Held on the new-moon day of the 'Shravan
' (July-August), Chitou Amavasya is a festival dedicated to Lord Jagannath
, the presiding deity of Orissa. On this day, in the temple of Jagannatha, the deity bears a golden mark on the forehead and "Chitou Pitha", a special variety of rice-cake, is given to the deity as offering. In rural areas this is observed as an agricultural festival. On this occasion the farmers worship the paddy fields. In Sambalpur
area this festival is known as “Harali Kans” and people believe that it is the day of the witch, 'Tandei', who moves in the dark to suck the blood of the children. To protect children from her, mothers draw peculiar designs below the navel zone of the children before the night falls.