The smell of freshly harvested paddy and the first wind of winter mark the beginning of an interesting festival in Odisha, a remote state of India on the coast of Bay of Bengal. The beautiful golden paddy fields and early morning dew on blooming marigolds tell the saga of the mythical legend behind “manabasa Gurubar” (worshiping first harvest of paddy on Thursdays).
Inspired by the mythical legend, Manabasa Gurubar (Thursdays) is celebrated with all the enthusiasm by people here. It is the worship of Goddess Lakshmi in the month of Margasira (November-December) as per the traditional Oriya Calendar. The belief is that on every Manabasa Gurubar (Thursdays), Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, visits every home.
It also is the worship of the first harvest of paddy of the year. Rice is the staple food in Odisha and the first harvest brings about festive sentiments and the Odias equate it with Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Before the festival starts women clean their houses thoroughly. On that particular day they get up long before sunrise, clean the house (It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi never visits a house if it is untidy and dirty ), take bath and make alpana (it is an art form) in front of the house. Alpana is mostly made of rice paste.
In the form of alpana women make small foot marks of Lakshmi to invite her into the house. It is important to point the foot marks inwards indicating for her to step that way.
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