‘KHUDURKUNI’ IS THE FESTIVAL OF SPINSTERS IN ODISHA :

With festivals jostling for space in the calendar over next few months,its celebration time for “Khudurkuni Osa starting from today.The festival is celebrated in the month of Bhadrab (August – September), every Sunday.  Traditionally, the festival is observed by unmarried girls belonging to business families inOrissa. Khudurkuni is considered as the Godess Managala who is an extension ofGoddess Durga . She is propitiated by offering of Khuda Bhaja (Left out particles of rice that are fried), Kantiali Kakudi (Cucumber having little thorns on it), Lia (fried paddy), Ukhuda(fried paddy sweetened by molasses) and coconut. However, the principal food-offering being Khuda which is said to be the favorite of the Goddess, the festival is named as “Khudarankuni” or popularly ‘Khudurkuni’ which means one who is very eager for khuda. Spinsters collect flowers and engage themselves in making garlands and decorating the place of worship since morning on every Sundays of the pious month.  The festival dates back to maritime era .Legend refers to the mystical story of Tapoi who belonged to a seafarer’s family and had seven brothers. While her brothers were out on voyage, she was mistreated by her in-laws and had nothing but khuda to eat. She offered these to the Goddess Mangala and prayed for safe return of her brothers. Her sincere prayers yield result and her brothers return safely to rescue her from her plight. The festival sets two ideals for girls who observe fast in the month of Bhadrab. One is to be courageous like Durga to fight evil forces and other to be patient like Tapoi and bear sufferings until you come out successful in life.  In villages generally the deity is worshiped in the Dhinkisala or the place where paddy is pounced. This place is plastered neatly with cow-dung and the image of the deity is installed. The floor is painted with floral despins known as Jhoti or Alpana. Garlands are made to hang like arches. The whole day passes with the arrangement and the rituals of worship commence in the evening. After the ritual, are over the girls recite musically the episode of Taapoi which is now available in print. Earlier this was handed down by oral tradition.  Though a traditional festival, Khudurkuni is still celebrated with much gaiety and fanfare not only in villages but Cities. This is one festival which has managed to withstand the ravages of time and is still popularly celebrated in Orissa.

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