Odisha celebrates Pana Sankranti or Maha Visubha Sankranti today, Know significance

Bhubaneswar: Odisha is celebrating Pana Sankranti, also nown as ‘Maha Vishuba Sankranti,’ ‘Maha Sankranti,’ and ‘Mesha Sankranti’ today. Pana Sankranti is a festival that is extensively celebrated across Odisha as the Odia New Year. Traditionally, Pana Sankranti is believed to be the birthday of Lord Hanuman.

The significance of the day is that Panji or the new Odia calendar is introduced which is an almanac of Hindu festivals and contains the dates of festivals, auspicious days and timings, timings of sunrise and sunset along with horoscopes for the year.

As per legends, Pana Sankranti is named after ‘Pana,’ a type of summer drink that is being prepared for ages in Odisha’s traditional culture. The locals enjoy the essence of having Pana with Chhatua. Other types of this beverage include Bela Pana, made with a mixture of milk, spices, sugar, and various fruits. Thereafter, this sweet-sour drink is garnished with Chhenaa and Nadia Kora (coconut gratings).

Hanging an earthen pot over a Tulsi plant is a significant custom that is still observed across Odisha. This ritual is called ‘Hanging of Basundhara Theki’. However, during this festival, a blade of grass is inserted into the hole made at the bottom of the pot.

After this, the earthen pot is hung over a tulsi plant and is filled with a mixture of water and “Pana”. Water from the pot keeps dripping on the tulsi plant, further to ensure that the water should continue to fall, the pot is filled with fresh water each day.

This ritual is performed at every household across the state. This tradition is performed to welcome the rainy season, on the other hand, people associate this practice to protect the tulsi plant from the scorching sun.

There is another prominent tradition connected to Pana Sankranti, which is called Danda Jatra. The devotees who vow during these festivities are called ‘Bhoktas’ or ‘Danduas’. Only males are allowed to have the ‘brata’ or ‘vow.’

By the end of the day,  the ‘Danduas’ complete their brata by performing several painful practices like walking on fire, sharp swords, piercing nails, or putting poisonous snakes around their neck as garlands.

Also Read: Servitors To Check Entry Of Non-Hindus Into Puri Jagannath Temple

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