Kumar Purnima is one of the most popular and important festival of Orissa. On the full moon day after Dusshera, Kumar Purnima is celebrated by all the unmarried girls & newly married brides in the state.
This autumn festival is one of the most popular and important festival of Odisha. Kumar or Kartikeya, the handsome Son of Shiva was born on this day. He also became the God of war. As young girls always wish for a handsome husband, they propitiate Kumara who was most handsome among the Gods. But, peculiarly enough there is no ritual for the God, instead the Sun and the Moon are worshipped. In the early morning the girls after their purificatory bath wear new garments and make food-offerings to the Sun.
Maidens wake up much before sun rise, bathe and get dressed to perform the ‘Janhi Osa’ where they offer to the sun god, palmful of ‘khae’ with ‘janhi’ (striped gourd), cucumber, banana, coconut, gua (betel nut), etc. known as ‘Anjuli’. They also lighten a diya and perform a puja to pay reverence to the Almighty for a suitable bridegroom. The same ritual is performed in the evening, but with ‘Chanda chakata’.
In the evening when the moon rises girls pray moon by offering prasad. The girls in groups sing special songs programmed for this particular occasion. The atmosphere of Orissa becomes so addicted with cultural programmes that any outsider will be delighted to be at Orissa during this festival.
Kumar Purnima occurs on the first full moon day of Ashvin month. Girls fast for the day, collect seven types of fruits and seven types of flowers, prepare different kinds of cakes and worship the sun and moon god on Kumara Purnima.
With time, however, the tradition has lost some of its charm as city girls don’t find enough time to indulge in the elaborate rituals, being more busy with other priorities of education and career.
This is famous Kumara Purnima odia song – Phula Baula Beni. More Kumar Purnima songs will be updated here.
Kumara Purnima is also observed as the birth day of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. Therefore, many people worship the Goddess at their homes and keep themselves awake by playing many indoor games. Significantly it suggests that those who wish to acquire wealth should always be vigilant at night. It is for this reason the owl, the bird which sleeps in the day and comes out only at night.
Also read about Dussehra.