A state full of magnificent temples and a lot of festivals in the whole year has something very unique in themselves. Odisha, the state of lord Jagannath, celebrates 13 festivals in a year.
Among these 1 festivals raja (rawjaw) is very popular among the locals which are celebrated with full energy and excitement. Raja parba is the only festival and Odisha is the only state to celebrate women and their mensuration cycle which is celebrated for the whole 3 days. Raja is a much-underrated festival which has not much recognition in the whole country.
WHY DO WE CELEBRATE RAJA?
It is the only festival in the world which celebrates womanhood and mensuration. The term raja came from rajaswala which means menstruating women. People residing in Odisha believes that mother earth menstruates for three days as ashada masa (rainy season) is arrived and she is given the ceremonial bath on the fourth day. For those three days, people who belong from Odisha doesn’t do any kind of agricultural activity like ploughing or sowing because mother earth is believed to be going through a rejuvenation.
The first day is known as pahili raja, the second days are known as mithuna Sankranti and the third day is bhu daaha or basi raja. And the final day is called vasumati snana, in which the ladies bath the grinding stone as a symbol of bhumi with turmeric paste and adore with flower, sindoor etc.
Girls are encouraged to look their best, wear new clothes, accessories. They are also given a break from household chores. Girls are seen spending time on swings, playing all sorts of indoor and outdoor games and eating delicacies of Odisha.
The Raja Doli which is the swing is one of the main attractions during the festivals. The swing is decorated with flowers and mango leaves where the women and children swing singing the festival songs. The swing could be placed in the house itself or in the garden area or the backyard area too.
Poda Pitha or the burnt cake made from rice, urad coconut and raisins is another essential part of the festival. Usually made by wrapping the batter with banana leaves and roasting over an earthen chulha, this Pitha is one of the many sweet delicacies unique to Odisha. Poda pitha is considered to be the favourite of Lord Jagannath. Also, sweet paan is very famous amongst the locals during this festival.
In this very important occasion prime minister, Narendra Modi and CM, Naveen Patnaik, greeted people of Odisha “raja parba”. Modi tweeted “greetings on the very special festival of raja parba. May this occasion strengthen the spirit of joy and brotherhood in society.
We must celebrate these kinds of festivals and celebrate the womanhood and show gratitude to the ones who have to nurture us.