This is exclusively an agricultural festival held on the third day of the Hindu year. On this day the farmer ceremonially starts sowing seeds in the field, especially paddy. Early in the morning, farmers in their respective homes arrange the materials for the ritual. After taking ablution in a river or tank they wear new clothes and carry the seeds in new baskets, In the field offerings are made to Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth which the farmers do it themselves. Then they sow seeds ceremonially praying the Goddess for a rich bumper crop. In the evening feasts (strictly vegetarian) are arranged in respective homes. In western Orissa this festival is called ‘Muthi Chhuan’. Eating of green-leaves (Shag) is forbidden for the day. It is observed by all farmers irrespective of caste and creed.
The famous Chandan Yatra of Lord Jagannath which is observed in various other shrines of Orissa starts from this day. Moreover, from this auspicious day the carpenters start building the cars (Ratha) of Lord Jagannath, Balabadra and Subhadra.
On this day women also worship ‘Sasthi Debi’ popularly called ‘Sathi Duchhei’. The Goddess is said to be the guardian of children. She has also the power to bestow the women with children. Therefore, she is propitiated with great devotion.
Religious scriptures testify that Ganga, the sacred river of India landed on the Earth on this day from Heaven. She is the perennial source of water which is the need for agriculture. Therefore, this auspicious day was chosen to start sowing seeds.