“Baara maase tera parba” (13 festivals in a year) is a common saying in average household of Odisha. Festivals are part and parcel of everyday life. There are numerous occasions which are celebrated in different parts of the state as a part of the festivities. The social fabric is closely knit by these festivals where people get closer to each other. Be it the Makara Parva in Mayurabhanja, Nuakhai of Sambalpur, Push Punei (“Pausa Purnima”) of Koraput, Bali Jatra of Cuttack; all of them are as vibrant and colourful as the Odia culture. Many of these festivals where one or the other deity is worshipped is an opportunity for socialisation irrespective of cast and creed.
Few of these festivals are restricted to specific areas in the state. However there is one festival Ratha yatra (“Car festival”) which is celebrated across all parts of the state with equal devotion and excitement. Many places across Odisha, the Raths (Chariots) are pulled by enthusiastic devotees. Puri which is known as “Shri Kshetra” has the highest significance with respect to the Ratha Yatra. However the same festival is equally colourful and full of excitement in Koraput which is otherwise called “Shabara Shri Kshetra” (The Shri Kshetra of the hills). Baripada which is a town in northern part of Odisha has the custom of all women chariot pullers who pull the Rath of Goddess Subhadra.Jagannath culture is in the mainstream of Odia culture. Many of the day to day rituals, social functions and festivals are centered around the round-eyed god. Being an Odia, I am proud because there is a little bit of Jagannath in our lives. Do you feel proud too?