Raja Parba (Raja Festival) is a three days long festival celebrated across the whole Odisha. The 2nd day of this festival signifies the start of the rainy season.
Each year it comes in mid-June (14th, 15th, 16th), the 1st day of this festival called Pahili Raja, 2nd day is called as Raja Sankranti, 3rd day is called as Bhu daaha. The day after the 3rd day called Vasumati snana. That day women’s baths the grinding stone as a symbol of Bhumi (Earth) with turmeric paste and adore etc.
The day before the 1st raja called Sajabaja (preparatory day). During that day all things are cleaned including House, Kitchen, Grinding stone, etc. During these 3 days, all ladies take rest from all of their works and wear new dresses or saree with accessories.
Raja is one of the most popular festivals in Odisha. During these three days, ploughing is strictly prohibited, and unmarried girls in the countryside are playing swings hanging from tree branches.
Fact Behind Raja Celebration
As a mark of respect to mother earth during her menstruation days. All agricultural works are suspended for all three days. This is because “the mother earth should not be hurt”. It is a celebration of womanhood.
This festival is focused on all young women, who wear new clothes and accessories also apply “Alata” on their feet. The enjoy the Raja folk song while swinging on decorates rope swing.
The “Raja Doli” (Decorated Swing) is the main attraction during these three days. The swings are made in village orchards, while in cities people prefer parks or gardens.
The folk song is as follows:
ବନସ୍ତେ ଡାକିଲା ଗଜ
ବରଷକେ ଥରେ ଆସିଛି ରଜ,
ଆସିଛି ରଜ ଲୋ
ଘେନି ନୂଆ ସଜବାଜ ।
ରାଶିରୁ ଛାଡ଼ିଲା ଚୋପା
ଗୋଡ଼ରେ ନାଇଛୁ ସରୁ ଅଳତା,
ନାଇଛୁ ସରୁ ଅଳତା ଲୋ
ମଥାରେ ସିନ୍ଦୂର ଟୋପା ।
“Banaste dakila Gaja,
Barasake thare aasichhi Raja,
Asichi Rajo lo gheni nua Sajabaja.” and more…
Some Special Attractions
There are some special attractions during these three days. Poda pitha is one of them. It is made of up rice, coconut, cashew nut, etc. It’s a burnt cake type, it usually takes the batter and wraps with banana leaves and roasting over the earthen Chula. This pitha is one of the unique delicacies of Odisha. It is also the favorite pitha of Lord Jagannath.
Another attraction of this festival is Sweet paan (Raja Pana). Almost everyone must have this sweet paan during this festival.
While celebrating these three menstruating days of mother earth, in this festival gives respect to mother earth’s fertility also this festival shows how menstruation and womanhood are the cause of celebration, not the shame.