Sunday 1 January 2023

Samba Dashami - Unique Festival of Odisha

Today is Samba Dashami.

It is a unique festival of Odisha, India. 

Samba Dashami is celebrated on the 10th day of the Shukla Paksha of Pausha Masa i.e. during the waxing phase of moon in the Odia calendar Pausha month (December – January) tithi.

Konark Stone Carving- Sun God
Source: Wikipedia

The date varies as per the tithi.

Last year, in 2022, Samba Dashami was on January 12th.

This year, in 2023, the tithi is today- January 1st. 

Prayers are offered to Sun God.

It may be noted that “Kumar Purnima” is another unique festival of Odisha where Moon God is worshipped.

On Samba Dashami, women pray to the Sun God for the health and good life of their children.

Tasty Odia food with traditional dishes are prepared. 

Why Sun God? 

Science treats Sun as a star.

In our culture, Sun is much more.

Sun is a God- Sun God.

Sun is called- Surya in Hindi & Surjya in Odia.

God- Deba or Debata.

Surjya Debata showers His grace on all. 

One of the factors on why life on Planet Earth has been possible is- because we receive the right power of the Sun, and thus we are powered by the Sun and are truly empowered.

Had our planet been closer or farther, we would perhaps not enjoy the status we do now. 

The story behind the Samba Dasami celebration: 

Samba, the son of Shree Krishna and Jambavati, was afflicted by leprosy owing to a curse by Sage Durvasa.

After the latter's advice, Samba did penance for Sun God at Chandrabhaga, Konark, for 12 years. 

Surjya Debata showed mercy and cured Samba completely. 

Even today, many Odias and others visit Chandrabhaga, Konark, and offer prayers. 

Childhood Memories

I have many memories of Samba Dashami celebration.

When I was small, I remember all members of our joint family- cousins, aunts, uncles etc used to congregate on the terrace in my grandparents’ place at Brahmapur, and used to offer prayers and soak in the solar energy. My grandmother and mother insisted us to roll over on the “gantha”- handmade mats spread on the terrace.

We enjoyed the prayers, rituals and “sun-bathing”.

Vitamin From Sun

Science states that we get Vitamin-D from the Sun.

Exposure to Sun is essential.

During Covid and as a fallout of the pandemic, we had to stay indoors and spend maximum time staying at home. Thus, Vitamin-D deficiency was diagnosed for many owing to lesser outing and minimal contact with the Sun. 

Nutrition and Tradition

In our culture, worship of Sun and exposure to Sun is part of our tradition.

Food forms a smart association.

My mother used to diligently pray and observe Samba Dashami.

She used to prepare dishes such as Khechudi, Budha Chakuli, Ghudughudia tarkari etc and offer them to Surjya Debata. 

Some celebrate it only in the morning. 

While offerings are served three times by some families -

1. At Dawn  5:30 AM 🕠 

2. Madhyanna - 12:30 PM 🕧 

3. Sandhya - 5:30 PM 🕠 

A specific variety of food item is offered to Sun God in the name of and on behalf of each member of the family, especially kids.

Thinking of this, I feel this special offering and connection is a safety blessing for sure with a mother’s love and trust and Sun God’s invocation and power. 🙏

Mothers always want a great, healthy and long life for their children and take great pains to ensure this.

What are festivals without food? 

Each festival has its own specialties & rituals.

Pithas like Manda, Kakara, Muduka, Podapitha, Bara, etc and Mitha and other desserts and treats like Rasagola, Khiri, Muan, Gaintha etc are also prepared and offered. 

All dishes in the pics have been prepared by my sister-in-law, Sradhasree. 

A variety of fruits like Banana, Apple, Orange, Guava etc are also offered.

All the offerings are of course enjoyed by all family-members - both young and old.

Fine celebration to get all the necessary nutrition: 

  • Tradition & rituals
  • Love, care & attention
  • Solar energy 
  • Devotion & offering
  • Great food & treat
  • Lifetime memories

Children learn what they see and are taught. 

Did we buy and cut cake 🎂 and celebrate “January 1st - Happy New Year” today?


Did we observe Samba Dashami festival, prayed to Surjya Debata, and celebrated with our traditional Odia food and Pitha and Mitha? 

The choice and responsibility is always ours.

Extra images and information in this blog post about our celebration last year in 2022- 

Samba Dashami- Festival of Odisha

Did you know about Samba Dashami? 

Please share in the comments below.

1 comment:

Your words mean a lot to me.

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