Prathamashtami, or Pradam Ashtami, is observed on the eight day (ashtami) in the month of Margasira (November – December) in Orissa. Prathamashtami 2016 date is November 21. Special pujas are performed for the wellbeing and prosperity of the eldest child in the family. Sasthi Devi is prayed to for the long life of the child by mother and other female members.
Prathamashtami is based on the social belief that it is the eldest child who has to look after the family after the death of the parents and it this child who has to continue the lineage or the family tradition.
The eldest child is presented new clothes and Kalasha is placed on a rice bed before. This symbolizes prosperity and fertility.
A delicacy called Haladi Patra Pitha – rice cake filled with sweet stuffing and wrapped in green leaves of turmeric plant before being steamed – is made as Prasad and is distributed.
The cake is first offered to Sasthi Devi, who is the protector of children.