SAMBALPUR: People of Western Odisha celebrated the agrarian festival of Puspuni with pomp and gaiety across the region on Tuesday. The second most important agrarian festival of the region after Nuakhai, Puspuni holds a special significance for the agriculture-dominated belt.
While Nuakhai is celebrated after flowering of kharif paddy crop, Puspuni is observed after its harvest. The annual festival is observed on ‘Pausa Purnima’ (full moon day in Odia month of Pausa).
It provides the much-needed break to the farmers after their hard work on the field ends. It also marks the end of work contract between landowners and agricultural labourers. The festival doesn’t involve worshipping of deities. It’s more about merry making with special emphasis being laid on food.
Residents prepared special traditional dishes, pancakes, kakara, manda, arisha, ras bara, mung bara and malpua and other non-vegetarian dishes at their homes.
As per the tradition, children moved around the city singing popular songs like ‘Chhera Chhera’ and collected rice, vegetables or money from the locals to organise feast. The activity has been introduced since ages to bridge the generation gap between old women and youngsters.
In rural areas, residents participate in cultural programmes and kabaddi and football matches. However, in the urban areas, the celebrations are restricted to ‘Bhetghat’ (get togethers).
In Bargarh, the festival is celebrated a day later to mark the killing of demon King Kansa during Dhanu Yatra.