Cuttack: After a Covid hiatus of two years, water bodies across the State witnessed heavy crowds as people of all age groups gathered from late Monday night to observe the ritual of ‘Boita Bandana’ by floating miniature boats on the occassion of Kartik Purnima.
Especially at Gadagadia ghat on the banks of river Mahanadi in Cuttack, women and young children were seen floating tiny banana, paper or thermocol boats to remind past glory of Kalinga (Odisha).
In olden days the ‘Sadhbas’ (sea traders) used to go distant islands like Java, Sumatra and other South-East Asian islands for business. Women in the family bid them adieu on this day with a celebration on the banks of rivers and the Bay of Bengal.
Children are very fond of the ‘Boita Bandana’ ritual. The rhyming phrase that they keep humming while letting the boats float is: “aa ka ma boi, pana gua thoi, pana gua tora, masaka dharama mora”. It is actually a prayer to keep the mariners safe during their voyage with the blessings earned during the Kartik month.
Apart from the Hindus, Kartik Purnima also holds importance for Sikhs and Jains and is observed on Purnima Tithi (Full Moon Day) of Kartika, the eighth lunar month.
People worship Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi on this auspicious day. Kartik is considered the holiest month among all lunar months. According to the Gregorian calendar, Kartik Purnima falls in the month of November every year.
Kartik Purnima is also called the Deva-Diwali or Deva-Deepavali. According to a legend, it is believed that Lord Shiva killed a trio of Asura brothers, Tripurasura on this day by taking the avatar of Tripurari. When Tripurasura was killed, Gods were overjoyed. They celebrated the day of Kartik Purnima as Diwali and paid obeisance to Lord Shiva’s triumph over the demons.
Kartik Purnima is significant for the Jain and the Sikh communities. On this day Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh faith was born. This year, the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev will be celebrated. On this day, Jains go on a pilgrimage to Palitana, a holy site to worship Lord Adinath.