Sitalsasthi celebrates the marriage of Hindu God Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is observed in the state of Odisha with grand celebrations. Sitalsasthi or Sital Sasthi is observed on the Shasthi (6th day) during the Shukla Paksha in the Jyestha month of the traditional Hindu calendar. Sitalsasthi 2020 falls on May 28, Thursday. It is celebrated during the end of summer. They call their Rain Gods to give them respite from the scorching heat of the Sun. Sitalsasthi began 400 years ago in Sambalpur after the king of Sambalpur brought Utkal Srotriya Vaidika Brahmins from Brahmin sasana villages of Puri district.

While the festival is observed across Odisha, the festivity in Sambalpur garners a lot of people. It is a three-day festival where a family is chosen to organise an event. A member of the family dress up as Goddess Parvati and propose marriage to Shiva. The festival is attended by eunuchs and is also referred to as Ardhanarishwara. According to the schedule for Sital Sasthi, Parvati’s family take her from temple to their home where ‘Rudrabhishek’ of Mahadev is performed. During this, women apply turmeric on each other as part of a ritual called Sital Sasthi.

Following which Lord Shiva’s 'Shringar Besa', another ritual is held which continues till evening. After 'Sandhya Aarti', rituals related to Lord Shiva are held. Then in the night, wedding procession of Lord Shiva begins.  The procession reaches early morning after which the divine wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is conducted as per Hindu traditions and rituals. Following which, devotees attend Hara-Parvati, a ritual for two whole days are held. This year, the festival will be celebrated in the Lingaraj temple premises without any procession. It will be observed following the guidelines of social distancing.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 26, 2020 08:10 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website