Chitou Amavasya is celebrated in Orissa in honour of Lord Jagannath. The festival is celebrated on the new moon day of the lunar month of Shravana. On this day a special type of rice cake named as ‘Chitau Pitha’ is offered to Lord Jagannath at the temple. This cake is prepared and eaten with relish in almost every household. The deity on this day bears a golden mark called Chita on the forehead.
The primary occupation of this area is agriculture. Paddy is the crop grown in this region during the ancient, medieval and modern period.
According to the local legends, “Chitou Amavasya is in the primitive tradition to appease evil powers through worship; whether they are animals, serpents, inspects or plants.
In rural areas Chitou Amavasya is celebrated as an agricultural festival. On this auspicious occasion the farmers worship the paddy-fields. After a purificatory bath in the morning, they go to their respective paddy-fields with cake, flowers, milk etc and pray the fields to yield a good crop.
Tradition of Chitou Amavasya:
It is in the primitive tradition to appease evil powers through worship; whether they are animals, serpents, inspects or plants. People worship and pray them to avoid their wrath. ‘Pilas’ breed enormously in the paddy fields and tanks during the rainy season. Farmers while working bare-footed in the fields often get their feet cut by the sharp edge of their shells. Therefore, during the festival the piles are appeased as a female form of evil power known as ‘Gandeisuni’ (‘Genda’ is pile). The farmer girls go to the fields and while offering cakes pray “Oh, Gandeisuni, be appeased and do not cut the legs of my father or brother”.
Legend of Harali Kans :
Chitou Amavasya is known as “Harali Kans” in Sambalpur areas in the state of Orissa. This festival is celebrated in a grand manner. The local people of this region strongly believe it is an auspicious day of the witch, named ‘Tandei’ who wholeheartedly moves around in the mid-night dark in order to suck the fresh blood of the children.