Festivals are a big part of Indian culture and tradition. The same is the case with Odisha. While many people often tend to think that Odisha is only about Rathyatra, the state does celebrate a lot more than just that. It is best if you know what they are and what kind of things are done during those festivals if you do want a one of a kind experience. You must ensure the kind of significance they have and the kind of influence they have on the culture and traditions of the people involved. To help you gain a better understanding and knowledge of the festivals in Odisha, we are going to list them all out for you.
14 Famous Festivals In Odisha
As we did mention before, Odisha is more than the Rathyatra. If you didn’t know any better, it is best suggested that you do go through the list that we have made around here.
1. Durga Puja
Much like how important Durga Puja is for the Bengalis, the same holds quite a lot of significance for the people in Odisha as well. It is celebrated during the month of Ashwin or Kartik, during September or October, to celebrate the victory of good over evil. The festival celebrates the power of Durga Maa over her win against Mahisashur. The streets are lit up with twinkling lights all around and the pandals all across the streets house huge idols of Durga Maa with Goddess Saraswati and Lakhsmi along with Lord Ganesha and Karthik. The festival is one of the most important ones celebrated by the people in Odisha.
Date: anywhere between September and October
2. Ratha Yatra
Apart from Durga Puja, another significant festival that is a must for Odisha is Ratha Yatra or chariot festival. The festival is so popular that people from across the country and sometimes even the world come around to celebrate this in Odisha. It is held during the Jyestha month on a full moon night. The festival is celebrated for Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra. During that day in Puri, Odisha, their idols are taken out for a bath along with the Sudarshan chakra. The celebration for this festival lasts for a fortnight, which is 14 days. Several customs and religious practices are done during the festival as per the traditions.
Date: June or July
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3. Chhau Festival
Another important and quite a popular festival in Odisha that you just can’t do without is the Chhau festival. This festival is celebrated for 3 days straight and is celebrated by the Bhuiyan tribes in Odisha. Apart from everything, the most important factor that sets it apart from the rest is the performance of the Chhau dance by the people in Odisha itself. For those who aren’t aware, Chhai dance is a traditional form of dance which includes a whole lot of martial arts and folk dance touches as well. The Chhau dances wear masks and traditional dresses to also further adds to the thrill of the dance even further.
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4. Kalinga Mahotsav
For those wondering, Kalinga Mahotsav is yet another one of the popular festivals that are celebrated by the people in Odisha. The story of the festival does have a lot of significance to it which you won’t necessarily know much about. A major part of Odisha was known as Kalinga before which experienced and witnessed the murder of several martyrs during the ruling of Ashoka. Kalinga Mahotsav was started as a way to celebrate the victory of peace over war. The festival includes several martial arts that are celebrated to commemorate the contributions of the martyrs of the Mauryan dynasty. The performances are done in the Dhauli Shanti Stupa in Bhubaneshwar.
Date: January 10th and 11th
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5. Sitalsasthi Carnival
As unique as the name of the festival is, the Sitalsasthi Carnival is a very popular festival celebrated in the form of a carnival. The carnival or the festival celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva with Lord Parvati. This is one of the most popular festivals and is celebrated across all the Shiva temples in Odisha. The festival is celebrated during the month of Jyestha during the day of Shubha Panchami. Often, it is also celebrated to signify the end of the summer season and the incoming monsoons. It is predominantly celebrated in the western part of Odisha.
6. Konark Dance Festival
Dance is a very significant cultural form of art in Odisha which is why the Konark Dance Festival is such an important festival in Odisha. The main aim of the festival is to bring together all the important and popular artists from across the world on a single stage. The art form does bring forth international recognition to all the classical dance artists. The festival is celebrated for 4 days in Odisha. The festival does host some of the most popular dance forms that are known around India including Manipuri, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, etc.
Date: February 19th to 23rd
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7. Gamha Purnima
While it is often known as Raksha Bandhan across the country, the same is known as Gamha Purnima in Odisha. The sisters tie rakhi on the wrist of their brother as a sign of protection and the bond between a brother and a sister. In addition to this ritual, this is also the day wherein the farmers in Odisha worship cows in the villages. The festival is commemorated with the making of a popular sweet, pitha which is then distributed among friends and family. The Utkala brahmins also celebrate the puja of Upakarma on this date.
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8. Makar Mela
Makar Sankranti is yet another popular festival that is celebrated across Odisha. Each region around celebrates it in their different ways. The most important part of the festival is the Makar chaula which is a popular dish that is made out of rice, jaggery, coconut, and the newly harvested rice. Along with that, several pithas are made during that time without any issues whatsoever.
