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Dola Purnima – The Significance and history of Dola Purnima #Odisha #Festival #Holi

           dola purnimaDola Purnima or Holi is a popular festival of Odisha. It is the full-moon day in the month of Falguna (March). Through the festival the spring is welcomed and enjoyed with mirth and merriment. This festival has been referred to in the puranical texts as Basantotsaba or the spring-festival. Some scriptures testify that the Madanotsaba, the festival held in honour of Madana or the Cupid was later transformed as the Dolatsaba or swing-festival of Krishna. Therefore, Krishna is propitiated on this occasion as Madanamohana. Description of the festival as Dolatsaba finds mention in a number of puranas and other Sanskrit texts.0

        The Padma Purana says, “One is expiated of all sins, who gets a vision of Krishna swaying in the swing.” Though the festival of Holi is observed for a day with mirth and merriment all over the country, the festival is celebrated for five days in Odisha.

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“Dolecha Dologovindam, Chapecha Madhausudhanam
Rathetu Bamanam Drustwa, Punarjanma Nalabhyate”

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History Of Dola Purnima :-

Dola Parba ra Subhechha......

“Dola Purnima” is a popular festival in the coastal districts of Odisha. Lord Jagannath is worshiped as the name of Dolagovinda  in this festival. On this day  Odia calendar (Panji) becomes ready and it is worshiped on  Dolabedi infront of Dolagovind . It is the full-moon day in the month of Falguna. Through the festival the spring is welcomed and enjoyed with fun and happiness. This festival has been referred as “Basantotsaba” or the spring-festival in mythology. Some scriptures  testify that the “Madanotsaba “, the festival held in honour of ‘Madana’ or the Cupid was later transformed as the “Dolatsaba” or swing-festival of Krishna. Therefore, Krishna is propitiated on this occasion as “Madanamohana”. Description of the festival as Dolatsaba finds mention in a number of ‘Puranas’ and other Sanskrit texts. The ‘Padma Purana’ says, “One is expiated of all sins, who gets a vision of Krishna swaying in the swing.”

Significance of Dola :-

                           An ancient Hindu myth is associated with celebration of  Dola. There was once a demon king by the name of  Hiranyakashyap who won over the kingdom of earth. He was so egoistic that he commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship him. But to his great disappointment, his son Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana and refused to worship his father. Hiranyakashyap tried several ways to kill his son Prahlad but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap.
                For, Hiranyakashyap knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed. Treacherous ly, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire. The legend has it that Holika had to pay the price of her sinister desire by her life. Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. Prahlad, who kept chanting Vishnu Nama all this while, came out unharmed, as the lord blessed him for his extreme devotion.
             Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika. And, is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil. Holi is also celebrated as the triumph of a devotee. As the legend depicts that anybody, howsoever strong, cannot harm a true devotee. And, those who dare torture a true devotee of god shall be reduced to ashes.

When Dola Purnima Happened :-
It starts from the tenth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Falguna (Feb-March) known as Fagu ‘Dasami’. Smearing the heads with Abira (a violet coloured powder) the people take round the idols of Madanamohana in richly decorated palanquins known as Veemana. The procession is led by village drummers, pipers and the Sankirtana Mandalis. The procession halts in front of each household and the deity is offered Bhog. The daily rounds of the deity for the four days is called Chachery. On the final day of the purnima the celebration culminates in a swing-festival for the deities.

How Odisha People used to celebrate Dola Purnima :-

The idols carried in veemanas from a number of villages assemble in an important place where swings are fixed on a platform. They are made to swing to the accompaniment of devotional music sung in chorus. In olden days the beginning of the new year vvas calculated from the spring-season. After the swinging festival of the deities, the Ganaka or Jyothisha (astronomer-cum-fortune teller) reads out the new Odia almanac and narrates the important events that are to take place during the year. For this reason, some are of opinion that this festival is purely to celebrate the new year.

On the fourteenth day of the fortnight there is a function in which a straw-hut is set to fire amidst much amusement and excitement. This is known as ‘Holipoda’ (burning of Holi). The legend about it is that, Holi was the most beautiful sister of Hiranyakashipu, the demon-king. As an ardent devotee of Shiva she got the boon that she would never die of drowning or burning. Inspite of all heinous attempts Hiranyakashipu couldn’t kill his son Prahlada, the devotee of Vishnu Then he planned to burn him to ashes. As Holi would never get burnt she was asked to walk into the blazing fire with the child in her arms. Surprisingly the child came out unhurt but Holi was burnt to death. Enraged at this Hiranya asked Shiva about the inefficacy of His boon. Then Shiva replied, “I granted her the boon to protect herself, not to kill anybody.” As a reminiscent to this, the Holipoda is celebrated and the next day is the festival of colours ‘Holi’, in which people smear colour powders on each other’s face and head and squirt coloured waters.
Dola Melana :-
There is much fun and merriment in the festival. In some places the burning of the straw hut is known as Mendhapodi or the burning of a ram. A legend attached to it says that a demon known as Mesha was causing terror in the Heaven and Earth, Gods as well as human beings prayed Krishna to rescue them from his atrocities. Krishna killed and burnt him to ashes. It is, therefore to reminiscent this event that a hut is burnt which represents the abode of the demon. In many places of the State big fairs are arranged where idols of the deity are assembled. These fairs are called ‘Melana’. The Veemanas of the surrounding villages are placed in a row for public view .Keen competition is observed in the decoration of the veemanas. When all the expected veemanas reach the place, display of fire-works takes place and this is watched by thousands of enthusiastic crowd. In the fairs agricultural implements, commodities, household articles and furniture are bought and sold. Such Melanas or Fairs continue till the month of Chaitra in different places of the district of Nayagarh  Cuttack, Puri and Ganjam.

The procession is led by village drummers, pipers and the ‘Sankirtana Mandalis’. The procession halts in front of each household and the deity is offered ‘Bhog’. The daily rounds of the deity for the four days are called “Chachery”. On the final day of the Purnima the celebration culminates in a swing-festival for the deities. The idols carried in Veemanas from a number of villages assemble in an important place where swings are fixed on a platform. They are made to swing to the accompaniment of devotional music sung in chorus. (Src :- Odisha.govt.in)

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