Konark (Orissa), June 16 : The arrival of Monsoon brings cheer to farmers across the country, as good rains enable a good harvest and offer a hope of prosperity for all.
In eastern parts of Orissa, the arrival of monsoon rains is hailed with Rajo festival, the three-day agrarian festival celebrated by local girls and women farmers with full enthusiasm.
Every year the festival is organized on the 13th day of the bright fortnight in the Jayeshtha month of the Hindu calendar.
The popular belief is that the festival marks the changes that the Mother Earth undergoes during this period and the rains make it more fertile. The occasion is perceived as the beginning of a new agricultural year.
Various unmarried girls enjoy this occasion by wearing new clothes, footwear and eating out, spending time with friends and playing the swings.
This year it started on Saturday and offered a welcome break to the womenfolk from their drudgery of household chores.
"This festival celebrates the first showers of monsoon. All of us enjoy and welcome the monsoon season," said Bhamarani, a local woman.
Many visiting tourists also enjoyed being part of the celebrations of rich traditions on this occasion of this tribal-dominated State.
"This is the first time I am coming to this place...And, I did not know it was so nice. They are keeping their traditions, festive occasion of Rajo, very much alive," said Iliyana Bitarist, a tourist.
Also, during these three days of festivity women indulge in merry-making, play games and savour delicious Pithas (rice-cake). The festival is incomplete without tasting a delicacy called 'poda pitha' (a sweet-meat).
At the conclusion of the festival on the last day, the ceremonial ploughing of earth is performed. By Sarada LahangirANI)