Home Variety Culture and History Raja Parba: Odisha's unique festival celebrating the earth's womanhood

Raja Parba: Odisha’s unique festival celebrating the earth’s womanhood

By celebrating the three menstruating days of mother earth, this festival hails the earth's fertility and pays respect to the sacred feminine.

Raja Parba, Odisha’s 3-day festival celebrating the onset of monsoons and the earth’s womanhood begins today. Raja Sankranti or Mithuna Sankranti is the first day of the Ashara month. Raja is celebrated on the day prior to the Sankranti, (Pahili Raja), the day of Sankranti, and the day after, known as Bhu Daha or ‘Basi Raja.

The word ‘Raja’ (pronounced as ‘raw-jaw’) is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Rajaswala’ meaning a menstruating woman. The festival is essentially the celebration if the earth’s womanhood because the 3 days of Raja are the days it is considered the mother earth or ‘Basumati’ or Bhudevi is menstruating. The fourth day is called ‘Basumati Snana’ or the day of the ‘purification bath’.

As a mark of respect towards the earth during her menstruation days, all agricultural works, like ploughing, sowing are suspended for the three days. The idea is ”the earth should not be hurt’. As it is a celebration of womanhood, a lot of the focus is on young women, who wear new clothes, apply ‘Alata’ on their feet and enjoy folk songs while swinging on decorated rope swings.

- Ad - - article resumes -

Raja Doli, image via Twitter

Raja Doli, image via mycitylinks

The Raja Doli or the Raja swing is one of the main attractions during the festivals. Ornately decorated rope swings with flowers and mango leaves are made where the women and children swing singing the festival songs. Swings are made in village orchards, gardens and city parks where people flock to enjoy. The best part is, women are exempted from household work and cooking.

“Banaste dakila gaja

barasake thare asichhi raja

ani kete sajabaja”.

The first lines of the festival song mean ” The elephants are calling in the forest, the once in a year festival has come, bringing loads of adornments with it”.

Poda Pitha, or the burnt cake made from rice, urad coconut and raisins is another essential part of the festival. Usually made by wrapping the batter with banana leaves and roasting over an earthen chulha, this Pitha is one of the many sweet delicacies unique to Odisha. Poda pitha is considered to be the favourite of Lord Jagannath.

Poda Pitha, image courtesy: @nabakaelaraoff

Sweet paan is another must-have for everyone during Raja.

Sweet paan, image via Twitter

Raja is a celebration of fertility and womanhood. By celebrating the three menstruating days of mother earth, this festival hails the earth’s fertility and pays respect to the sacred feminine. In a deeper context, this festival signifies how menstruation, fertility and womanhood are the cause of celebration, not shame in Indic cultures.

Help Opindia Reach Every Indian. Share This Post
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.

Big Story

BJP leader P K Krishnadas had alleged that the campus was an SFI stronghold and that the principal was denying the ABVP members the right to carry out their organisation's work.

2019 World Cup Is Here!

Catch the latest on Cricket World Cup as it unfolds, special coverage by Opindia

Proud to be a brand - Made in India?
Now, Advertise on Opindia

Here are 15 famous quotes from Harsha Bhogle during his commentary stint

The famous Indian commentator, Harsha Bhogle, born on July 19 in Hyderabad is celebrating his 58th birthday today.
Couple forced out of village; husband pressurised to accept wife’s religion

Hindu boy’s family forced out of village for marrying Muslim girl, police advices boy to convert as villagers threaten to kill

Newlywed Hindu boy and Muslim girl approach SSP for protection as villagers threaten to kill them and local police ask the boy to convert

Mangaluru villagers caught Mohammad Ansari raping a calf, police arrests villagers for ‘hurting religious beliefs’

In the Kunjathbail village in Mangaluru, Mohammad Ansari was caught red-handed by the villagers while he was raping a calf.

Mangalore: Mohammad Ansari rapes a cow by tying its limbs, villagers catch him in the act, arrested

The villagers also made Ansari touch cow’s feet and ask for forgiveness for raping her. However, when Ansari approached the calf, the animal freaked out and started running.

Revisiting Sainbari, a blot on Indian Democracy: When Communists made a mother eat rice with her dead sons’ blood

The Sainbari incident remains the most horrific instance of political violence in the country.
Delhi Police bust Taliban controlled drug cartel that used jute bags to smuggle heroin worth 5000 crores

Delhi police bust Taliban controlled heroin racket, Afghan-Pakistani cartel worth 5000 crores discovered

Delhi police's special cell has busted a sophisticated Afghan-Pakistani heroin cartel that used heroin-soaked jute bags carrying spices and dry fruits to smuggle the drug into India.

Abusive actor Ajaz Khan arrested by Mumbai Police for instigating violence through social media

Mumbai Police arrests small-time actor Ajaz Khan after he mocked the police on TikTok
Salma Ansari's temple plan receives AMU's objection

AMU administration’s jolt to Mrs Ansari’s secularism pitch, says no to temple plan inside ‘Chacha Nehru Madarsa’

Salma Ansari, the wife of former vice president Hamid Ansari, had announced recently that she will have a temple built inside the 'Chacha Nehru Madarsa' that she runs in AMU campus.

Serial abuser Ajaz Khan, who was arrested for inciting communal tensions, sent to judicial custody for 14 days

Ajaz Khan was arrested by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch for uploading provoking videos promoting enmity between different communities on his social media pages

Netizens ‘express concern’ over Priyanka Chopra’s asthma after a picture where she is smoking cigarette went viral on social media

Twitter users even dug up Chopra's own old tweet condemning smoking where she had claimed she does not smoke. While things could change with time so do personal preferences, the hypocrisy is quite baffling.
Subscribe to Day's Top Stories
- Advertisment -

Latest articles

Connect with us

Help Opindia Reach Every Indian. Share This Post