A day wrapped up with sweet delicacies, familial delights and the recollections of Odisha’s rich and diverse traditions – Prathamastami, occurs on the Ashtami Tithi (eighth day) of Krishna Paksha in the Odia month of Margashirsha (November-December).
On this day, the celebratory process in Bhubaneswar’s Lingaraj Temple marks the journey of the Lord to the temple of his believed maternal uncle and aunt in an embellished palanquin. Following the same context, the eldest child of the family is either visited by or visits his/her maternal uncle who is called Astamibandhu.
For the well-being of the eldest child, the females of the family worship them by chanting Aarti and the uncle offers new clothes and a delectable meal to honour the ideals of obedience and protection of one’s own family.
The occasion’s most significant delicacy is Enduri Pitha, steamed inside turmeric leaves with a filling of chhenna, jaggery or sugarcane juice and coconut shavings.
The season witnesses turmeric yield in abundance and thus, with this dish, the day also celebrates the harvest, as it did in the earlier times.
Be it a day to celebrate the harvest or a day of the firstborns, Prathamastami upholds the virtues of togetherness and family ethos, and who better than the eldest child of the house would do so.
In their most subtle way, all these festivals are the little reminders for all of us to ensure that our world is a unified space, full of compassion for one another.