Sankranti with other name Vishuva Sankranti falls on 14th april in every year. It is celebrated as Hindu new year. This festival brings great fun to oriya people. A special type of fruit juice with curd called pana is made at every household. It is first given to basil (Tulsi) plant for worship and then distributed to neighbour. Many pana stalls are made at road side. Basically Oriya people worship Lord Hanuman to save from fire and air. A special type of performance called Danda nata is performed continuously from Chaitra Purnima up to Pana sankranti. This performance is very much entertaining under straight sun light. Many religious treatise indicate that if Lord Shiva is invoked during this period of the year, the earth is blessed with good harvest; increase of wealth and all round improvement of the families and communities occur.
About Savitri brata of Orissa
Savitri Amabasya Festival is celebrated in the day of Hindu month of Jyestha(June) when moon is not seen. It is the festival for all married oriya women for the well-being of their husband. The Brata has been named after Savitri who was the beautiful daughter of king Aswapati of Madra Desa. Satyavan was her life's partner, a prince in exile who living in the forest with his blind father Dyumatsen. Savitri had brought back her husband Satyavan by doggedly pleading with the God of Death, Yama. A book of their story is read by the oriya married women in first day of this festival. Various types of cakes are made in this festival. Women fast on this day for the long life of their husbands. In the early morning the women take purificatory bath and wear new clothes, new bangles and apply vermilion on the forehead and the hair-parting line. In the afternoon when all formalities of worship are over they bow low to their respective husbands and elderly people. In deep regards to Savitri all Hindu women observe this festival worshiping and propitiating her as a 'Devi'. This festival shows a holy dedication of all oriya women to their husbands.
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