It is the Marriage Ceremony of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. The festival is observed in the month of June with pomp and ceremony at Koshal and is extended for a week. Pilgrims from the neighboring States of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar also participate in the festival. Lakhs of people congregate in this week long festival, mostly in the month of June every year. This Festival is observed with much geity in Sambalpur, Barpali and Balangir. Other Places of Koshal also celebrate this festival with much enthusiasm.
This is the most important social festival of KOSHAL . Generally it takes place during the month of August and September. Preliminary preparation of the festival starts 15 days before the occasion. The first grains of the paddy crop, cooked into various dishes are offered to the deities. There after the eldest member of the family distributes new rice to the junior members of the family. All the household articles are cleaned. People greet each other. Everyone wears new clothes on this day.It is a community festival celebrated by every Hindu family low and high.
It is mostly known only in the region of Koshal. Bhaijiutia festival is celebrated on the Mahastami Day of Durga Puja. It is a total fasting undertaken by women for the whole day and night to seek Goddess Durga’s blessing for the long life of their bhais (brothers).
It is another fasting Puja of similar austerity for women of the area. The Puajiuntia festival is observed by mothers to invoke the grace of Lord Dutibahana for the long life and prosperity of their sons.
Muthi Chuann (Akhi Trutiya):
Akhi Trutiya, a day when all the farmers offer pujA to mother earth. In KOSHAL it is
popularly known as " MUTHI CHHUAN" because a muthi of peddy seeds (BIHAN) is sprinkled on the paddy field today, after the khet-pUjA. From this day preparations starts for the forthcoming paddy cultivation. Though bit early for Koshal region to start new cultivation (actual cultivation starts 30-40 days after) it is a ritual which has to be performed on this date. Irrespective of any cast and tribe, farmers wake up at around 2.30-3.00 a.m., take a bath and lead bullocks, preferably new langaLa, new 'daud' (use for tieing to the plough to the bullocks) to the field. They offer pUjA to earth, bullocks, langalA; sprinkle a muthA of paddy and start ploghing only after they hear the sweet early melody of a 'chockoo'. When they return, they generally feed the bulls well and eat 'jukhA'(like rice pudding or khiri, but with un mingled rice)...
The festival of Puspuni, celebrated on Pousa purnima, also unique to the Koshal region, marks the completion of one agricultural cycle. Based on an agrarian economy, this festival has also acquired religious sanction. The religious dimension gives the festival a profundity, a cosmic significance that surpasses the mundane in its origin. It also guarantees respect and following through generations of devotees, thus ensuring its perpetuation. Anna (rice or food), the
source of all life and prosperity, has been worshipped since the rig vedic times. In the eighth Purana of the Taittariya Upanishads we find a canto deifying Anna.
Dhanu jatra is a famous festival celebrated in a Bargarh. It is relating to the episode of Lord Krishna's visit to Mathura to witness the ceremony of 'Bow' organised by Kansa as described in the 'Bhagawat Purana' is colourfully observed at Baragarh in Koshal. The entire topography of Baragarh is rendered into the elements of Drama. The town of Baragarh becomes Mathura, the river Jira becomes Yamuna and the village Amapalli on the other bank of the river becomes Gopa. Different acts of the Puranic description are performed at their right places and the spectators move from place to place with the actors to seethe performances. The drama and reality get inextricably fused. The festival continues for 7 to 11 days preceding Pausa Purnima, the fullmoon day of Pausa which falls in December-January every year. The performances are held from 3 P.M. to 9 P.M. which are followed by entertainment progrmames during the whole night.This festival is also recognized as the biggest oper air theater in the world.
It is the main festival of Kalahandi dist of Koshal region. This festivel is observed during the navratra in the month of Dashera..This festival is Dedicated for Maa Manikeswari..Lakhs of devoties from Koshal and adjoing Chattisgarh comes to pay there homage during chatar..It is famous for its animal sacrifice also.
Village ‘ Jarasingha ‘ in Balangir Dist of Koshal is famous for the Patkhanda Jatra which takes place in the month of "Aswina" from 8th to 10th day of the bright fortnight. A man locally called "Barua" becomes possessed by the spirit of Goddess "Patakhanda" and under that condition he is believed to bestow miraculous boons on devotees. People suffering from mental diseases are brought here for cure and barren women also come here in large numbers with the hope of getting a child by the blessing of Goddess Patkhanda.
Nrusingha Chaturdashi Mela :
This festival is observed on the 14the day of the bright fortnight of " Baisakh" at Harisankar and Nrusinghanath. This festival is a synthesis of the cult of Hari and Sankar large number of pilgrims gather on this day at this place and take their bath in the perennial water fall. Near Harisankar there is a small village named Dhandamunda where a festival is observed on this very day called Hariharabheta Jatra. It is a very popular festival of Koshal.
