Maha Vishuba Sankranti or Pana Sankranti – Odia New Year

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panaMaha Vishuba Sankranti or Pana Sankranti is also known as Mesha Sankranti. It is on this day that Sun enters the sign Libra. The Odia community celebrates New year on the occasion. A sweet concoction known as pana is prepared and distributed among one and all. (Pana is prepared by mixing different types of fruits, water, milk, pulp of bela, curd and sugar). Poetry reading sesions and literary functions are also organised this day.

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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 Orissa after offering it to the Tulsi plant.

Special offerings are made to Shalagram, Shivalinga, Hanuman, and other deities. The devi temples of Cuttack Chandi, Biraja, Samaleswari temple and Sarala become crowded, which is called Jhaamu Yatra.

In Northern Orissa it is called Chadak Parva. In Southern Orissa the day is celebrated as the end of month-long Danda nata, and the final ceremony is known as Meru Yatra. 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.

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