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Pratham Astami

Pratham Astami 2010 is November 29, 2010.

Pratham astani is celebrated in the month of Margasira which corelates to November-December.As being one of the most popular festivals in Orissa, it is widely observed throughout this Indian state.

The eldest child of the family is honored is on this day. The child is given new clothes to wear. Sasthi Debi, the Goddess who protects children, is prayed to by the mother of the child and other elderly ladies.The prayers are for the childs long life and good health.Another ritual is the preparation of a special variety of cake called ` enduri`.This ritual also involves the offering of the cake to the Goddess of Sasthi before being taken by all.According to the traditional way, the child is made to sit on a wooden pedestal called the Pidha. An earthen pitcher, full of water is placed in front of the child .The pitcher lies on handfulls of paddy and a branch of mango leaves and a coconut is placed above it. The prayers to Sasthi debi is then done after all these arrangements have been made.

The first-borns are considered brighter and also the one to take up the burden of the family ultimately. In this, lies the social significance of the festival. Also they are considered the mostly healthy, obedient and tradition-bound. Therefore, the family tradition is maintained through them. For these reasons the eldest child is the one who is honored on this festival day and expected to occupy the respectable place of the head of the family after the death of the parents.

Amisha Patel
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