Bhubaneswar: Kartika Purnima is a sacred festival of Orissa, celebrated in the month of Kartik. It is a practice among Oriyas to give up non-vegetarian food such as fish, meat and egg during the entire month of Kartik.

However, those who are not in a position to abstain from non-vegetarian foods during the entire month, have the option to give it up for five days beginning from Panchuka.There is a popular proverb in Oriya which says that even the fish-hunting bird crane does not touch fish during these five days.

Kartika Purnima Festival in Orissa marks the culmination of all the religious festivities held in the month of Karthik, which is considered the most auspicious month of the 12 months in a calendar year, held on the full moon day in November – December.

Kartika Purnima is significant to the ancient history of Orissa. This reminds the maritime glory of the State. In olden days the ‘Sadhabas’ (Sea traders) used to sail off to distant islands like Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Ceylon etc. for their trade by huge boats (‘Boita’). The women of the community were giving them a hearty send off on this day. The days are now gone, but the memory is still alive. Now, people float tiny boats made out of cork and coloured paper or bark of the banyan tree while reminiscing the past glory. This is called “Boita Bandana”.