Odisha, a religious land of incredible India, is famous for its cultural heritage, ancient traditions, history, and noteworthy temples. Being a cultural state, Odisha celebrates numerous fairs and festivals around the year. Raja Parba is one of the important festivals of Odisha that falls during the Odia month of Asadha (2nd week of June). Raja festival is a unique amalgamation of the rich traditional culture of Odisha, along with fun, frolic, and mouthwatering cuisines. It is a three-day-long festival and the second day signifies the beginning of the solar month of Mithuna, from which the rainy season starts. People of Odisha celebrate Raja Parba with great joy and ecstasy. So, through this article, let’s gather a better understanding and knowledge about this quintessential festival of Odisha.
The Raja Festival
Raja is a three-day-long festival, the first day of which is Pahili Raja, the second day is called Mithuna Sankranti or Raja Sankranti, and the third day is Bhumi Daha or Basi Raja. The Pahili Raja is the last day of Odia month Jestha. The preparation for this festival begins one day before Pahili Raja, and it is called Sajabaja. However, in some regions of Odisha, the Raja Parba ranges for four days, and the fourth day is called Basumati Puja. Raja festival is mainly a festival of girls, which celebrates womanhood.
The mythology of Raja Parba
It is a belief that during the festival of Raja, mother Earth (Bhumi Devi), the consort of Lord Vishnu, undergoes her menstrual cycle. So, the people of Odisha stop all the agricultural activities like ploughing, plucking, cutting trees to allow the mother Earth to rest. The word ‘Raja’ in Odia means menstruation, and it is derived from Rajaswala, meaning a menstruating woman. Surprisingly, Odisha is the only state in India, which celebrates this aspect of womanhood through the Raja festival that makes this festival unique.
Considering this state of mother earth, unmarried girls are restricted from all kinds of regular domestic activities. The elder members of the house restrict the young girls from doing any kitchen activities, sweeping floors, combing hair, and walking barefoot. However, nowadays, in some urban localities, these restrictions have become less recognized.
The Fun Of Raja Festival
After getting a break from the regular household work, women indulge themselves in indoor games. Girls adorn traditional saree and apply alata on foot. They play various games like cards, ludo, and swings. Swings are an integral part of this festival. There may be several types of swings, like Ram Doli, Chakri Doli, Pata Doli, Dandi Doli, etc.
Raja Parba is not only for girls, but all the menfolk of Odisha also celebrate this festival with great pomp. During this festival, all the men residing in different parts of the state and country get back to their hometowns. They enjoy this festival by playing some nostalgic games like Kabbadi, ludo, and cards.
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The Lip-smacking Delicacies of Raja Parba
The people of Odisha celebrate Raja Parba with great joy. During this festival, every household of Odisha prepares several mouth-watering authentic Odia foods. Among them, Poda pitha is the most important one, which makes the Raja festival special. The aroma and taste of this pitha are so alluring that it happens to be Lord Jagannath’s favorite. Other than Poda pitha, other delicacies like Chakuli pita, Kakara pitha, and Arisa pitha makes this festival special in every Odia household. Raja Pana (betel) is another specialty Of Odisha’s Raja festival.
Relation of Agriculture with Raja Festival
During Raja Parba, the people of Odisha worship mother Earth. Distressed in the fierce heat of April and May, the Earth calms down by the advent of South- West Monsoon in the first week of June through its tender drops. In the first stream of rain, the Earth gains power for the next agricultural season. Hence, Raja Parba has a great significance for the farmers of Odisha.
Raja festival is one of the unique festivals of Odisha. It is a great blend of rich Odia culture, along with joy and frolic. The entire family and village come together to celebrate this festival with utmost joy. Playing several games, visiting friends’ and relatives’ houses, and savoring traditional cuisines make this festival a special one.
More than from religious sentiment, this festival shows a clear picture of the philosophy of life and the scientific reasons. Moreover, Raja Parba is a clear reflection of the social as well as economic lifestream of Odisha. Raja festival is an acknowledgment of the contribution of nature in human life and the duty of humans for the maintenance of good health of nature.
I hope this blog will help you to know the significance, history of Raja Parba of Odisha. If you find this blog informative and interesting, then don’t forget to share your experience by commenting below.