Odisha is a state which is home to many festivals. Many historical reasons are attributed to the start and end of each festival. Pana Sankranti is one of the most celebrated festivals in Odisha. Well! Pana Sankranti is also known as the Mahavishuva Sankranti and the Odia New Year. This festival marks the beginning of summer.
Pana Sankranti is actually the festival of harvest which is celebrated with traditional drink – Bela Pana (Bel fruit pulp). So, the festival is named after it as Pana Sankranti.
Folklore states that drinking Bela Pana symbolically represents the importance of water in sustaining life on earth. It symbolises that water should be provided to all in the scorching summer months. So, people across Odisha celebrate the festival with traditional fervour and joy.
On the day of the Pana Sankranti, an earthen pot is filled with a sweet drink which is known as Pana. Then the pot is hung over a Tulsi plant. A hole is made at the bottom of the pot to allow the sweet water to fall drop by drop. This represents the upcoming rainy season. It also spreads an awareness to save the sacred Tulsi plant.
A mixture of horse gram flour, banana and curd is offered to the Basil plant. After that it is consumed by the members of the family. Special offerings are also made to the gods and goddesses so that the New Year brings joy and happiness.
Scientifically, Bel water also prevents acidity and indigestion during summer. This also has many medicinal values attached to it.