Pana Sankranti 2024: Celebrating the Joy of a New Year!

As the month of March approaches, the eastern state of Odisha in India eagerly gears up to celebrate Pana Sankranti, a festival that marks the beginning of the new year according to the traditional Hindu calendar. This auspicious day, falling on the first day of the Odia month of Medha Sankranti, signifies the onset of the spring season and is celebrated with great fervor and joy by the people of Odisha. Let’s delve into the significance, traditions, and customs associated with this vibrant festival.

Significance of Pana Sankranti

Pana Sankranti holds immense significance in Odia culture and is steeped in age-old traditions and rituals. The festival is also known as Maha Vishuba Sankranti or Odia New Year and marks the transition of the sun into the Mesha Rashi (Aries zodiac sign). It symbolizes new beginnings, rejuvenation, and the spirit of renewal.

The festival represents the cycle of life, with the changing seasons reflecting the impermanence of life and the need to embrace change. It is a time for introspection, gratitude, and seeking blessings for a fruitful year ahead. Welcoming the spring season, Pana Sankranti embodies a sense of hope, prosperity, and joy.

Customs and Traditions

1. Preparations and Decorations

Leading up to Pana Sankranti, homes are cleaned and decorated with colorful rangolis and alpanas. The entrance of houses is adorned with mango leaves, coconuts, and toranas made of marigold flowers. Traditional motifs and patterns are drawn to welcome prosperity and good luck into the household.

2. Pana

A key component of the festival is a sweet and tangy drink called Pana, made from ingredients like water, jaggery, milk, fruits, and aromatic spices. The Pana is offered to deities in temples and distributed among family and friends as a form of prasad. It is believed to have cooling properties that help in combating the heat of the summer season.

3. Puja and Offerings

Devotees visit temples to offer prayers and seek blessings for a prosperous year ahead. Special pujas are performed, and offerings of fruits, flowers, incense, and pana are made to the deities. The sound of bells, the fragrance of incense, and the sight of colorful flowers create a divine ambiance in the temples.

4. Community Celebrations

Pana Sankranti brings communities together as people gather to celebrate with dance, music, traditional folk performances, and feasting. Many cultural events and fairs are organized across Odisha where people participate in various activities, games, and competitions.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the history behind Pana Sankranti?

Pana Sankranti has its roots in ancient Hindu mythology and folklore. It is believed to have originated from the agricultural practices of offering prayers for a bountiful harvest and seeking blessings for prosperity and well-being.

2. How is Pana prepared, and what are its health benefits?

Pana is a traditional drink that is easy to make and is a refreshing summer cooler. It is known for its cooling properties and is believed to aid digestion, boost immunity, and provide relief from the scorching heat.

3. Are there any specific rituals or customs associated with Pana Sankranti?

Apart from offering Pana to deities, families also prepare a variety of traditional dishes like Pakhala Bhata (fermented rice), Dalma (lentil and vegetable stew), and Mitha Khechudi (sweetened rice and lentils) to celebrate the festival.

4. How do people dress up for Pana Sankranti celebrations?

During Pana Sankranti, men typically wear traditional dhotis or kurta-pajamas, while women adorn themselves in colorful sarees or lehengas. Women also embellish their attire with traditional jewelry and adornments to mark the festive occasion.

5. Are there any specific rituals for seeking blessings on Pana Sankranti?

Devotees wake up early, take a ritualistic bath, and offer prayers to the sun god. They visit temples, perform pujas, and seek blessings from elders. Giving alms, engaging in charitable activities, and practicing acts of kindness are also considered auspicious on this day.

In conclusion, Pana Sankranti is a festival that encapsulates the spirit of new beginnings, gratitude, and unity. It is a time to rejoice in the beauty of nature, bond with loved ones, and seek blessings for a prosperous future. The vibrant celebrations, age-old traditions, and festive fervor make Pana Sankranti a cherished occasion for the people of Odisha, symbolizing the dawn of a new year filled with hope and happiness.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here