Bhubaneswar: Kartika Purnima, the full-moon day of the holy month of Kartika, is being celebrated with religious fervour across the State today.

People from different walks of life woke up early, bathed and visited temples to celebrate Kartik Purnima. They then congregated near water bodies to set afloat toy boats with lighted lamps (diya), betel leaves, flower, milk, supari, cracker, fruits and coins to mark a thousand years old boat festival called Boita Bandana, remembering the Odisha’s maritime history.

In ancient times, sea traders known here as ‘sadhabas’, would begin their sea voyages on the full moon day of Kartika month of the Hindu calendar to the Indonesian island of Bali.

The days are now gone, but people float tiny boats made out of cork and colour paper and perform the ritual ‘Boita Bandana’ (worshipping of voyage) every year to remember the past glory.

The festival also marks the end of a month-long abstinence from non-vegetarian food for most Odia families and the beginning of the week-long Bali Yatra in Cuttack which will be inaugurated today evening on the banks of Mahanadi river.

Sources said around 1,500 stalls and kiosks which will sell handicraft products and household articles, have been set up for the week-long fair.