Why Odisha Celebrates Prathamastami

Bhubaneswar: Prathamastami is a popular festival of Odisha. It is celebrated for the prosperity and long-life of the firstborn of every household. Prayer is offered to protect the child from all kinds of evils. On this occasion, the eldest child of the family is honoured with new clothes and a special sweet dish, enduri pitha.

This prominent festival of Odisha is celebrated on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha during the month of Margashira.

It is essentially the observance of the long life and well-being of the eldest child. This day is a traditional festival in Odisha and also goes by the name of ‘Paruha Ashtami’ in the local language. On this day, the eldest child’s long life is prayed for, and Shashthi Devi is worshipped. On this occasion, she is also referred to as the ‘Jyestha Devi.’

Prathamastami depends on the social belief that it is the oldest child who needs to take care of the family after the demise of the guardians and it is he who needs to proceed with the family custom. The reason behind choosing the eldest child is as per the tradition that it is he who will be the caretaker of the family after the death of the parents.

Special cake called Enduri or Haladi Patra Pitha, a rice cake filled with sweet stuffing and wrapped in green leaves of turmeric plant before being steamed is made as an offering and is distributed. The cake is first offered to Sasthi Devi, who is the protector of children and then distributed to near and dear ones.

Prathma Ashtami is recognised as people’s festival in Odisha in the 14 century. Also, during this time, the yield of good crops are noticed. And as a result of the good harvest, the farmers feel very fortunate and consider this their best time of the year. This celebration is evident that every traditional festival of Odisha holds some relativity with prosperity and goodwill.

In the temples, the deities are adorned with new clothes on this day. Lord Balabhadra is Puri Srimandir is worshipped on this day. The deities in the Lingaraj temple, especially Varubheshareshwar, are taken to the Manikarnika Ghat on this day. The eldest daughter, in the form of ‘Bhargavi’ or ‘Mahalakshmi,’ is considered to be present on this day, and is worshipped and offered prayers by devotees and gurus.


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