Odisha is renowned to have numerous festivals bringing together people of common faith and devotion. Osa (fasting) and brata (votive tales) are integral to Odia festivities too.

Pana Sankranti

The Odia festive calendar begins with Pana Sankranti, also known as Visuva Sankranti, a significant day as sun goes to the equator and the duration of day and night becomes equal. A special sweet drink called Pana is offered to the Sun god and also kept on a basil plant in a pot with a small hole for the liquid to come out slowly symbolising rain and the commencement of the cultivation cycle.


 AkshayTrutiya symbolises the ceremonial sowing of paddy in the agricultural field. This day is supposed to be very auspicious for any construction activities as the construction of the chariots for the famous RathYatra begins from this day

Raja Parba

Raja Parba, a unique and one of the most popular festival that celebrates feminity, and as such girls are pampered in this three day festival with delicacies especially podapitha and betel leaf. It is believed that mother earth menstruates for the three days hence any digging or ploughing works on the field is prohibited.

Kumar Purnima

Kumar Purnima is celebrated by unmarried girls by offering prayers to the rising sun and again in the evening to the rising full moon. The special offering to God, khailia(fried paddy flakes) are then distributed among families and friends. The month of Kartik is considered sacred amongst Hindus and the last day of the month is Purnima and carries much significance for the people of Odisha.

Kartik Purnima

On Kartik Purnima they float miniature boats made out of banana stems and decorate it with lamps, betel nuts, flowers and float it on the water tank or river symbolising the historic voyage of their ancestors to South East Asian countries. In Kartik month people renounce non vegetarian food for the whole month and for those who cannot resist for the complete month the last five days called Panchuka are to be strictly adhered. The day after Kartik Purnima is to be celebrated by eating only non-vegetarian food, popularly known as Chadakhai.

Another Unique festival is the celebration of the well-being of the first born in the family, called Prathamasthami. The first born in the family is dressed in new clothes, offers prayers, feasted and blessed by family and friends.  Another revered festival is the ManabasaGurubara. Thursday is considered to be the day of goddess Lakshmi and by the month of Margasira, paddy in the agricultural fields are ready to be harvested. Thus goddess Lakshmi has to be thanked on every thursday of this month by the lady of the house. The goddess is represented by new paddy put in a Mana (grain measuring pot).


The most elaborate and widely popular festival is RathYatra, the car festival. The celebration is all about the annual visit of Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra to the Gundicha Temple in their respective cars. The return journey to their own abode is called BahudaYatra.

Another festival that is celebrated with devotion and joy is NuaKhai, which literally means eating the new or first harvested crops. It is an important social festival symbolising social bonding.

Some important fasting and Vratas include KhudurukuniOsa, SathiOsa, SudasaVrata and SavitriVrata