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Prathamastami: The Festival Of Prathamas (First-Borns)

by Swati Sahoo
Prathamastami: The Festival Of Prathamas (First-Borns)

Most of us have seen the viral Instagram reel saying “There’s something special about the oldest, they were born into that role for a reason, that wasn’t a coincidence, they were supposed to come first, they came into the world to turn yours upside-down, they are the leaders, they are nurtures..” & that’s true. And to celebrate the first-borns we Odias have the festival called “Prathamastami”. It is celebrated with great pomp & show all over Odisha.

Prathamastami falls on the Ashtami Tithi of the Hindu calendar’s Margasira month in the Krishna paksha.

This usually takes place in November or December. Prathamastami was celebrated today in 2021, and firstborns received all of the pampering associated with a birthday.

What is the reason to celebrate Prathamastami?

Prathamastami is a festival that honours firstborn children.

After parents, it is believed that firstborns are the next in line to care for a family. In the event that both parents die, the firstborns take on the family’s responsibilities and look after its welfare. The firstborn are also referred to as podhuan.

What rituals happen on Prathamastami?

Mothers create turmeric leaf-wrapped pitha, also known as Enduri Pitha, on the day of Prathamastami.

Firstborns are given new garments. These new garments, as well as sweets and other delicacies, are given to them by their maternal uncle or Mamu, also known as Ashtami Bandhu.

The youngsters also go to their maternal uncle’s house for a feast of mua, dalma, and pitha, among other things.

According to mythology, Lord Krishna and Balarama visited their maternal uncle Raja Kansa in a similar fashion, dressed in new garments, and were honoured upon their arrival.

What celebrations are done done on the eve of Prathamastami?

During Prathamastami, Lord Lingaraj rides in a palanquin out of his shrine and momentarily stops at the Papanashini tank on his route to Kapila Matha, his maternal uncle’s house.

On this day, his maternal uncle Lord Baruneswar and aunt goddess Banadevi look up to him with tremendous admiration.

Farmers also worship the goddess Soubhagini for blessing them with healthy produce and children. The goddess is also given the first Dhana, or rice, of the season, which has just been harvested.

As a consequence, Prathamastami is also known as Soubhagini Ashtami. Due to an ancient practise of worshipping to Lord Bhairava on this day, it is known as Kala Bhairava Ashtami in many regions.

What food & delicacies are prepared to celebrate this festival?

All Prathamastamis, after all, are incomplete without a range of foods and cuisines. The majority of the offerings presented on Prathamastami are made of rice. Enduri Pitha, an extended pitha formed inside the turmeric leaf, is one of the most well-known offerings.

It is stuffed with jaggery or cottage cheese and shredded coconut.

People like it just as it is, or with matar ki sabzi and chana sabzi.

The scent of the turmeric leaf lingers over the pitha, making it unique and popular with both children and adults. People also consume a lot of sweets and pitha made from fresh sugarcane juice, some with potato filling, and kheer made with the first rice harvested.

What is special about this festival & how it always stays in our heart?

Prathamastami is a festival that celebrates the children’s relationship to their maternal side of the family, as well as the duty that firstborns bear for their parents. Getting them new clothes or gifts is simply one component of a routine to show them how special they are, but it is not the only one.

In many families, the second kid is honoured just as much as the first, and why not? It’s like the children’s second birthday. Prathamastami is a joyous day celebrated by children and firstborns in particular. Mothers demonstrate their enduring love for their children by preparing numerous delicacies for them. Families get together, and everyone indulges in a bit more sweet on that particular day.




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