This yatra is celebrated on the sand-bed of river Zeera at Khuntpali of Bargarh dist,koshal on the day of Kartika Purnima. On this occasion Lord Shiva is worshipped with all serenity on the sand-bed. During this many trade fares are held on the sand-bed at Khuntpali.
Chuda Khai Jatra:
This Festival is observed in Boudh district of Koshal region.This function is observed in the last Friday of Margasira(November-December) wherein both males and females gather in a place and scold each other in filthy languages and also fight each other. The conception behind this is that by such function the land will yield good crops.
This Festival can also be called as holi. On this occasion the images of Radha & Krishna are placed in a decorated biman and carried in procession to the accompaniment of music. At places the bimans carrying Radha-Krishna images from different places assemble together for a community worship. This assembly of the gods called melan is usually celebrated with great pomp & show. This is the main festival of the people belonging to the Gaura caste. They worship the cow and play naudi (a play with sticks) by singing songs relating to Radha and Krishna.
Kailashi or Kalashi jatra is observed on the 11 th day of bright fortnight of Kartika which is also an auspicious month for Hindu . It is observed in the kalashi kothi ( worshipping place) .The walls of the kalashi kothi is painted with different god and goddess .A special type of musical instrument called Dhunkel is being played during this occasion inside the worshipping place. This Festival is mostly famous in Boudh and Balangir dist of Koshal region
Karma Jatra(Karam Sani):
The Karma or Karam festival is widely prevalent among the tribal people of Sundargarh, Sambalpur and Bolangir,. It is also observed by the low-caste Hindus of the areas. This festival is also observed by the aboriginal people of Bihar and Madaya Pradesh. The tribes in Koshal who observe it with great devotion are Ho, Kisan, Kol, Bhumij, Oraon, Bhuiyan and Binjhals.
In this festival the presiding deity is either 'Karam', a God or 'Karamsani', a Goddess who is represented with a branch of Karam tree. Its celebration takes place in the bright half of the month of Bhadrab (August-September) during the rainy season. Mostly it is held on the eleventh day of the bright fortnight.
In the ritual, people go the jungle accompanied by groups of drummers and cut one or more branches of Karam tree. The branches are mostely carried by unmarried young girls who sing in praise of the deity. Then the branches are brought to the village and planted in the centre of a ground which is plastered with cow-dung and decorated with flowers. Then the tribal-priest (Jhankar or Dehuri) offers germinated grams and liquor in propitiation to the deity who grants wealth and children. A fowl is also killed and the blood is offered to the branch. Then, he narrates a legend to the villagers about the efficacy of Karam puja. The legends vary from tribe to tribe.
Sabitri Uwans (Sabitri Barta)
The Amavasya (last day of the dark fortnight) in the month of Jyestha is known as Savitri Uwans in Koshal and Amavasya or Savitri Brata in rest of India. This day is most auspicious for the married Hindu women with husbands alive. They observe it as a vow with great devotion and pray for the long life of their husbands.
The Brata has been named after Savitri. In Mahabharata and other puranas the romantic episode of Savitri-Satvaban has been elaborately narrated with ideological veneration.
In deep regards to Savitri all Hindu women observe this festival worshipping and propitiating her as a Devi. The morale of the festival is to teach the women to be virtous devotional and painstaking like Savitri to make worldly life happy and peaceful.
In the early morning the women take purificatory bath and wear new clothes, new bangles and apply vermillion on the fore-head and the hair-parting line. Images of Savitri are never made. The grinding stone (sil-silpa) is represented as Savitri and worshipped. Wet pulses and rice, mango, jackfruit, lemon, banana and several other fruits are offered as Bhoga (offering). After observing fasting for the whole day they simply take the Bhoga. In the afternoon when all formalities of worship are over they bow low to their respective husbands and elderly people.
Dasra aau Durga puja
The holy scriptures testify that on this day Rama killed Ravana and his victory was celebrated. Therefore, it is also called 'Vijaya Dasami'. (Victorious tenth day). In Koshal it is celebrated with great flavour. Huge puppets of Ravan are made and they are been tourched…It is also called Ravan Pudi.. People in general polish their instruments of profession at this time and also clean, plaster and whitewash their houses. Beautiful flower-designs are painted on both sides of the doors. Idols of Durga are worshipped for five days and ever in some places Navratra puja is being organised, especially in towns and cities..After Dasami all the idols are then taken in procession for immersion in the rivers and bandhs. Many people come to the citiea from villages to watch the festival.
The whole month of Kartik (October-November) is considered to be the most sacred among all the twelve months of the year. During this month all the pious Hindus refrain from eating fish, meat or egg. All of them take pre-dawn bath and visit temples as a matter of routine. The last five days are considetd more sacred in which there is wide participation. Taken together the days are called 'Panchaka', the last day being the Kartik Puni. Every day they take food only once in the afternoon which is known as 'Habisha'.
