Pakhala Divas - A unique festival of Odisha

Being from Odisha and being raised in a different state, I have always been curious about my ground culture and traditions. One of such interesting festival celebrated in Odisha is Pakhala Divas. The article will discuss more about its History, Significance & celebration of Pakhala Divas in Odisha.

Pakhala Divas is a unique festival celebrated in the eastern state of Odisha, India. It is celebrated on March 20th every year, marking the beginning of summer in the state. The festival is dedicated to Pakhala, a traditional dish made of rice, water, and curd.

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History of Pakhala Divas

The history of Pakhala Divas dates back to ancient times when Odisha was ruled by the Kalinga dynasty. During those times, Pakhala was a staple food for farmers and laborers who used to work in the scorching heat. The dish is prepared by mixing cooked rice with water and sour curd and kept overnight. This process allows the rice to ferment and gives it a unique taste and aroma.

The tradition of celebrating Pakhala Divas started in the 1990s when a group of social activists in Odisha came together to revive the traditional food culture of the state. They realized that the younger generation was losing interest in traditional dishes and were adopting western food habits. To promote traditional food habits, they organized the first Pakhala Divas in 1992.

Significance of Pakhala Divas

Pakhala Divas has significant cultural and social significance in Odisha. It is celebrated to promote the traditional food culture of the state and to create awareness among the younger generation about the health benefits of traditional food. Pakhala is a healthy dish that is rich in probiotics, which is beneficial for the digestive system. It also helps to keep the body hydrated during the scorching summer heat.

The festival also promotes the sense of community and togetherness. People in the state come together to share the meal with their friends and family, and it is a symbol of unity and brotherhood. It is also an occasion to express gratitude towards farmers and laborers who work hard to provide us with food.

Celebration of Pakhala Divas

Pakhala Divas is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor in Odisha. People prepare Pakhala in their homes and offer it to their friends and family members. They also distribute the dish to the poor and needy. In many parts of the state, restaurants and food joints offer free Pakhala to the public on this day.

Several cultural programs and events are also organized to mark the occasion. People dress up in traditional attire and participate in cultural activities such as folk dances and songs. The festival also includes competitions and games, including cooking competitions, pakhala-eating competitions, and quiz competitions related to traditional food culture.

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