Sitalsasthi is an important festival of Odisha, mainly celebrated in Sambalpur region. In 2017, Sitalsasthi date is May 30.
The celestial wedding of the divine couple Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is celebrated during Sitalsasthi festival. It was started 400 odd years ago. This Hindu festival is in the form of a carnival.
One nominated family acts as the father and mother of Parvati, and offers the hands of Parvati for marriage with Shiva. Since Shiva is ‘Swayam Bhu’ no one acts as his father and mother.
Shiva starts his marriage procession along with other Gods and Goddesses from his temple. Hanuman and Nrusingha(Nrisimha) takes charge and leads the procession to the bride’s residence. The family of the Goddesses welcome the barat procession (as we do in our marriages).
The idols are kept in a beautifully decorated palanquin, the father and mother and other relatives of Parvati performs the ‘Kanyadana’ and the marriage is solemnised. The next day the procession returns to the temple (Mandir Pravesh) with Parvati. Folk dance, folk music, different forms of other dances and music & different floats are the main attraction of this carnival.