Brahmin Villages of Orissa
Also Known As :
Sasans or Sitalasasthi
Falls On :
Jyestha Sukla Sasthi (May - June)
Important Place of Observance
Sambalpur & Bhubaneswar
The celebration of marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva with Parvati starts with the untying of the wedding knot of the divine couple. Devotees act as their parents to perform the marriage. The bridegroom's procession popularly known as 'Barat' starts from the 5th night of the bright half of Jyestha and the marriage is performed in the traditional manner.
The festival is celebrated at Sambalpur and Bhubaneswar in gorgeous ways.
In most Brahmin villages of Orissa there are temples of Shiva, Parvati and Vishnu. During this festival the elderly Brahmins of the village act as the parents of the bride ('Parvati') and the bridegroom (Shiva) and all formalities of a Brahmin marriage are observed.
In analogy with the society-marriages where somebody acts as a mediator, here, Vishnu, the God Himself takes the role.At first a proposal (written on palm-leaf) is sent from the bride's side to the bride-groom's father through 'Sevak' who also carries 'Mahaprasad' (Food offering of Lord Jagannatha), coconut, betel nut, and a piece of new cloth as prevalent in marriage customs.
With him goes a procession of torchbearers, drummers and pipers. Thereafter, on the fifth day ('Panchami') at past mid-night Parvati goes to the temple of Shiva in a procession where the marriage takes place with all Vedic formalities. After the marriage is over a feast is arranged in which the 'Sevayats' from both the sides participate. The real festival takes place next day in the night when the marriage procession is taken out with pomp and grandeur.
The images of Parvati and Vishnu are carried in a richly decorated palanquin ('Vimana') heading the procession. Shiva, seated on a bull follows them on a bullock cart. At crossroads and important places the procession halts and there is lavish display of fire-works, dancing, drumming and various other kinds of merry-making.
The Celebrations in Sambalpur & Bhubaneswar
Though this festival is held in the temples of Loknath at Puri , Lingaraj at Bhubaneswar
and in most of the significant Brahmin villages, it is observed in a grand scale at Sambalpur where two groups of Brahmins exhibit rare keenness to organize it with keen competitive spirit.
During the procession lavishly decorated tableaus are brought out. Traditional and local dance and music parties are engaged to move with the procession. Varieties of fire works are displayed. Each group tries its utmost to excel the other in every respect. The procession terminates at the respective temples and the festival ends.
On this day the town of Sambalpur wears a joyful look. Thousands of people gather together from dissimilar parts of the district to witness the deities in procession. In the Puranas it has been said that one is expiated of all sins if he sees the Gods in procession. Therefore, there is a natural attraction for the common villagers to see the mounted deity in procession.