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Prathastami (ପ୍ରଥମାଷ୍ଟମୀ)

Prathamastami (Odia: ପ୍ରଥମାଷ୍ଟମୀ or ପଢୁଆଁଷ୍ଟମୀ) is a rite held in Odisha for the life and prosperity of the eldest child who is offered a lighted lamp ovation by the senior female relatives followed by elaborate rituals during which the Mantras are recited. The celebration falls on the dark half eighth day - Ashtami - of the month of Margashirsha according to the calendar followed in Odisha, occurring after the eight days of Kartik Purnima.

The ritual involves Aarathi (ଆରତୀ) of the eldest child by mother and relatives in which the maternal uncle sends the items necessary for the ritual, and Ganesha, Shashti Devi and the family deity are worshipped. Sathi Devi, the Goddess who protects the children from all the kinds of evils.

Before the first-borns get honoured, the mother and all other elderly women of the family offer all the prepared cuisine (Pitha (ପିଠା) and Khiri(ଖିରି)) to Sathi Devi first. Then they light the lamp (Arati (ଆରତୀ) with Deepa (ଦୀପ)) before the Goddess. Followed by this the first-borns get honoured.

The social significance of this festival is that the first-borns are brighter and it is ultimately they who take up the burden of the family after the death of the parents. According to psychologists, the first-borns are mostly healthy, obedient and tradition-bound. Therefore, the family tradition is maintained through them. For such obvious reasons, the eldest child is honoured to occupy the respectable place in the family after the death of the parents.

A special variety of cake (Pitha) is prepared on Prathamashtami called ‘Enduri’ (ଏଣ୍ଡୁରୀ ପିଠା). The cake is offered to the Goddess of Sathi and then taken by all the members of the family. Besides, other cakes like Haladi Patra Pitha (ହଳଦୀପତ୍ର ପିଠା), Khiri (a delicious sweet dish), etc. are also prepared for this festival by the womenfolk of the family.

You could get the full detail about 'Enduri Pitha' from the blog of Swetapadma Satpathy. Click on the highlighted link to get the recipe. Ashish Kumar Nayak also wrote an amazing blog about the Preparation Process of Enduri Pitha.


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