Also known as the Pana Sankranti, the Maha Vishuba Sankranti is actually the new year for the people of Orissa.It is believed that the sun enters the Libra on this very day. It is generally celebrated by the Hindus and Buddhists of the Indian state of Orissa or Odisha. The day which is usually celebrated on the 14th of April every year is considered to be the birthday of Lord Hanuman. Hence, all those who celebrate this festival, make a visit to the temples of Lord Shiva. Lord Surya, or Lord Hanuman. Besides, fairs and various cultural programs, dances, etc. are organized on this day. Baths in holy rivers and visit various places of pilgrim heritage are also much observed on this day.Most surprisingly, in order to celebrate the Maha Vishuba Sankranti, priests in different temples across India indulge in a few activities that are indeed shocking. For example, at the Sarala temple, there is a fire-walking festival wherein the priests of the temple walk on hot coals.Traditional recipes also form an important part of the celebrations which are performed and conducted on this day. One such dish includes Pana which is essentially a mixture of different varieties of fruits, curd, sugar, as well as Bela, and water.Chhatua is another dish which is prepared for this festival and is enjoyed by one and all. On the last day of the Maha Vishuba Sankranti, the Meru Yatra marks the wrapping up of the celebrations which continue for a month.
There are different names bywhich the festival of Maha Vishuba Sankranti is known in different parts of the country. For example, the same festival is known as Vaisakhi by the Sikhs as well as the Hindus primarily in the Central part of India, Vishu in Kerala, Rongali Bihu in Assam, Thingyan in Burma, amongst others.