Pana Sankranti

During the time of Pana Sankranti, the sun moves to the Mesha Rashi and stays just at the equator. It is therefore called "Mahabishubha Sankranti or Meru Sankranti."

On this day, Odia people celebrate New year. This day also mentions the beginning of the summer season. A small earthen pot is hung on the top of the Tulsi plant, and Pana (a drink) is offered to the deities.

In order to save themselves from the heat of summer, the Tulsi plant is covered with Chamundia (an umbrella made of leaves) to provide shade. A small hole is made on the pot through which the liquid flows to the plant in the form of drops. This pot is refilled every day for the entire month.

During this month, to save people from the furious temperature of the Sun, there are several roadside tents where people come forward to distribute water and drinks. Since the drink called Pana is served during these days, it is therefore known as Pana Sankranti.

The Pana is made by mixing sugar or jaggery with water. To it is added Wood Apple, Banana, ripe mangoes, grated coconut, cottage cheese, curd, milk, and black pepper. Some people also add some amount of hemp paste to it.

In old scriptures, this Sankranti is described as Jala Sankranti. It is believed that in Mahabharata when Bhisma Pitamaha laid on the bed of arrows for 18 days and asked for water to quench his thirst. It was then that Arjun shot an arrow and a stream of water started flowing. Bhisma Pitamaha drank water from this stream and this day is believed to be Pana Sankranti. After this incident, he blessed the Pandavas saying that any man who would quench someone's thirst during this period will be forgiven of all sins and will also forgive their forefathers of all sins.

Some other festivals also related to this Sankranti are Jamu Jatra, Hingula Jatra, Baseli Puja, and Chaiti Ghoda dance. These festivals are celebrated sometime around Pana Sankranti and are widely famous in the Coastal and Southern Odisha.

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