Panna Sankranti – Mahavisuva Sankranti/Odia New Year

Pana sankranti is an ancient thirst quencher festival of Odisha which is celebrated on every summer month .It is observed in mid of the April when the days are getting unbearably hot, how do you deal with heat. It is considered to be cooling people off during odisha’s hottest time of the year.

Traditionally it is a New Year celebration of Odisha marking the beginning of a new Panjika, which is the yearly calendar of Odia festivals, timings and predictions.

On this auspicious day religious people wake up early in the morning take a spiritual bath. Especially people live in village they do buda meaning a spiritual bath standing in knee deep water of river/pond. They worship lord surya/sun for blessings. People across the State thronged various temples and relished the sumptuous ‘Bela Pana’- made out of wood apple, fruits, cottage cheese, pepper-corn and jaggery are the main ingredients of the delicacy.

Food is a part of our cultural heritage – simple, natural and authentic. Taste is one of the most sensuous experience. pana is one of them. Pana is a sweet cold water made out of melange of flavours like jaggery, pepper, fruit pulps…But a panna made out of wood apple pulp is the most awaited beverage of this special occasion. I always proud for our ancestors who discovered this auspicious drink. According to Ayurveda every part of the wood apple tree (seeds, root, fruit, bark and leaves) have numerous medicinal properties. In odisha summer is ruled in most of the year. Humidity and excessive sweating saps the body of fluids and salts. Scorching heat makes people loss energy. The combo of wood apple pulp along with jaggery is effective against fatigue and loss of energy. Also wood apple is a rich source of fiber and vitamin C. Since ancient drinking a glass of wood apple juice every day in summer not only aids digestion but also protects the body against sun stroke.offering of pana on this day, the sankranti is commonly known as Pana sankranti. Tulsi is a sacred plant and give auspicious to home though it’s planted central courtyard of each hindu house a small earthen pitcher with a hole at the bottom , filled with water / pana is hung over holy basil/tulsi plant .Dripping water from the pitcher survive or gives shade to relief it from heat. It symbolize to serve water not only human but also rest of the living things on earth.

Geographically on this day fiery planet Sun moves into the fire sign Aries, it brings happiness and progress in life, and the heat in the summer season also rise. When the Sun changes places in the zodiac cycle, people recognize this movement by the name of Sankranti(known as Mesh Sankranti). Sun the mightiest ruler amongst of all the planets transit over equator (visubha rekha)…so the movement collectively called as mahavishubha sankranti and auspicious too because it impacts a significant value to our lives…

People celebrating it offering pana to their family and friends, even passer-by. Pana also offering in temple.

At the end it’s life changing festival for me which signifies value of water in the form of pana. Pana which is sweet cold beverage The sweetness of jaggery makes the pana more delicious and mix with spices to keep us dehydrated in summer. Many more ingredients like fruits pulps and cottage cheese makes the pana more rich. That’s way it’s a life changing celebration has great thought behind the celebration teaching us priority for humanity mankind and of Course signifies value of water.

So whatever be the reason don’t miss the local homely made summer coolant and enjoy the New Year celebration …

some pana recipes on pana sankranti…