Sitala Sasthi Festival Wishes Greetings . Sital Shasthi festival strictly prevalent among the people of western Odisha. It is believed that Lord Shiva became furious after Jagara Amavasya and he was cooled down only by marriage with Parvati. So, this marriage festival of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is called Sital (cool) Shasthi and is held on the sixth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Jyestha.
Since the days of yore, Odisha has been a seat of Shaivism. Bhubaneswar itself has about five hundred Shiva shrines dating back from the 6th-7th century A.D. In the early temples of Bharateswar and Parsurameswar, there are elaborate scenes of Shiva’s marriage with Parvati. It is therefore believed that this festival of Shiva’s marriage is very ancient and is being carried down through centuries past.
In almost all the villages of Odisha, there are temples of Lord Shiva, Parvati, and Vishnu. During this festival, the elderly of the village act as the parents of the bride (Parvati) and the bride-groom (Shiva), and all formalities of an Odia marriage are observed. In analogy with the society-marriages where somebody acts as a mediator, here, Vishnu, the God Himself takes the role.
At first, a proposal (written on palm-leaf) is sent from the bride’s side to the bridegroom’s father through Sevak who also carries Mahaprasad (Food offering of Lord Jagannath), coconut, betel nut, and a piece of new cloth as prevalent in marriage customs.
Sitala Sasthi Festival Wishes Greetings
With the Lord goes a procession of torch-bearers, drummers known as Dhol Nissan, and pipers. Thereafter, on the fifth day (Panchami) at past mid-night, Goddess Parvati goes to the temple of Lord Shiva in a procession where the marriage takes place with all Vedic formalities.
After the marriage is over a feast is arranged in which the Sevayats from both sides participate. The real festival takes place the next day in the night when the marriage procession is taken out with pomp and grandeur. The images or idols of Parvati and Vishnu are carried in a richly decorated palanquin (vimana) heading the procession. Shiva, seated on a bull follows them on a bullock cart.
At crossroads and important places the procession halts and there is a lavish display of fireworks, dancing, drumming, and various other kinds of merry-making.