Sambalpur Sital Sasthi Yatra
The Sitalsasthi festival is well-known as a symbol of great folk culture, folk festivals, and Indian traditions. This festival, based on mythology, has been celebrated in the Hindu world since time immemorial. The center of the festival is the Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva and their marriage ceremony is the main theme of Shitalshasthi. The main intention of Shitalshasthi is to save the world from sinners and distances and provide relief to the oppressed masses from the intense heat. This is the main attraction of Western Odisha.
According to the Shiva Purana, Shiva Parvati's marriage was essential for the death of the great asur Tarakasur. This is because their newborn son, Kartikeya, will kill the powerful and oppressive Tarakasur and bring joy to the minds of the gods. So the urgency for this marriage was expressed by the gods. After losing Sati, the world was set to become so hot due to Shiva’s aggression. At that time, the world needed to free Shiva from this fierce influence and create a cold atmosphere around him, which led to the marriage of Jatadhari Shiva to the Himalayan Nandini Parvati. The wedding is celebrated as the Shitalshasthi as the wedding takes place on the 6th day of the Jaistha Month lunar month.
According to religious sources, the burning power of Shiva begins on the 14th day of the month of Magha Krishnapaksha and is eased on the sixth day of Jaisth Shukla paksha. So this festival is publicly known as Shitalshasthi.
The tradition and history of the Shitalshasthi
It is still unclear when the festival began in Indian culture, but it is expected that the festival is celebrated after the advent of Shaivism. The religion is believed to have originated in the fourth century in the state. Since then, Shitalshasthi has been celebrated with reverence throughout Odisha. The festival has its own uniqueness in the Western Odisha tradition, especially in Sambalpur.
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Widows to celebrate
Whether rich or poor, children or old persons; everyone is lost in the festivities and joys of Shitalshasthi. The excitement of the festival, from the city to the village, touches everyone’s soul. The festival begins on the second day of Jaitha Shuklapaksha II and ends on the eighth day. According to Vedic rituals, Shiva Parvati's marriage is done. The newlyweds march in large numbers. The city looks so beautiful in full of decorations, dances, music, and fireworks. There is happiness and excitement in everyone. The initial work of the winter solstice begins with the Akshaya Tritiya in the month Baishakh. On this day, the work of the traditional celebration Thaliutha is completed. The bride and groom's parents get chosen on this day for Shiva Parvati's wedding. They even pay for the purchase of equipment and other work on the occasion of the wedding.
Special attractions of Sitalsasthi in Western Odisha
In the western parts of Odisha, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Sonepur, Balangir, and other districts, Shitalshasthi is celebrated with great enthusiasm and ceremony. Of these, there is a special trend in the Shitalshasthi held in the Sambalpur area. In the Vedic way, Shiva-Parvati weddings are held. The festival starts on the 3rd day of Jaistha Shuklapakhya and is celebrated on the seventh day of Navadampavi’s Gharbahuda festival. On the fifth day, Mahadev is anointed with water and milk. That night, devotees travel to the in-laws' house of the bridegroom. A statue of Shiva Parvati is placed on a well-decorated cart and taken in a very pompous procession. After the wedding, Harparvati comes to the girl's father's house. There he is offered various offerings. On Shitalshasthi, the bride and groom walk around the city in a decorated flock.
The city of Sambalpur is a place of joy for the revival of folk culture and for entertaining the audience, with programs such as Ghumuranach, Orchestra, and different stage programs. Police assistance is needed to maintain law and order. Due to the large number of people, volunteer organizations are often used for public service.
Benefits of the festival
The beauty of the festival is centered on Har Parvati's wedding. Yogi, however, Shiva's family is the ideal family in the world. A beautiful example of a lion, a bull, a snake, a peacock, a mouse, or a peaceful family. Therefore, on the occasion of the Shiva-Parvati wedding, such an idea is very exemplary for Hindu households. Another Harparvati marriage tradition is the great union of Shiva and Shakti.
Although Sitalshasthi is a traditional festival in western Odisha, it is celebrated in various cities and villages in Odisha. Times are changing, Despite adapting to different environments and circumstances, modern human society does not want to lose its true sense of peace and well-being. They understand that the materialistic world or information technology will not allow them to live with happiness, peace, friendship, and solidarity. So their culture, their heritage is their identity. This is where the coexistence of peace and the way and inspiration of survival can be found. It is as important for spiritual well-being and social harmony as it is for social coexistence. Shitalshsthi is the epitome of that tradition and the bearer of that tradition.