Maha Vishuva Sankranti sparks the beginning of the Hindu Solar Calendar in Odisha and is celebrated as the Oriya New Year. April 14th is the date that has been chosen for this year’s Maha Vishuva Sankranti.
This day is also celebrated as Hanuman Jayanti. It is reserved for visits to the temple, especially in Puri at the Sri Jagannath Temple. Pana is a special drink concocted from water, milk, curds, fruits, and sugar that is prepared during this day.
This drink is kept in a pot and hung from a Tulsi plant. At the bottom of this pot is a small hole from where the drink comes out. This metaphorically represents rain. Banana curds as well as the flour of a horse gram are also eaten during the day after offering it to the Tulsi plant.
The story of Bhishma is associated with this day as well as the drink `Pana’. After he was defeated by Arjuna during the Mahabharata, Bhisma was lying down in a bed of arrows.
The Pandavas and Kauravas surrounded him and he asked for water. Arjuna then shot at the ground with his bow and came to the holy river Ganga to quench his thirst.
This was seen as a very noble deed in the eyes of Bhishma. That is why the drink Pana is given such importance as a remembrance of this kind act.
Temples are very crowded during this time as people go to visit them on this auspicious time. People all over Odisha also celebrate the Lord Hanuman’s birthday on this day. The festivities are generally just restricted to temple visits.
There are a lot of other cultural events that take place during this day such as literary meetings. This holy day is celebrated with great vigor in Odisha.