Agni Utsav: Celebrations
Agni Utsav is the festival mainly celebrated by the farmers of Odisha (Orissa). The festival holds special importance for farmers as rituals associated with the festival are believed to be helpful for farmers. Many prior preparations are made for the festival. Whole family get indulge in the planning for the festival.
Females of the family start cleaning their houses, a week before the festival and males collect straws to be burn on the Agni Utsav day. The entire village is cleaned by the people before the Agni Utsav.
As per the name of the festival, “Agni Dev” – the God of Fire, is worshiped on the day and large bundles of dried grasses or straw heaps are burnt on this festival. Rituals are observed to protect the crops from fire or weather hazards.
On the day of Agni Utsav, the gathered straws from each family are collected in the village making huge heaps of hay.
Then, all people gather in village and the heap of straws is burnt with a fire. All people gather and see the hay burning while enjoying together with family and friends.
Agni Utsav: Significance
Farmers in Orissa believe that burning heap of dried grass on the day of Agni Utsav help them to predict about their crops in the coming year. The straw heaps are burnt and the direction of the straw while burning is believed to predict the next year’s crop. Following predictions are made on the basis of direction of flame:
- An eastward tilt reflects high tides and entry of saline waters into the fields.
- A westward tilt predicts floods
- A tilt towards the Northeast means good crops.
Agni Utsav: Time of Celebration
Every year the festival is celebrated in Mid January to Mid February. The date varies each year.