Chita Lagi Amavashya – An Auspicious Day Adorning Lord Jagannath with A Golden Mark On His Forehead!!
Odisha is state of profound traditional cultures and rich heritages. In Odia we have a saying “Bara masare tera parab” which literally means in 12 months of a Calendar there are at least 13 major festivals. It actually means that Odias observe many festivals apart from major festivals like Holi, Dasserah, Diwali etc. Another thing is in Odisha many festivals are associated with Lord Jagannath whose divine abode is Neelachal Dham i’e. Puri Jagannath Temple. Chitalagi Amavasya or Chitou Amavasya which falls on the new-moon day of the shravana is one of such festivals dedicated to the Lord Jagannath.
Actually Lord Jagannath is not only the presiding deity of Odisha but also the LIVING GOD of it. His every activity, small or large, is celebrated as a festival in Odisha.
Today is Chitalagi (Chitau) Amavasya observed in the Shraban or Shravan month in Orissa. It is associated with the Jagannath worship in this eastern state of India. On the Chitalagi Amavasya day, a special ritual is performed at Puri Jagannath Temple. The forehead of the Lord Jagannath along with his elder brother Balabhadra and younger sister Goddess Subhadra is adorned with a Golden Mark known as Chitta.
As I have already stated that every activity of lords celebrated as a festival, this is also an activity of the lords. During Rath Yatra, when the Lords travel on the Raths (Chariot) on public roads for nine days of visit to Gundicha temple (Their AUNT’S place) the golden semblance on the forehead of Lords are taken out. Then again the Golden Mark is decked to the forehead of the Lords on this auspicious day of Chita Lagi Amavashya.
No Odia festival goes by without a dish or delicacy exclusively associated with it. How come this Chitta Lagi Amavashya be an exception!! A special delicacy known as Chitau Pitha is offered as prasada/bhoga for the Deities at SriMandir this day.
It is also prepared on the day at almost all households and homes. It’s a simple delicacy made out of a batter of soaked rice and coconut and served with toppings of caramelized grated coconut, jaggery or just grated coconut. But it symbolizes a great culture of Odisha. And trust me it tastes great too.
In rural areas this is more or less observed as an agricultural festival. On this occasion the farmers worship the paddy-fields. After a purifying bath in the morning they go to their respective paddy-fields with Chittau Pitha (Pan Cakes made out of the batter of Soaked rice and grated coconut), flowers, milk etc and pray the fields to yield a good crop.
However it is an important festival in Puri Jagannath Temple. ‘Chita’ or decorating Lord Jagannath’s forehead with a golden mark is the main ritual of this Amabasya in Puri Jagannath Temple. Chitou Pitha’, a special rice recipe, is offered to Lord Jagannath on this day.
On the other hand Chitalagi Amavasya is observed as Hariyali Amavasya in North India, Chukkala Amavasya in Andhra Pradesh, Gatari Amavas in Maharashtra, Bhimana Amavasyaor Diwasi Gauri Puja in Karnataka.