9. Chandan Yatra
Chandan yatra is yet another popular festival in Odisha which is celebrated with great oomph and joy. It is celebrated at Jagannath temple in Puri and is celebrated straight for 42 days. In this festival, the deities are washed and bathed with sandal mixed water for the days of the festival. The deities are taken out of their temple in traditional boats known as the Chapa. The main attraction is the beautiful decoration of the boats which are done with white flowers that resemble the appearance of a swan in the river. The festivals are celebrated at the Vishnu and Shiva temples in Puri. The state does experience an influx of tourists and pilgrims from across the world.
Date: April and May
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10. Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi is quite a popular festival that is celebrated across the state of Odisha and is celebrated by the people all over the state. Several puja pandals are set around on the streets. Following the day of the Chaturthi is the Nuakhai which is a popular agricultural festival. This specific festival is celebrated to observe the new rice of the season and the people from the western part of Odisha, on this day celebrate this festival by eating the new harvests from the paddy fields. These two days are often declared as the state holidays for two days.
11. Mahabisuva Sankranti
The new year as per the Odia calendar is what is celebrated as the Mahabisuva Sankranti. It is also often known as the Pana Sankranti. In this festival, the mixture of misri and water is hung over the tulsi plant to represent the rain. The festival is quite auspicious and popular for the people involved in the agricultural and farming activities across Odisha. This day also witnesses offering special things to Lord Vishnu, Shiva, and Hanuman.
Date: April 14th and 15th
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12. Hingula Yatra
Another popular festival in Odisha that is celebrated across the state is the Hingula yatra. The festival celebrates and worships Shakti and is done as a Shiva puja. The day is celebrated preceding the Vishuba Sankranti. The culture of Tantrism is a popular trend under this. The festival is quite often celebrated more in the remote villages in Odisha. The special thing about this festival is the fact that the food is made in a special oven and the worshipper has to eat their one meal a day out of that.
Date: Every month of Chaitra
13. Raja Parba
Coming round to the next festival, it is the Raja parba which is celebrated for four days straight. The main objective behind the festival is to focus on the agricultural festivals and allow the Goddess to rest. According to legends, it is believed that the Goddess undergoes the menstrual cycle during that time and is mainly celebrated by Mother Nature. It also celebrates the activities around including ploughing, plucking, cutting trees, etc.
Date: June or July
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14. Magha Saptami
If you know about the Konark temple and the festivals surrounding it, you’d know for a fact that the Magha Saptami is one of the most popular festivals that is celebrated around. People from across the state gather around the Bay of Bengal to then offer their prayers to the sea. Also, the people who come from around the country come and take a dip in the sea at the Chandrabhaga beach. They also sit around and pray to the sun with the prayers. The area is often quite crowded during that time.
If you are planning on visiting Odisha, we would suggest that you do visit during the festivals to enjoy the culture and tradition of the place around. Given that there is a rush during those times of the year, it is best suggested that you do make all the planning ahead of time to ensure that you don’t have to pay surge fees around. So now when you plan a vacation in Odisha, make sure to visit during one of these festivals.
Frequently Asked Questions About Festivals In Odisha
What kind of foods are eaten during festivals in Odisha?
The festival foods in Odisha vary depending on the kind of festival we are talking about. While some have vegetarian dishes, some have non-vegetarian options too.
What festival is celebrated in the Jagannath temple in Puri?
The Ratha Yatra or the Chariot festival is what is celebrated in the Jagannath temple in Puri. The festival is one of the most popular festivals that is celebrated in Odisha.
What is the specialty of the Konark festival?
The Konark dance festival is a celebration of the art above anything else. It celebrates some of the most popular dance forms in India and provides traditional artists with a good platform for recognition.
Which is the national festival in Odisha?
The Dol Purnima or Holi is celebrated as the national festival of the state. It is celebrated during March and is one of the most popular festivals in the state.
How many languages should one know to visit Odisha?
If you are planning on visiting Odisha, it is best suggested that you do know Hindi and at least Odia or Bengali to get you by. The people are not that fluent in English unless you have a guide.
Is it safe to visit Odisha during festivals?
Odisha is indeed crowded during the festival season. But, that doesn’t mean that it is not safe to visit the state. Just be alert through and through.
Should you make the bookings for Odisha during festivals?
Given how much rush you are bound to experience during the festival season, it is best suggested that you do make all the bookings beforehand. This helps ensure that you don’t have last-minute rushes.
Are communication and transport good in Odisha?
The transport facilities in Odisha are quite nice and something you wouldn’t have to worry about at all. Just ensure that you have a guide with you or communicate well with the people for better access.