Right after the winter equinox, as we prepare ourselves to welcome the lovely Spring season after flying countless colorful kites on Makar Sankranti, at Odisha many households gear up for their auspicious festival dedicated to the Sun God called Samba Dashami.

This special festival which is unique to Odia culture is usually celebrated on the 10th day of the Sukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in Paush month (December – January) as per the traditional Odia calendar.

As a land of 12 months and 13 festivals, Odisha is a mother of unique traditions, simple and tasty cuisine and festivals that carry a deep social message. On the occasion of Samba Dashami, we bring you some unique takeaways from this festival:

The festival of penance and healing

According to legends, this festival is named after Samba, the son of Lord Krishna, who was cursed and afflicted by leprosy was cured by Surya, the Sun God, after 12 years of penance at the Konark temple in Odisha.

Samba Dashami symbolizes the larger message of how there is hope after every difficulty and no matter how bad the situations go, after passing through tough situations in life, one can finally find hope and healing just like Samba did.

The festival that celebrates the love of mothers for their children

While in India, most of us celebrate Mother’s Day with great enthusiasm, did you know that during this Odia festival, mothers across all economic classes and age-groups perform special rituals dedicated to the Sun-God for the health and well-being of their children?

The mothers prepare a variety of delicious dishes for the Sun God during sunrise, noon and sunset and read the text of ‘Samba Dasami Brata Katha’ while praying for the well being of their children.

This festival captures the essence of the love and devotion of a mother for her children, something that we can all choose to celebrate and honor.

The festival that celebrates Odisha’s unique culinary traditions with seasonal vegetables and pithas

This unique festival also celebrates the rich culinary diversity of Odia culture where women prepare a variety of items including: Khichdi(with rices and lentils), Udiya Puli, Ghadghadia Tarkari (a curry made of seasonal vegetables and lentils) along with a variety of steamed cakes or pithas like Manda Pitha, Kakara Pitha, Arisha Pitha, Biri Ladoo and sweet treats. 

Each dish dedicated to the Sun God is offered on behalf of each family member of the household for whom prayers are offered. 

Another interesting aspect is that during noon, the women see the reflection of the Sun through the bowl of turmeric water and dedicate their offerings. 

During the evenings as a conclusion to the festivities, the special Budha Chakuli(a thick steamed cake) and Ghadghadia Tarkari  are offered to the Lord of death.

The festival that brings the family together

As a festival that has the essence of penance, healing and the unconditional love of our mothers, Samba Dashami is also an amazing opportunity for Odia families to come together at the onset of Spring.

It is the perfect festival to savor the tasty seasonal vegetables, lentils and pithas while spending the day worshipping the Sun God after many gloomy months of winter.