Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 2:
Chitalagi amabasya is one of many key rituals performed at the Jagannath temple in the month of Shravan. On this day, the foreheads of the three presiding deities of the 12th century shrine are beautifully decorated with Chitas (ornaments of the foreheads) made of gold, diamond, emerald and sapphire.
This ritual, believed to have originated in 13th century is also observed as Chittau amabasya in Puri and Ganjam. Named after Chittau pitha (traditional delicacy made out of rice and coconut), which is offered to the holy deities on this auspicious day, it is also an agrarian festival.
Farmers worship their fields and offer Chittau pitha to the mother Earth in anticipation of bumper produce. Across Baleswar, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar, this festival is observed as Gendakata amabasya. Genda which means snails in Odia tend to grow in the farmlands in rainy season. For this reason, it is believed that the offering would satisfy them and they would not harm the farmer while he goes out to his fields. Moreover, as the sea usually swells in the rainy season, this festival is also dedicated to lord Varun, the hindu God of ocean to protect inhabitants from floods.