Pana Sankranti: Odia New Year Today

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Bhubaneswar: Maha Vishuba Sankranti also known as Pana Sankranti, marks the dawn of New Year in Odisha.

In the Odia tradition, the Pana Sankranti is believed to be the birthday of the Hindu deity Hanuman, whose loving devotion to Vishnu avatar Rama in Ramayana is legendary. His temples, along with those of Shiva and Surya (sun god) are revered on the new year. Hindus also visit Devi (goddess) temples on Pana Sankranti.

On this day, religious people get up early in the morning and take sankranti buda (bath) in nearby rivers/ponds. Standing in knee deep water they worship Surya reciting Gayatri mantra. Some perform homa (worship before fire). They spend the day visiting temples Many keep upabasha (fast) while others take simple vegetarian food.

“Pana”, the drink is extremely healthy and helps to keep the body cool. Pana Sankranti, like all other new year festivals, is the celebration of the end of the old year and the beginning of new. People pray to God at the beginning of the year so that the new year brings joy and happiness to everyone’s life.

In northern part of the state, Tribal people observe it as Meru yatra where in devotees pierce their body parts with sharp iron rods and move red hot ember as a penance. On this day, the fisherman community all over the state end their Chaiti festival. Hanuman Jayanti (birthday of Hanuman) is also observed on this day and temples are full of devotees. The tribals spend the day with great festivities, feasting drinking and dancing.

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