Festivals in Odisha piggyback loads of lively entertainment, merry-making and influx of nostalgia. Each of them is quite prudent owing to interesting stories dated back to ancient times. One such popular festival in the state is Khudurukuni Osha. It is also widely addressed as Bhalukuni Osha.
It usually falls in the month of Bhadrab and is observed for five consecutive Sundays. Goddess Mangala is the primary centre of attraction during this time. She is worshipped by young damsels of the house. The girls pray for the safety, prosperity and good health of their brothers. This commemoration delineates the sanctity and beauty of brother-sister relationship.
Girls wake up early in the morning, take bath and quickly frame a collection of different kinds of flowers. After that, they offer prayers to the Sun god by constructing small temples of sand, consequently decorating it with turmeric powder and flowers. They stitch impressive garlands for Goddess Mangala to be idolized in the evening. The young ladies also chant hymns and recite prayers in praise of the glory of Maa Mangala. Khuda Bhaja and Ukhuda are the vital offerings made to the goddess.
It is believed that in creaky times, Odisha traders travelled far and wide by means of ships, called Boitas, for business purpose. Family members bid them farewell and implore god for their good health and safe homely return. Celebration mirth is at its peak and mythological significance talks about Tapoi, in whose memory the festivity is rejoiced.
Tapoi was the only daughter of her parents and the youngest child after her seven elder brothers. They harmonized to an affluent, well-off trader family. Being the only daughter and the only sister, she was very well pampered by her parents and brothers. All her supplications were met in no time. Once, she conjured for a moon-shaped ornament made of gold, known as golden moon, to which her family complied to after certain hesitation. Both her parents died thereafter. The family’s financial condition deteriorated and all her brothers went out for trading when the time of maritime expedition punched the clock. They instructed their wives to take good care of their lovely sister.
But Tapoi’s sister-in-laws were influenced by a Brahmin widow’s delusive ideas. They started ill-treating Tapoi selfishly. Tapoi survived the inhuman torture and impassively waited for her brothers return. While wandering one day, Tapoi caught a glimpse of some girls worshipping Maa Mangala. The young girls advised Tapoi to pray to Maa Mangala devotedly and seek her blessings to get rid of all her sufferings. She started fasting on Sundays and fervently beseeched for the safe return of her brothers. She also offered Khuda to the goddess as prasad.
Her prayers were answered in due time and her distress faded away when her brothers returned. Acknowledging their sisters’ plight, they finalized to teach their wives a lesson. They festooned Tapoi as a goddess and briefed their housewives to visit the ships and welcome them back home. Tapoi took vengeance by chopping off each of her sister-in-laws’ nose. From that day, Maa Mangala is revered by young girls for the well-being of their brothers and this marked the initiation of Khudurukuni Osha.