Pana Sankranti - Beginning of Odia New Year

Pana Sankranti, also known as Maha Vishuba Sankranti, is a festival celebrated in the Indian state of Odisha to mark the beginning of the Odia New Year. The festival falls on the first day of the Hindu month of Baisakh (usually around April 14th). The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and zeal across the state. The main highlight of the festival is the preparation and consumption of a traditional drink called 'Pana'. Pana is made from ingredients like water, milk, curd, sugar, and crushed fruits. It is believed to have cooling properties and is offered to Lord Jagannath in the Jagannath temple in Puri.

On the day of Pana Sankranti, people wake up early in the morning and take a bath before heading to the temple to offer prayers to Lord Jagannath. They then return home and prepare the Pana drink. The drink is then distributed to family members, friends, and neighbors as a sign of goodwill and brotherhood. Another important aspect of the festival is the decoration of houses and streets with colorful Rangolis and Alpanas. Women dress up in traditional sarees and adorn themselves with jewelry. They also participate in community activities like singing and dancing.

In rural areas, the festival is celebrated with the worship of the village deity. The village headman, known as the Sarpanch, leads the villagers in offering prayers to the deity. This is followed by community feasting and cultural programs.

In some parts of Odisha, a unique tradition called 'Chariot pulling' is observed on Pana Sankranti. A small wooden chariot is constructed and decorated with flowers and leaves. The chariot is then pulled through the streets by the villagers. It is believed that pulling the chariot brings good luck and prosperity.

The festival of Pana Sankranti is also a time for introspection and reflection. People take stock of their past year and make resolutions for the new year. It is a time to forgive and forget past grievances and start afresh. Pana Sankranti is an important festival for the people of Odisha. It is a time to celebrate the new year, offers prayers to the deities, and come together as a community. The festival is characterized by the consumption of the Pana drink, the decoration of houses and streets, community feasting, and cultural programs. It is a time to renew bonds and start anew.

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