The desire to go abroad and do well is not unique to Punjabis. The Odiyas too have a long history of it.And on this Saturday, when Punjabis will be celebrating Gurpurb, residents of the tricity hailing from Odisha will celebrate Boita Bandhana.In olden days, sea traders from Odisha — called sadhabas — used to sail to distant lands like Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Ceylon on huge boats (called boita).For their trip to be safe and successful, the women would see them off on the auspicious day of Kartik Purnima.
To commemorate those adventures on the high seas, Odiyas today float small boats made of cork, paper or thermocol in nearby ponds and rivers.“Members of the community from the tricity will launch 50 boats — small and big — at 6 am on November 4. For this, a small pond has been dug up on the premises of Shri Jagannath Temple, Sector 31-D, Chandigarh,” said priest Lakshminarayan.“After that, a team from Gaudiya Muth, Sector 20, Chandigarh, will conduct kirtan. That will be followed by bhandara at 1 pm,” said Sushant Kumar Nayak, general secretary of the temple.“The month of Kartik is special to the Odiyas. A large majority of us don’t consume non-vegetarian food in this month. Even the remaining few give up eggs, fish and meat for the last five days of Kartik. This period is called Panchuka,” said Sushant.