Each and every festival of Odisha is unique in its own way. The festivals reflect the rich culture and traditions of the state. One of such a festival, Kumar Purnima is special and distinct. Also known as Sharad Purnima or Kaumudi Purnima is basically a harvest festival, but in Odisha it marks the 11th day of Laxmi Pujan (Worshipping of Goddess Laxmi) as well as the birthday of God Kartikeya.
The son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, Kartikeya is highly handsome and every girl wishes to have a husband like him. So, the maidens observe a fast on this day and celebrate the rituals to get a husband as good as Kartikeya. The festival falls on the full moon day of Ashwin month of lunar calendar (September or October).
Maidens On A Roll
Kumaris (Adolescent girls) take much interest in the celebration of Kumar Purnima. As these maidens always wish for a prince like husband for themselves. They wake up too early, bathe and get dressed and go to the temple.
Anjuli Teka : The Initiation
Later they perform ‘Janhi Osha’ (a type of worshipping) in which the Sun is offered palmful of Khae (puffed rice grains) and Janhi (striped gourd), cucumber, banana, coconut, betel nut. Raising a palm full of these things is called as Anjuli Teka.
Chanda Chakata : Served To The Moon
Then, the maidens perform the Kumar Purnima Puja in which they enlighten diya and pray God to bless them with a charming husband in the future.
The same ritual is performed in the evening, but with ‘Chanda chakata’.
Made of is puffed rice and coconut Chanda Chakata is a sepcial type of Bhoga (an worshipping dish made of fruits). The full moon lighting the earth becomes the focus of the festival as the name suggests it as Purnima. Raising the Chanda Chakata to the moon, they pray for a husband as handsome and bright as the moon.
Puchi : Fun in the play
The Puchi dance is a type of folk dance in Odisha, often played during Kumar Purnima. The villagers keep alive the tradition of playing Puchi, Bohu Bohuka with the singing of traditional songs and lores. The events are organized under the bright moon light. Usually, girls only take part in the competitions. ‘Phula Baula Beni… . ‘ is a folk lore which is sung during the observation of the events. Girls dance in groups to the song.
Kumarostav : The Festive Occasion
The end of the day is also marked with a great festive event called Kumarostav. Often in villages and towns, people arrange competition based or melody based programmes to impact the night last long. Bhajan samarohas, dance comeptitions are also held at various places.
When it comes to delicacies, Odisha stands atop. A number of sweet dishes, Pithas, vegetarian dishes fill the plates of dinning table. Different flavours of food items prepared from rice, wheat, cheeze and many authentic ingredients rise the fervour of the festivals to a high standard. The celebration of Kumar Purnima is incomplete without preparing delicious food in house holds as well as offering to the Lords.
Significance and Other Things
Hardworking is human’s task and blessing all with food and cloth is of Maa Laxmi. When she is prayed, she blesses the devotee with wealth and prosperity. Kumar Purnima also marks the praying of Goddess Laxmi and is observed in the state with gaiety and enthusiasm.
In villages, as a part of tradition, people spend the night of Kumar Purnima with delighted heart and fun making. They engage themselves in various country-games. As the maidens play and dance, men also keep themselves awake for the whole night by playing Pashapali (a type of chess like game). Some people worship the Goddess at their homes. Significantly it suggests that those who wish to acquire wealth should always be vigilant at night.
The day after Kumar Purnima marks the starting of Kartika Month. For Odias, Kartika is an auspicious month. People leave exotic and nonveg food items for the complete month of Kartika which starts a day after Kumar Purnima. Some people consume a special dal dish called Habisha Dalma during the month. Worshipping Lord Jagannath and Lord Krisha is a costume in the month of Kartika.
Moreover, Kumar Purnima is a festival of ardour and tradition. Every festival in Odisha has a historical significance and rich tradition linked to it. Kumar Purnima is a way of celebrating the vigour of the one and only natural satellite of our mother earth, often described in mythologies as a symbol of beauty and diligence. Maidens in search of a suitable bridegroom, worship the moon observe the festival. In this way, the tradition is being carried forward since ancestors.