: Jagannatha Temple, Puri, Orissa
Also Known As :
Falls On :
New Full-moon day of Sravana (August)
This is celebrated on the new moon day of the lunar month of Shravana. A special type of rice cake called
'chitau' is offered to Lord Jagannath at the temple. This cake is prepared and eaten with relish in almost every household. Gendeisuni, the goddess of snails and oysters is duly worshipped. These creatures are offered cakes and requested not to bruise the feet of farmers when they go to remove weeds from the fields.
The Ancient Tradition
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 are 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".
The Legend of Harali Kans
In Sambalpur areas 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 peculiar 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.