Why Ratha yatra is Celebrated?
Ratha Yatra is celebrated for various reasons, each holding its own significance and symbolism. Here are some of the 5 main reasons why Ratha Yatra is celebrated:
Commemoration of Lord Jagannath’s Journey: Ratha Yatra is primarily celebrated to commemorate the journey of Lord Jagannath, along with his siblings Balabhadra and Subhadra, from the Jagannath Temple to the Gundicha Temple. It is believed that Lord Jagannath visits his aunt’s place during this time, and the journey represents his annual sojourn.
The Unity of All Devotees: Ratha Yatra is a festival that brings together people from different walks of life, irrespective of their social status, caste, or creed. It emphasizes the unity and equality of all devotees in the eyes of the Lord. Pulling the chariots during the procession is seen as a collective effort, symbolizing the harmony and togetherness among devotees.
Spiritual Merit and Blessings: Participating in the Ratha Yatra procession and pulling the chariots is considered an act of immense devotion and service. It is believed that by doing so, devotees can earn great spiritual merit and receive blessings from Lord Jagannath. The act of pulling the chariots is seen as an opportunity to come closer to the divine and seek divine grace.
Liberation and Salvation: It is believed that witnessing or participating in the Ratha Yatra can bring liberation and salvation. Devotees consider it a sacred occasion where they can connect with the divine and experience spiritual upliftment. It is believed that the darshan (sight) of Lord Jagannath during the Ratha Yatra can cleanse one’s soul and pave the way for spiritual enlightenment.
Cultural and Historical Significance: Ratha Yatra is deeply rooted in the cultural and historical heritage of Odisha. It has been celebrated for centuries and holds immense significance in the lives of the people. The festival showcases the rich traditions, craftsmanship, and devotion of the people of Odisha and is an integral part of their cultural identity.
In essence, Ratha Yatra is celebrated to honor the divine journey of Lord Jagannath, to foster unity and equality among devotees, to seek spiritual merit and blessings, and to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Odisha. It is a time of joy, devotion, and spiritual connection with the divine.