Paheli Pausha, When Girl Power Is Celebrated In Every Odia Household

Sambalpur: Margasira Masa (month) sets giving way to Pausha Masa (month), the first day of the month is celebrated as ‘Paheli Pausha’. Normally, when we talk about the festival, many puja rituals comes to our mind. Here, the scene is totally different.

This festival is all about giving a treat to the daughter or sister of the family. It is believed that on this day and throughout the month, if you treat the daughter or sister of family well and fulfill their wish, then Goddess Laxmi will be happy with you.

Jayadev Das priest of Jagannatha Temple said that Goddess Laxmi during Pausha Masa goes to her father’s place at Kuber Bhawan. So, Gundicha Mausi comes to take care of the kitchen. Therefore, during this period, Lord Jagannath does not get much variety in the Mahaprasad.

Since Laxmi is in her parental place during this period, people in western Odisha believe that all girls are incarnation of the Goddess and feeding them well with different delicacies will make Her happy. “Lia (fried paddy), ladoo, muri (puffed rice) laddu and sesame ladoo are considered a must along with other food items,” said 70-year-old Madhuri Mishra.

“In our childhood days, our mamu (maternal uncle) would serve us different variety of ladoo, pitha (pancakes) and other eateries. Lia ladoo has significance since consumption of lia is prohibited during Margasir masa. It is, therefore, a must-have food during Pausha Masa,” she added.

Mamta said that Laxmi Puja is performed with all the customs and rituals in her family. “On this day, I ask my two daughters their wishlist and make all the efforts to fulfil them. This month is dedicated to my daughters. When my daughters get up, the first thing they say is what they would like to eat on that day. The list gets endless,” she said.

Some of our relatives, who don’t have daughters, send food delicacies to my house for my daughters throughout the month, she said, adding that all types of jaggery ladoo are given special importance during this festival.

Abhipsa shared her childhood memory. “This month used to be a golden month for us. We three sisters used to get a lot of attention from our close and extended family. We used to get so many kinds of  delicacies like bara, singara, pitha, ladoo varieties, gaajar halwa, dahi vada , gupchup and chaat from my Mamu, Mai, Mausi, Kaka, Piusa and neighbours every day during Pausha Masa.”

The flavour and emotions linked to this festival are very unique. Girls are given a status equal to that of Goddess Laxmi for a month. It is also a very positive aspect and a tribute to girl power. Here, mothers give priority to the choice of food of girls and every wish of their is fulfilled. This is a very positive message for the society and should be preserved at all cost.

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