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Maha Vishuba Sankranti 2024 – Odia New Year in 2024 - Pana Sankranti in Odisha

Maha Vishuba Sankranti is observed as the Odia New Year and is also known as Mesha Sankranti and Pana Sankranti in the eastern state of Odisha in India. Maha Vishuba Sankranti 2024 date is April 14 as per Odisha Government Calendar. The day is also observed as Hanuman Jayanthi - the birthday of Hanuman (only in Odisha). The day marks the beginning of the New Year in the traditional Oriya Solar Calendar. The summer season also commences from this period.

Importance of Maha Vishuba Sankranti

The New Year in Odisha is calculated based on solar system of calendar calculation. Sun transits to Mesha Rashi or Aires on this day. Vishuba means Equator and Sun is over the Equator on the day.

As the day marks the beginning of Mesha solar month, it is also known as Meru Sankranti, Mesha Sankranti and Maha Vishuba Sankranti. The day marks the onset of the coming summer season.

Pana Sankranti

The highlight of the day is the preparation of sweet drink called ‘Pana,’ which is made from fruits, milk, curd etc.

People use a small pot filled with "pana" or a sweet drink of Mishri and water is hung on a basil (Tulsi) plant. There is a hole at the bottom of this pot which allows the water to fall from the pot, representing rain.

Odia New Year  - Pana Sankranti in Odisha

How is Maha Vishuba Sankranti Observed?

People wake up early in the morning and take bath (Sankranti buda) in rives, ponds, lakes or sea. They then worship Lord Surya standing in knee deep water. Gayatri Mantra is chanted.

Yajnas and donations are done by some.

Many make it a point to visit a temple in the vicinity.

Some people keep a fast on the day.

The special drink Pana is served on the day. It is made of pulp of Bilva (wood apple or bela), coconut gratings, and cottage cheese. The drink is seasoned with ginger and black pepper.

The flour of horse gram chhatua, along with banana and curd, is consumed by the people of Odisha after offering it to the Tulsi plant.

Pithas - sweets - are prepared and shared on the day.

Special Tulsi Puja and Rituals

The tulsi plant in the courtyard of the home is given a canopy using leaves. This small shed is to protect the plant from coming summer.

A small earthen pitcher with a hole in the bottom is hung over the tulsi plant. The earthen pitcher is filled every day till summer ends.

Other Festivities and Rituals

There are no major celebrations on the day. Temples conduct special pujas and rituals.

Cultural programs are organized in some regions including literary meetings.

People visit various temples and offer prayers and special pujas. Maha Vishuba Sankranti also marks the end of temple festivals in some regions of Odisha.

Special puja are conducted at Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri and the new Oriya almanac comes into effect on the day.

Tribals observe Meru Yatra on the day. Devotees pierce their body with sharp items and walk on hot coal as part of penance.

Chaiti festival of fisherman community comes to an end.

Danda and Jhamu Yatra observed in Southern Odisha ends on Pana Sankranti day. These festivals begin a fortnight before Sankranti mostly on April 1 or April 2. The main ritual involves performing penance of walking through bed of hot coal.