Monday, April 14, 2014

Best Wishes to all on the eve of Odia Nava Barsha on the day of Maha Vishuva Sankranti

Dear Comrades,

Pana Sankranti (Oriya: ପଣା ସଂକ୍ରାନ୍ତି), (Hindi: पणा संक्रांति) or Maha Vishuva Sankranti(Sanskrit:Maha Vishuva Sankramana), also known as Mesha Sankranti and Pana Sankranti, is celebrated as the Odia New Year.

The day marks the beginning of the New Year in the traditional Hindu Solar Calendar. On this day the sun enters the sidereal Aries or Mesha Rashi. It generally falls on 14/15 April. The spring season is at its zenith during this period, and the summer is approaching. The date is calculated as per Sidereal astrology.

Maha Vishuva Sankranti is similar to the New Year festivals observed elsewhere in India such as Baisakhi (Punjab), Bihu (Assam), Juir Sheetal (Mithila), Naba Barsha (Bengal), Bisu Parba (Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka), Vishu (Kerala), and Puthandu (Tamil Nadu).


Astrological basis

There are specific reasons as to why the Vishuva Sankranti is considered as the first day of the solar year. On only two occasions around year, Mesha Sankramana and Tula Sankramana, the Sun fully rests on the equator. On these two dates, the length of days and nights are equal. But in case of a sidereal zodiac, as used in Indian solar calendars, it has no connection with the equinoxes. Hence, the length of the Indian solar calendars is longer than the actual tropical solar year. The odia solar month of Mesha starts from this day.

Difference from lunar calendar

Although people of Odisha calculate the month from the next day of Purnima to Purnima, as per the North Indian Purnimanta system, the yearly cycle of the moon is less than 365 days of earth's rotation, and some years also contain Adhika Maasa. Therefore, the new year is calculated from the day of Mesha Sankramana to fix a particular day. The Odia New Year is calculated from the day of Sankramana, whereas the neighbouring state of Bengal celebrates Pohela Boishakh on the next day of Sankramana.


basundhara theki(a small pot) in Maha Vishuva Sankranti
On this particular day, a small pot filled with pana or a sweet drink of Mishri and water is hung on a basil (Tulsi) plant. There is a hole at the bottom of this pot which allows the water to fall from the pot, representing rain. The flour of horse gram chhatua, along with banana and curd, is consumed by the people of Odisha after offering it to the Tulsi plant.[6] Special offerings are made to Shalagram, Shivalinga, Hanuman, and other deities. The devi temples of Adi Shakti Tara Tarini (Sthana Pitha) near Berhampur city in Ganjam Cuttack Chandi, Biraja, Samaleswari temple and Sarala become crowded, which is called Jhaamu Yatra. In Northern Odisha it is called Chadak Parva. In Southern Odisha the day is celebrated as the end of month-long Danda nata, and the final ceremony is known as Meru Yatra. Like famous Tuesdays in the Month of Chaitra lakhs of devotees gather at Tara Tarini Adi Shakti Pitha on this day because this is one of the auspicious days during the famous Chaitra Yatra at the Shrine. People all over the state worship Hanuman on this day and celebrate it as his birthday. People enjoy chhatua and Bel Pana with great pleasure.

Main festival of Vishuva Sankranti

The Worshiped deity, Kali in Danda Nacha celebrated in Odisha
Danda Nacha or Danda Nata of Odisha is a tribal way of welcoming the New Year which begins with the month of Vaishakh also known as the Danda Jatra, happens to be one amongst the most ancient form of histrionic arts of the state. The opening ritual of Danda nacha begins in the middle of Chaitra (March–April.[7] Danda Nacha is dedicated to Goddess Kali.[8] This is one kind of group spiritual event or festival invokes the blessings of Goddess Kali and Lord Shiva. People believe that participate in Danda Nacha means reduce sin and bad period in life and harvest happiness and peace in life. Danda Nacha goes pretty for 13 days. At end of 13 day, the day is called Meru Sankranti or Pana Sankranti in Odisha.[4][9] The participants in Danda Nacha are undergone rigorous difficult training phase in these 13 days and become full vegetarian i. e. they avoid eating meat, fish, onion and garlic or accepted only vegetarian (fast) food during this period.
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