Odisha observes Raja Parba, a 3-day festival of menstruation & womanhood amid Covid curbs
Bhubaneswar, June 14: The Raja or Raja Parba of Odisha or Mithuna Sankranti, is one of the most popular three-day-long festival of womanhood celebrated of the state. The second day of the festival signifies beginning of the solar month of Mithuna from, which the season of rains starts.
Odisha observes Raja Parba
The festivities begin a day before Mithuna Sankranti and conclude two days after that. The fourth day is called as Vasumati gadhua or ceremonial bath of Bhudevi.
The term Raja has come from Rajaswala (meaning a menstruating woman) and during medieval period the festival became more popular as an agricultural holiday remarking the worship of Bhudevi, who is the wife of lord Jagannath. A silver idol of Bhudevi is still found in Puri Temple aside Lord Jagannatha.
Raja Parba celebrates womanhood
Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC), chairperson S Mishra said,''It is believed that during this period Mother Earth menstruates & prepare herself for future agri activities with the arrival of monsoon.''
''Due to COVID19, we're celebrating Raja Parba with a very low key. (As women don't work during these 3 days) 7 vehicles of 'Pitha On wheels' will reach people's doorstep in Bhubaneswar,'' he further said.
Ode to the Mother Earth
During the Parba, Odia people do no undertake any construction works or tilling that requires the earth to be dug. And by not doing such activities, they pay ode to the Mother Earth who needs a break from routine work.
How is Raja Parba celebrated?
During the three days women are given a break from household work and time to play indoor games. Girls adorn traditional saree and apply alatha on foot. All people abstain from walking barefoot on earth. Generally various pithas among podo-pitha and chakuli Pitha. People play a lot of indoor and outdoor games.
Girls reach on to swings and hammocks, women also play cards and Ludo. Villages have Kabbadi matches for young men.
This festival is also associated with the end of the summer season and the arrival of the monsoon. And therefore, it is also associated with agriculture and cultivation related communities and activities.