Odisha is a state of festivals. Many historical reasons are attributed to the start and end of each festival. Pana Sankranti is one of them. One of the most celebrated festivals in Odisha. Pana Sankranti is also known as the Mahavishuva Sankranti and the Odia New Year. This festival marks the beginning of summer, and is accompanied by a traditional drink, Bela Pana. So, that’s why the festival is named as Pana Sankranti.
The importance of Bela Pana on Pana Sankranti
Folklore states that drinking Bela Pana symbolically represents the importance of water in sustaining life on earth. It symbolises that water should be provided to all in the scorching summer months.
So, people across Odisha celebrate the festival with traditional fervour and joy.
On Pana Sankranti, a sweet drink filled with an earthen pot which is known as Pana. Then the pot is hung over a Tulsi plant.
A small hole is made at the lower part (bottom) of the pot to allow the sweet water to fall drop by drop on Tulsi plant. It means this process represents the upcoming rainy season. It also spreads a consciousness to save the sacred Tulsi plant.
A mixture of horse gram flour, banana and curd is offered to the Basil plant. And after that it is distributed with the family members.
Special offerings are also made to the gods and goddesses so that the New Year brings joy and happiness.
Bela Pana – A Traditional Odia summer drink
In Odisha Bela Pana is offered to Lord Jagannath as prasad or this is a summer juice and it act as an antidote for sun stroke also. This is one of the healthy and natural juice which keeps our stomach cool and filled, and guard us against the summer heat.
To identify the ‘Bael/Bela’ is ripe or not, first smell the fruit if it smells sweet then snap the stem off the pit and if the pit is orange its good and ripe, but if its yellowish it’s still not ready.
A ripe wood apple or Bael has laxative properties and is considered very good for digestion.
Bael fruit juice is best remedy to reduce constipation and stomach pain.
Drinking this regularly for 2-3 months will reduce sub-chronic constipation. You can drink twice a day to ease stomach pain for kids.
Add some black pepper and salt to the juice to remove toxins from the intestines.
How to make Bela Pana
- Ripe bela/bael- 2 medium
- Sugar- 12 tbsp
- Black pepper powder- 1 tbsp
- Green cardamom powder- 1 tbsp
- Water- 4 cups (as per consistency)
- Break the bela and extract all the pulp to a bowl using spoon.
- Mix some water to these extracted pulps. Mix properly by using hands.
- Now using a strainer, strain out all the seeds and the coarse remaining.
- Keep the fruit pulp in a bowl.
- Add sugar, pepper powder, cardamom powder and water.
- The drink shouldn’t not be so much watery. So do not add much water.
- Mix properly till the sugar dissolves.
- Serve it like this or refrigerated served chilled.