For all the five days the women after purificatory bath in the early morning draw beautiful flower-designs around the chaunra (a small temple like structure with a Tulsi plant overhead) with colour powders produced indigenously. Fasting for the day is commonly observed. Most of the Shiva temples get crowded with devotees offering prayers to Lord Shiva who is said to have killed the demon Tripurasura on this day. Group-singing of kirtans and loud beating of Murdung and gini(cymbals) continue for the whole day.
In Koshal region huge idols of Kartikeswar are built and worshipped. Prahari is being organized through out the month of kartik.At night they are taken out in procession and are immersed in the river or lake near a Shiva temple.
This is one of the most beautiful festivals of koshal.It is unique in every sense. Now a days this festival is on the verge of extinction due to influence of modern culture and toys. Pura Uwans is celebrated in the month of Bhudo (bhadrav) on the day of amabasya. This festival is favourite amongst children. It all starts from the morning. All the food grains available in the home I;e grain,paddy ,chana etc will be given as bhog to the istadebata of the house.. Then mother will give away these bhoga to their girl child who will perform a dummy play of cooking with these bhoga throughout the day…They will keep this bhoga in beautiful toys made up of clay.. The toys include…changri, dekchi, kadhei, pithapatia and chuil/chulhi .The male child will play with a beautifully decorated bullock cart or horse. They will do dummy ploughing and the girls will bring food to the boys in a changri during launch hour..In short this festival is mean to preserve and pass on the great koshali tradition that we have..Here the elders will teach the male child how to do farming and ploughing ..so that the child will learn everything about farming from his childhood…Similarly the mother will teach the girl child ,how to cook and what utensils to use for cooking…This way the girls will learn cooking from their childhood..In the evening all the children will go near a banyan tree where the pujari will perform the puja and put a cloth on the tail of every clay horse and clay bullock, and they put fire in that cloth ..Then the boys will move around the banyan tree to perform the lanka pudi…So this way a great festival of pura uwans is celebrated just few days before nuakhai.
Before starting the paddy cultivation (dhan rua), the farmers of koshal celebrate this festivel..Where they perform puja of the land,cows and ox. Then they pray the mother earth to give them a good production this year.
Bael padla / Bali padla:
This is a festival which marks the beginning of Nuakhai “the festival of harvest “. Member of a particular community called Jhankar perform the puja of gram Devi of the respected villages to seek her permission to eat nua khai just before two days of nuakhai . Then he announces the date and time of Nuakhai puja. He will do a nagar parikrama holding a “Nagra – particular drum” used for official announcement ( Dingra pita) This day people of the village will gather and play cards. They will put a mutha of soil (bael/bali) and put it near the gramdevi to bless their land. .From this day decoration of house and marketing of nuakhai begins.
Jhahnni Usha :
These festival is celebrated by unmarried girls to seek the blessings of Maa tulasi for the long live and prosperity of their brothers. It is celebrated for one month at the beginning of month of dussehera. The unmarried girls of a locality (Para) gather at one place and sit aroung the “tulsi chaunra”. They will perform various songs from the traditional/religious books .They will collect seven type of flowers everyday to perform this puja.This puja is performed during the evening time, when the sun will be setting down and the moon will be rising .During this one month the girls will not take non-veg items or any outside food. On the last day of this festival the girls will do a Chandra puja with liya and guras (milk) and the pujari will will divide the liya bhoga for each girls with equal quantity.This unique festival shows the dedication of the sisters of koshal towards their brother.
Sathi puja or sathi jiuchi is celebrated just the day after Nuakhai. This puja is performed by mothers of koshal for the wellbeing of their sons. Mothers will construct a idol of sathi budhi (goddess) with haldi and six types of holy leaves. A particular fruite and flower is used for this puja known as khatkhatia phul and phal. This khatkhatia tree is now almost extinct..Then they will prepare a dummy bed with the khatkhatia fruit and install the haldi idol on it and give jouney ,kundru and kanker as bhoga. After the puja the mothers will touch the six types of leaves on their son’s head and wrapped a yellow colour thread on their hand. It is believed that this thread will protect their son’s from all evils. One unique thing about this puja is that it is performed in a cow-shed (gai guhal).
Besides the above listed festivals, other common religious festivals are observed throughout the Koshal region. These include Shiva Ratri, Dola Jatra, Durga Puja, Janmastami, Dipavali, Ganesh Puja and Saraswati Puja.
Shiva Ratri Mela at Huma and Titlagarh attracts a large numbers of devotees. Ratha Jatra is held at almost all central places of Koshal.
The most popular festivals celebrated by Muslims are Id-Ul-Fitre, Id-Ul-Juha and Muharram.
The Sikhs also celebrate the Birth Day of Guru Nanak.
The Christians celebrate their own festivals like Christmas, Good Friday, Easter etc.