Pana Sankranti
Maha Bishuba Sankranti
Pana Sankranti (Maha Vishuba Sankranti) offerings with Bela Pana
Official namePana Sankranti, Maha Bishuba Sankranti, Odia Nua Barsa
Also calledMaha Bisuba Sankranti
Observed byOdias
TypeSocial, Cultural, Religious
SignificanceOdia New Year
CelebrationsMeru Jatra, Jhaamu Jatra, Chadak Parba
ObservancesPujas, processions, Bela Pana
Date1st Baisakha of Odia calendar
Related toSouth and Southeast Asian solar New Year

Pana Sankranti, (Odia: ପଣା ସଙ୍କ୍ରାନ୍ତି), also known as Maha Bishuba Sankranti (Odia: ମହା ବିଷୁବ ସଙ୍କ୍ରାନ୍ତି),[1][2][3] is the traditional new year day festival of Odia people in Odisha, India.[4][5][6] The festival occurs in the solar Odia calendar (the lunisolar Hindu calendar followed in Odisha) on the first day of the traditional solar month of Meṣa, hence equivalent lunar month Baisakha. This falls on the Purnimanta system of the Indian Hindu calendar.[3] It therefore falls on 13/14 April every year on the Gregorian calendar.[7]

The festival is celebrated with visits to Shiva, Shakti or Hanuman temples.[8] People take baths in rivers or major pilgrimage centers. Communities participate in mela (fairs), participate in traditional dance or acrobatic performances. Feasts and special drinks such as a chilled wood apple-milk-yoghurt-coconut drink called pana is shared, a tradition that partly is the source of this festival's name.[8][3]

Pana Sankranti is related to new year festivals in South and Southeast Asian solar New Year as observed by Hindus and Buddhists elsewhere such as Vaisakhi (north and central India, Nepal), Bohag Bihu (Assam), Pohela Boishakh (Bengal), Puthandu (Tamil Nadu) etc.[7][9]


In the Odia Hindu tradition, the Pana Sankranti is believed to be the birthday of the Hindu deity Hanuman, whose loving devotion Rama (seventh incarnation of Vishnu) in Ramayana is legendary. His temples, along with those of Shiva and Surya (sun god) are revered on the new year.[8][10]

Hindus also visit Devi (goddess) temples on Pana Sankranti. The temples include Taratarini Temple near Brahmapur, Odisha in Ganjam, Cuttack Chandi, Biraja Temple, Samaleswari temple and Sarala Temple. At Sarala Temple the priests walk on hot coals in the fire-walking festival, Jhaamu Yatra. At the Maa Patana Mangala Temple in Chhatrapada, Bhadrak, the Patua Yatra festival is held from 14 April to 21 April.[11] In Northern Odisha, the festival is known as Chadak Parva. In Southern Odisha, the Meru Yatra festival is celebrated as the end of the month-long danda nata dance festival. Thousands of devotees gather at the Shakti Pitha shrine in the Taratarini Temple because it is one of the auspicious days during the Chaitra Yatra.

The significance of the day is that the new Odia calendar or Panjika is also introduced which is an almanac of Hindu festivals and contains the dates of festivals, auspicious days and timings, timings of sunrise and sunset along with horoscopes for the year.[12][10]

Bela Pana

Bela Pana is a special festive sweet drink made from milk, ripe fruit of bel and spices, shared on Odia new year.

People from all over the state eat festive Chhatua and drink Bela Pana to mark the occasion.[13][14] The Bela Pana is prepared with Bael, chhena, grated coconut and fruits, spices like ginger and black pepper and sugar or jaggery.[12][10]

Basundhara theki

Basundhara theki

An important ritual observed during Pana Sankranti is Basundhara theki. A water filled earthen pot with a small hole at the end is placed at the top of the holy basil plant, so that water keeps dripping on the plant.[12]

Local celebrations

Main articles: Ghantapatua and Danda nata

Ghantapatuas are traditional male folk artistes from the Odisha that perform the art form "Jhama nata" during Pana Sankranti. They generally perform in a group of two or four wearing dresses that resemble women's clothing.

