**Bhubaneswar: ** Pana Sankranti, also known as Maha Vishuba Sankranti, is the traditional new year day festival of Hindus in Odisha. The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the lunisolar calendar, as the first day of the traditional solar month of Mesha.
The day is named after ‘Pana’ the main drink prepared on this occasion, having not only religious significance but also bears significant scientific benefits.
According to Dr Debdas, “The wrath of summer is neutralized by the consumption of the ‘pana’ drink. In summers, there is fear of dehydration by excessive sweating. There are much chances dryness of skin and of contracting skin diseases in these weather conditions. It will also cause depression affecting our sleep. So, our ancestors gave it a religious bent and included all the necessary ingredients in the preparation of ‘pana’ to brave the fury of summers.”
He further identified the main two types of pana preparation and stated their benefits.
He said, “There are two types of ‘pana’. One is made with ‘chatua’( a powdered mixture of lia/khai, chuda, wheat, dried peas, ground nuts, pulses ) and the other is prepared my mashing fruits. Chatua pana is highly nutritional and has huge amount of iron. It also has a binding property and retains water. It is also easy to digest and is a great food for children. On the other hand, fruits pana prepared with guda is very healthy and has vitamins. It contains nutrients like vitamins, and organic compounds, including their tannins, calcium, phosphorous, fiber, protein, and iron.”
The festival is celebrated with visits to Shiva, Shakti, or Hanuman temples, as the day is considered to be the birthday of Hanuman. The darshan is followed by consumption of pana, the healthy energy drink.
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