Saturday, 15 November 2014

Prathamastami - Festival Of Odisha

Incredible India has some incredible festivals.
Odisha, a state of India, has some unique & interesting festivals.

Today is the eighth day in the Odia month of Margashira (8 days after Kartik Purnima). It is celebrated as Prathamastami. (Prathama means first & Astami means eighth day)

Prathamastami is celebrated in Odisha for the wellness, long-life & prosperity of the first-born or eldest child in a family. Gender is not an issue, qualification needed is one has to be the first-born child of her/his parents!

First-borns have some special privileges and are entrusted extra responsibilities in India. Being the eldest has its perks too - rewarded with extra “share” called the “Jyeshta-bhaga” (Part/share of the eldest).

Prathamastami makes the siblings jealous when the eldest sibling gets the attention & new clothes! Who doesn’t want new clothes, good food & special treatment?
Their argument- Why should the first-borns have all the fun? ;)
In some families of 4-5 members, where both the parents happen to be the first-born, a majority in the family is first-born! They celebrate Parthamastami for all their kids so that the younger ones don’t cry or feel left out! 

Worship to Gods like Sathi/Shasthi Devi & Lord Ganesha & family deity is crucial as they protect children. Prayers for well-being & to avoid malignant health issues.

The first-borns wear new clothes gifted by their maternal grandparents/uncle. The first-borns, dressed in new, are honored amidst chanting of mantras & arati/dwipa (lighted lamp) by the elderly ladies- grandmother/mother.

Kheer (Indian dessert) called Kheeri/Khiri in Odia, is also prepared along with a special type of Pitha. The Gods are offered first and then after the first-born has, it's open for all! Then, no one feels left out!
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Haladi Patra ; Pic with permission from- Saswat K Swain
The whole family and visitors get treated with yummy Enduri Pitha – preparation of Ural Dal (Black Gram) & Rice with a sweet filling made of coconut & sugar/jaggery. As the said Pitha is set inside turmeric leaves & steam-baked, it’s also called Haladi Patra Pitha (In Odia language, Patra means leaf & Haladi means Turmeric)

Those Odias, who are away from their parents/elders, find themselves yearning for this...

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Enduri Pitha ; Pic with permission from- Saswat K Swain
This Festival is not celebrated in some families of Odisha viz. it’s not there in my paternal grandmother’s place. When I inquired why it was so, Mom explained perhaps in one of the previous generations in our family, an eldest child had accidentally passed away, and hence the family stopped the celebrations. But, the abstaining still continues and the later generations have missed it..

As the first-born of my parents, I didn’t get to be a part of the customary celebrations. However, Mom made the Pithas pretty often and bought new clothes to more than compensate!

As the festival is there in my hubby’s family, my father-in-law insisted that even I ought to wear new clothes and start celebrating. I do now & my daughter, my only child, also gets to celebrate.  

In the age of globalization, people the world over are adopting & celebrating many more events and festivals that were initially not a part of the local culture.
Did our elders in India have “cake” to celebrate their birthdays? My parents didn’t! Celebrations were in the traditional way. But, now birthday-cakes are a must!
Even festivals like Dhanteras, Karwa Chauth, Halloween, Diwali to name a few, have attracted many more new “followers”. 

I feel- if we like some thing, it’s fine to accept, adopt it for use & also popularize it so that many can be aware of and join in the celebrations.

Happy Prathamastami! Best wishes to all the first-borns, irrespective of regional locations! 


Are you the first-born child in your family? Do you have a similar festival in your family/home-state? Are you aware if such a festival is celebrated in any other state/country? Please share & make us aware! 


Linking with Three Word Wednesday- Crucial, Malignant, Yearning

Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers

40 comments:

  1. nicely described and informative too, i like it

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  2. honestly, I have a certain liking for Oriyas as I find them simple and honest to the core. Some of the people I really admire (for values) are Oriyas :)

    Nice and informative post! I did not know u r an Oriya too :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Ankita :)
      I feel the same too. But, Odias do pay a high cost for their simplicity and honesty in this world...
      Glad when the right values are valued!