A group street performance on Pana Sankranti near the Lankeswari Temple, Sonepur, Odisha.
Danda nata, dedicated to the mother goddess starts on Pana Sankranti

Danda nata that is performed during this festival celebration is one of the most ancient forms of performance art of the region. The opening ritual begins in the middle of Chaitra (March – April). The performers, also known as Dandua, take dip in a village pond and walk/run over hot charcoals while performing the art. After performing danda nata they also perform jala danda by dipping themselves in deep water for a short while. These performances symbolize the liberation from physical pain. A notable climax of the social celebrations is fire-walk, where volunteers sprint over a bed of burning coal while being cheered with music and songs.[3]

Related holidays

This new year day is celebrated elsewhere across South and Southeast Asia which follow the related Hindu-Buddhist solar calendar traditions of South and Southeast Asian solar New Year (Mesha Sankranti and Songkran). It is known Vaisakhi across North India and Nepal and marks the beginning of the Hindu Solar New Year.[15][16] The same day every year is also the new year for many Buddhist communities in parts of southeast Asia such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Cambodia, likely an influence of their shared culture in the 1st millennium CE.[16] Some examples include:

However, this is not the universal new year for all Hindus. For many others who follow the Lunar calendar, the new year falls on Chaitra Navaratri, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa etc, which falls a few weeks earlier.[16] For some, such as those in and near Gujarat, the new year festivities coincide during the five day Diwali festival.

See also


  1. ^ Bhatt, SC; Bhargava, Gopal K. (2006), Land and People of Indian States and Union Territories In 36 Volumes Orissa Volume 21, Kalpaz, p. 419, ISBN 9788178353777
  2. ^ Orissa (India) (1966). Orissa District Gazetteers: Ganjam. Superintendent, Orissa Government Press.
  3. ^ a b c d Lynn Foulston; Stuart Abbott (2009). Hindu Goddesses: Beliefs and Practices. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 178–181. ISBN 978-1-902210-43-8.
  4. ^ Maha Vishuba Sankranti Odisha celebrates Maha Vishuba Sankranti with Fervor
  5. ^ Classic Cooking of Orissa. Danda Nata. Allied Publishers. 2010. pp. 26–. ISBN 978-81-8424-584-4. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  6. ^ Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (1995). Prakr̥ti: Primal elements, the oral tradition. Meru Day, Meru Sankranti. Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. p. 172. ISBN 978-81-246-0037-5. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  7. ^ a b J. Gordon Melton (2011). Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations. ABC-CLIO. p. 633. ISBN 978-1-59884-206-7.
  8. ^ a b c Jyoshnarani Behera (1997). Political Socialization of Women: A Study of Teenager Girls. Atlantic Publishers. p. 79. ISBN 978-81-85495-21-7.
  9. ^ Kalyan Kumar Dasgupta; P. K. Mishra (1996). Aspects of Indian history and historiography: Professor Kalyan Kumar Dasgupta felicitation volume. World wise "vishuba sankranti". Kaveri Books. p. 111. ISBN 978-81-7479-009-5. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  10. ^ a b c "Know The Significance Of Odia New Year". Sambad. April 14, 2021.
  11. ^ "Patuas take the plunge for wish fulfilment". The New Indian Express. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  12. ^ a b c "Maha Vishuba Sankranti along with Odia New Year celebrated with religious fervor". Orissa Post. April 14, 2019.
  13. ^ "On Pana Sankranti, Know The Significance Of The Drink & Learn The Recipe To Make Best 'Bela Pana'". Ommcom News. 14 April 2019. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Harvesting grain, making memories". Livemint. 13 April 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  15. ^ Crump, William D. (2014), Encyclopedia of New Year's Holidays Worldwide, MacFarland, page 114
  16. ^ a b c Karen Pechilis; Selva J. Raj (2013). South Asian Religions: Tradition and Today. Routledge. pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-0-415-44851-2.
  17. ^ Peter Reeves (2014). The Encyclopedia of the Sri Lankan Diaspora. Didier Millet. p. 174. ISBN 978-981-4260-83-1.

Further reading