BHAWANIPATNA: Chitalagi Amabasya of Puri or Hariyali Uansa of Bhawanipatna is considered an auspicious day to immunise children from common ailments.
It is believed that a herbal bath on this day keeps disease at bay. The tradition, which is on the verge of extinction, is practised in some rural places. For the treatment, a family prepares a concoction of different medicinal plants like leaves of nirgundi, desandh, bacha, basanga, neem, mango, Jamukoli, sal and turmeric by boiling it.
On the early morning of Chitalagi Amabasya, tamarind paste is applied on the body of children and oil on the head. They are made to sit in a traditional cot made of thread and an iron pot with burning charcoal is placed under it.
As the children are bathed with the decoction of herbal plants, the water falls on the charcoal kept under the cot in an iron container and vapour reaches the body of the kids. It is a kind of medicated steam bathing. This bath is believed to fight ailments like skin diseases, common cold, cough and fever.
On this day, the branches of Karla trees are also fixed in the paddy fields in different places with the belief that this will eliminate some types of pests.
With the passage of time, the age-old practice is fading into oblivion. Locals say it has its importance and there is need for scientific evaluation of the practice.