Orissa holds a great cultural and traditional importance in the country. Agni utsav is also known as Agira Purnima. Agni Utsav is the festival that revolves around belief in the power of “Agni” – “Fire”. Agni Utsav is celebrated in Orissa, similar to lighting a bonfire on Lohri or Holi. The religious belief of the state is depicted through this festival, where enormous heaps of hay is laid out in the fields on the day of the celebrations which showcase the collective work and bonding among the villagers.
Agni Utsav is recognised as the national festival in the state of Orissa. It is an agricultural festival the farmers of the state with lots of religious fervor and a splash of colors with celebration styles varying from district to district and tribe to tribe. The tribal families starts preparing much in advance for the Agni Utsav festival.Traditions and rituals revolves around the Agni Utsav famous among the tribes and farmer family of Orissa. Starting week before, the women clean the home and the male members collect heaps of hay prior to a week to burn them on Agni Utsav Day. Farmers believe that burning the hay foretells about the crops throughout the year.The significance of the flames of the burning heap of hay bring in many predictions about crops.A westward tilt of the heap indicates floods; tilt on the eastern side means high tides coming to the farm ground. The fire flame tilting north is believed to be auspicious indicating good yield. The ritual and ceremony of offering prayers to the God of Fire is another part of the celebration. “Agnidev” – The “Fire God” would protect the crops from fire and hazards.
Agni Utsav has been the major attraction for International tourist and travelers from different states in India, Tours and Travel Management company are promoting Agni Utsav through the concept of “Village and Rural Tourism” and helping boost Orissa Tourism. Tourist witness and participate inlarge with the tribes and local farmers to celebrate this festival and experience the grass root feeling.
Agni Utsav is generally celebrated in Mid January to Mid February every year. The date of festival keeps changing every year.