Millions celebrate Orissa’s maritime tradition

November 13th, 2008 - 12:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Nov 13 (IANS) Millions of people in Orissa Thursday bathed in rivers and ponds, visited temples and floated tiny boats carrying lighted lamps to mark the state’s rich maritime tradition.According to folklore, Oriya traders begin their sea voyages on the full moon day of the Kartika month to the Indonesian island of Bali. To mark that, the ritual called Boita Bandana (worshipping of voyage) is performed across the state.

The ritual is a throwback to the ancient practice when sailor’s wives offered prayers for them before they set sail.

To mark the tradition, people visit temples after bathing in rivers and ponds. They then set afloat miniature boats made of paper and banana tree trunks carrying lit earthen lamps.

Thousands of devotees visited the famed Jagannath temple in Puri, about 56 km from here, Thursday. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple was opened early morning.

According to a belief, the last five days of the month of Kartika called Panchaka are considered sacred and the last day - Kartika Purnima - is considered most auspicious.

It is believed that those who bathe in rivers and visit temples early in the morning on this day get absolved of their sins.

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