      Yes, I am an Odia & hence a proud recipient of your lovely comment :)

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  3. Thanks for sharing such a delightful festival! India is indeed a land of festivals. :)

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    1. Yes Kiran! There's so much we get to learn! I'm amazed :)

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  4. This is very interesting and unique. I had no clue about this festival. I should let my sister know who is a first-born. :)

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    1. That's nice, Rachna!
      Yes, even I feel this festival is unique. But, with incredible India one is never sure! That's why I shared this and requested info via comments if anyone is aware of a similar ritual.
      Best wishes to your sister & you :)

      Delete
  5. Thanks.We get to eat similar delicacy 'ilai adai' a specialty in Kerala.Nice description of the festival.

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    1. That's a food specialty similarity then :) Is it also prepared in Turmeric leaves?
      Glad you liked it :)

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  6. Very nice to hear it...write more about uniqueness of Oriya land..fully agreed with Ankita.:)

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    1. Thanks for reading & for commenting :)
      The state of Odisha has many unique festivals that many aren't aware...
      Sharing the info & facts about Odisha's uniqueness will help.
      Delighted that you too share Ankita's views :)

      Delete
  7. Happy Prathamastami, Anita! Thanks for letting us know about this Odia Festival. :)

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    1. Thanks for your wishes, Ravish :) Glad to share :)

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  8. An informative and well written post Anita...thanks for sharing with us... :-)

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    1. Delighted you liked it, Mani. My pleasure :)

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  9. Nice info. Good to know. Thanks for the article. Keep sharing :-)

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    1. Thanks for reading & sharing your thoughts, Paresh :) Glad you liked it!

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  10. Incredible India has incredible festivals. Right said. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Avik :) My pleasure!

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  11. Wow! This is new to me. A great tradition to be followed and preserved.

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    1. Thanks Indrani for sharing your thoughts :)
      Yes, even I feel great traditions must be followed and preserved so that everyone gets to celebrate.

      Delete
  12. Good article. Should find a place in Wikipedia. You cud add a pic of the haldi-pitha being savoured.

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    1. Thanks for your appreciation.

      Prathamastami & Enduri Pitha are very much there in Wikipedia. Wikipedia has a lot of info. The fact is we don't try to access info from it, unless we come across a specific term & attempt to know more or find more info.

      Pic of the Haladi Pitha being savored is an excellent idea :)
      Problem is one is so busy & happy eating that one forgets to click pics as has happened with me in the past several years!!! Next time will keep it in mind :)

      Delete
  13. Replies
    1. Thanks for your wishes, Sureshji :)

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  14. Great info...I am the elder one in my home :)

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    1. Prathamastami wishes for you, Bhawya :)
      Be blessed!

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  15. Anita. thanks for sharing bout Prathamastami with us, it's something I was not aware about:)

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    1. Thanks for reading, Vishal :)
      I feel we all should share info & access the info shared so that we all become aware.
      Positive comments & reception motivate us to continue information sharing :)

      Delete
  16. Thanks for sharing interesting information about Oriya festival Anita!

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    1. Glad you found it interesting, Uppalji :)

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  17. Excellent post! Proud 2 b Odia! Do keep sharing more abt Odisha's unique culture! :)

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement & support, Amrita :)
      Yes, we must share info so that all are aware...

      Delete
  18. How interesting..... Very informative post Anita.....Lovely post dear....:)

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    1. Glad you found this interesting & informative, Priyashi :D
      Thanks!

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  19. Thanks for promoting our unique festival.I Didnt get the conclussion that illai adai of kerala is similar with enduri pitha or not.

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  20. Thanks for promoting our unique festival.I Didnt get the conclussion that illai adai of kerala is similar with enduri pitha or not.

    ReplyDelete

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