Raja Parba

The-joyful-laughter-Naiguan-Village-Salepur

 

Raja Parba –  also known as Mithuna Sankranti falls on the month of Mithuna (June) i.e.onset of the rainy season. After the Rath Yatra festival of Lord Jagannath, Raja (pronounced as raw jaw) perhaps conveys the most powerful social message in Odisha. The name Raja is derived from the word Rajaswala (Menstruating Woman)- it is believed that Bhudevi ( Mother Earth) who is wife of Lord Jagannath undergoes her yearly menstruation cycle during Raja. Hence all agricultural work, digging  etc are suspended during the 4 day long festival and she is given complete rest before the commencement of the agricultural season.

Raja-Parba-Gangapur-Village-Salepur

Raja-Parba-Gangapur-Village-Salepur

The first day of Raja is called Paheli Raja (prior raja) this signifies the day prior to the menstruation cycle, the second day is called is called the Mithuna Sankranti or Raja, the third day is called the Basi Raja ( the day after the Menstruation cycle) and the fourth day is called the Vasumati Gadhua ( bathing of mother earth) where Bhudevi (Mother Earth) is bathed in a ritualistic ceremony, where the ladies of the house bathe the Grinding Stone which is a representative of Bhudevi.

A-boy-on-the-original-bamboo-swing-at-Naiguan-Village-Salepur

A-boy-on-the-original-bamboo-swing-at-Naiguan-Village-Salepur

As mentioned earlier it has a powerful social message- it equates the fertility of Mother Earth with that of a girl entering womanhood i.e. Menstruation. True to its message, the girls and woman folk of the household are excused from domestic chores for three days, instead they put on their best clothes and finery and spend the day engaging in various fun filled activities, most prominent amongst them is the swing which over the years has become signature of the festival.

Peacock-shaped-swing-at-Naiguan-Village-Salepur

Peacock-shaped-swing-at-Naiguan-Village-Salepur

As per tradition cooking is forbidden,so only baked items are prepared, men of the household prepare various Pitha’s (Pancakes)- the podo pitha and the chakuli pitha being the most popular. It is a festival of hope and empowerment, and a joyful atmosphere prevails throughout the festival.

Podo-Pitha

Podo-Pitha

In And Around Cuttack

The millennium city is a city of milestones in Odisha’s history. The Buddhist heritage sites and the beauty of the catchment areas of Mahanadi are its chief attractions.



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