Four days after Dussehra is the full moon night, that marks the beginning of Sharad or the harvest season. In Odisha, the day belongs to unmarried girl who make merry and offer prayers to Sun and Moon near Brundabati (Tulsi or Basil plant) for a perfect husband.
On this day, a specially-prepared ‘Chanda Chakata’ is offered as ‘bog’ in the evening. It is made with lia (a kind of grain), banana, cottage cheese and sugar.
It is considered a cooling food which the girls consume after offering it to the Moon and later distribute it among neighbours.
Its significance can be traced to Ayurveda, according to which `pitta’ or acidity aggravates at the end of the monsoon season. To neutralise the pitta and balance it, consumption of milk, milk products and rice flakes are recommended.
Exposure to moonlight also works wonders for ‘pitta dosha’. Science also seconds the curative properties of the moon rays. On this day, the vessel containing the sweet left in the moonlight to be consumed later.
Srikant, who practises Ayurveda, said, “To purify and rejuvenate our system, a special water was earlier prepared by leaving it in the sun for 12 hours and again cooling under the moonlight. Moonlight has special cooling properties. It pacifies the heat inside us and has health benefits.”
During this transition, people are also low in immunity and hence, food that are easy to digest and cool the body are recommended, he added.