Cuttack: Odisha celebrates 13 festivals in 12 months (baramasa re tera parba). Kumar Purnima is one of the 13 festivals that is celebrated all over Odisha with great pomp and show.
Sharad Purnima, also known as Kumar Purnima, is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Ashwina, between October-November. This autumn festival is one of the most popular and important festivals of Odisha.
Kumar or Kartikeya, the handsome Son of Shiva was born on this day. He also became the God of war. Young girls perform traditional rituals praying for a perfect life partner like Kumar or Kartikeya, Kumar Purnima marks the end of the month of Ashwini in Hindu calendar and the beginning of the month of Kartika.
It also marks the beginning of the 11 days of Gajalaxmi Puja across the state.
In this festival, young girls perform traditional rituals praying for a perfect life partner like Kumar or Kartikeya, who is termed as the most handsome among all the Gods.
Morning ritual, ‘Anjula Teka’
The kumaries wake up before sun rise, bathe and get dressed to perform ‘Anjula Teka’ ritual.
The girls wear new clothes and offer a palmful of prasad including ‘Khai’, ‘Janhi’ (striped gourd), cucumber, banana, coconut, betel nut to sun, which is called ‘Anjuli’.
Evening ritual, ‘Chanda Puja’
Evening ritual is almost the same as those performed in morning except ‘Chanda chakata’, which is offered to the moon.
The girls wait for the moon and raise the ‘Chanda chakata’ to the moon. It is believed that if the girls will seefresh moon and offer ‘Chanda Chakata’, they will get a young and attractive husband. They use Khai, Ukhuda, jiggery, sugarcane, banana, Chhena (cottage cheese) and talasaja to prepare the prasad.
The girls lay out the prasad on a plate in the shape of half moon and then offered to the moon.