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Chitou Amavasya – Chitalagi Amavasya

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Chitou Amavasya – Chitalagi Amavasya: In rural areas this is more or less observed as an agricultural festival. On this occasion the farmers worship the paddy-fields. After a purificatory bath in the morning they go to their respective paddy-fields with cake, flowers, milk etc and pray the fields to yield a good crop.

It is in the primitive tradition to appease evil powers through worship; whether they are animals, serpents, inspects or plants. People worship and pray them to avoid their wrath. Pilas breed enormously in the paddy-fields and tanks during the rainy season. Farmers while working bare-footed in the fields often get their feet cut by the sharp edge of their shells. Therefore, during the festival the piles is appeased as a female form of evil power known as ‘Gandeisuni’ (Genda is pile). The farmer girls go to the fields and while offering cakes pray “Oh, Gandeisuni, be appeased and do not cut the legs of my father or brother”.

Chitalagi Amavasya

Chitalagi Amabasya is a significant observance in the state of Odisha, India. It is a unique festival dedicated to Mahaprabhu Jagannath, the presiding deity of the famous Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha, one among the chardham of India or Sanatan Dham.

As Lord Jagannath is the presiding deity of Odisha. Many of His festivals are also devotionally followed in Odia households. Chitalagi or Chitou Amavasya is one such festival which falls on the new-moon day of the sravana (August). On this day, in the temple of Jagannath, the deity bears a golden mark (Chita) on the forehead. A special variety of rice-cake known as Chitou pitha is given to the deity as food-offering. This variety is also prepared in every household of the Oriyas of the coastal districts.

Chitalagi refers to the sixth month in the traditional Odia calendar, and Amabasya means the new moon day. Therefore, Chitalagi Amabasya is celebrated on the new moon day of the month of Chitalagi.

On this day, devotees offer prayers and perform rituals to seek the blessings of Lord Jagannath. They visit the Jagannath Temple and participate in various religious ceremonies. The festival holds great significance for the people of Odisha, as Lord Jagannath is considered the supreme deity and the symbol of unity and devotion in the region.

In rural areas this is more or less observed as an agricultural festival. On this occasion the farmers worship the paddy-fields. After a purification bath in the morning they go to their respective paddy-fields with cake, flowers, milk etc and pray the fields to yield a good crop.

It is in the primitive tradition to appease evil powers through worship; whether they are animals, serpents, inspects or plants. People worship and pray them to avoid their wrath. Pilas breed enormously in the paddy-fields and tanks during the rainy season. Farmers while working bare-footed in the fields often get their feet cut by the sharp edge of their shells. Therefore, during the festival the piles is appeased as a female form of evil power known as ‘Gandeisuni’ (Genda is pile). The farmer girls go to the fields and while offering cakes pray “Oh, Gandeisuni, be appeased and do not cut the legs of my father or brother”.

In Western parts of Odisha, this festival is known as ‘Harali kans’. People of the areas believe it to be a day of the witch, Tandei who moves in the dark to suck the blood of the children. To save children from her wrath mothers draw various designs below the naval zone of the children before the night falls. As they believe that would scare away witch, a common variety of rice-cake Chakuli Pitha is offered to the witch to be appeased and thereafter the cake is taken by all.

Overall, Chitalagi Amabasya is a time for devout worship and acts of kindness in Odisha, as people come together to honor Lord Jagannath and promote the spirit of compassion and giving.

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