SAMBALPUR: Boial Yatra, the festival of Shakti worship, that has special significance for people residing in rural areas of Western Odisha was celebrated with devotion across the region.
The festival involves worshipping of Goddess Samaleswari for well-being of villagers and good harvest besides prosperity of the village. The villages of the region celebrate the festival on any day between Aswina Suklapakhya Nabami (ninth day of the bright fortnight in the Odia month of Aswina) and Aswina Purnima (full moon day in the month of Aswina). This year, the Yatra began on October 18 and will conclude on October 24.
As per tradition, a male member from village priest’s family takes on the prime role during the Yatra and is referred to as ‘Barua’. It is believed that the Goddess enters the body of the ‘Barua’ and he becomes her emissary.
Two people known as ‘Bahatia’ hold the ‘Barua’ tight from both sides in a bid to control him as he sways madly amidst reverberating sounds of Dhol, Muhuri and Ghanta. Thousands of animals are sacrificed during the Yatra to propitiate the Goddess.
The ‘Barua’, better known as Boial, is taken in a procession in the villages amidst beating of traditional musical instruments and he visits each household of the village and advises villagers on their personal problems.
It is believed that the Boial can foretell the past, present and future of the devotees. Similar to Boial Yatra, Bali Yatra is celebrated in Sonepur and it continues for 16 days beginning from Aswina Amavasya (new moon day) or Mahalaya to Aswina Purnima.