Rural folk
art & Handicraft

Chitou Amabasya


Chitalagi or Chitou Amabasya is an important festival, which is observed most religiously in every Oriya home. In this day a special kind of cake known as Chitaupitha is prepared out of rice mixture, shredded coconut and sugar and steamed boiled in a shallow vessel. These cakes along with sweet khiri is buried in one corner of the field so as to appease the mother Earth to give a better result in the year. Unmarried girls also throw these cakes in the local pond to protect their farmer brother and father from the bite of snails that are profusely found in the soggy rain-fed fields. It is also an occasion for sharing the future harvesting season with your neighbours.

On this day, in the temple of Jagannath, the deity bears a golden mark (chita) on the forehead. A special variety of rice-cake known as Chitou pitha is given to the deity as food-offering. This variety is also prepared in every household of the Oriyas of the coastal districts. In rural areas this is more or less observed as an agricultural festival. On this 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.

In Sambalpur areas this festival is known as 'Harali kans'. People of the areas believe it to be a day of the witch, Tandei who moves in the dark to suck the blood of the children. To save children from her wrath mothers draw peculiar designs below the naval zone of the children before the night falls. As they believe that would scare away witch, a common variety of rice-cake Chakuli Pitha is offered to the witch to be appeased and thereafter the cake is taken by all.

Chitou Amabasya Nag Panchami
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