Bhubaneswar: It’s Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon), Thursday and Dasami, the day when married women in Odisha observe Sudasa Brata by keeping fast the entire day and worshiping the goddess of wealth, Laxmi, for the well-being and prosperity of their family.
The most important aspect of the brata is the sacred thread, which women tie on their right arm after giving it a ritualistic dip in turmeric water. Ten knots, uttering 10 different names of Maa Lakshmi, are made on the thread. The women are required to keep the thread tied to the arm till the next Sudasha Brata, when it is replaced with a new one.
Ten seems to be the magic mantra of this festival as the goddess is offered 10 flowers, 10 manda pithas (cake), 10 chenna bhog, 10 duba (scutch) grass and as many gooseberry (bara koli) leaves and rice grains.
Early morning, mashed chenna or cottage cheese mixed with banana, grated coconut and jaggery made into 10 balls is offered to the goddess, 10 manda pithas in the noon and panaa bhog before dusk.
According to legends, Sudasa Brata is being observed by women since Satya Yug. Queen Ratnabati, wife of King Vikramasena, and Padmabati, minister Trikuteswar’s wife, once saw some Apsaras performing the rituals and enquired about its significance from them. When they explained how they invoked goddess Laxmi for prosperity, Ratnabati and Padmabati decided to observe it too on auspicious conjunction of Shukla Paksha, Thursday and Dasami.
Once Ratnabati found her sacred thread missing. Seeing his wife worried and not having food for three days, Trikuteswar approached the queen for an old brata. The queen was reluctant to give her brata, but the king insisted that she does and help Ratnabati break her fast.
Soon they fell on hard times, the king lost his kingdom and was forced to beg. They took up a job at a merchant’s house. The king worked in the farmland and the queen took care of household chores. Once the king carried food for the merchant to his farmland, only to find it missing. The merchant too realised that the king has been cursed. The next year, the queen along with the merchant’s wife observed Sudasa Brata and soon things began to look up for them. The king got back his kingdom and his luck.
Samba Dashami was also observed in Odia households today. On this day, mothers invoke Sun God for good health and long life of their children.
Khiri, rasagola, jhilli, chhena gaja, curd, malpua, rasabali, rasmalai, pithas (rice cakes) like manda, kakara, enduri, arisha, biri ladoo, chunchipatara, chakuli, poda, and other items like chhenaguda, dhanu muaan, khichdi, puli, tarkari (curry) make for sumptuous offering to the god.