Bhubaneswar: One of the most popular festivals of Odisha, Prathamastami celebrates the life and prosperity of the firstborn child of the family.
Prathamastami is a rite held in Odisha and parts of south-western West Bengal.
The celebration falls on the dark half eighth day – Ashtami – of the month of Margasira according to the Odia calendar, occurring after the eight day of Kartik Purnima.
The ritual involves Aarati of the eldest child by mother and relatives in which the maternal uncle sends the items necessary for the rituals, and Ganesha, Shashti devi and the family deity are worshipped. The main delicacy of the day is Enduri Pitha.
This day is also known as Saubhagini Ashtami, Kaal Bhairav Ashtami and Paap-nashini Ashtami.
Rituals of Prathamastami:
Before the first-borns get honoured, the mother and all other elderly women of the family offer all the prepared cuisine (Pitha and Khiri) to Sathi Devi first. Then they light the lamp (Arati with Dwipa) before the Goddess. Followed by this the first-borns get honoured.
Social Significance :
The social significance of this festival is that the first-borns are brighter and it is ultimately they who take up the burden of the family after the death of the parents. According to psychologists, the first-borns are mostly healthy, obedient and tradition-bound.
Therefore, the family tradition is maintained through them. For such obvious reasons the eldest child is honoured to occupy the respectable place in the family and it is he who maintains the heredity.