Raja festival or Raja Parba is a very popular festivity in Orissa. Raja is derived from and is the short form of Rajasthala, the menstruating period for women. The Earth is called Bhudevi or the goddess earth and is the consort of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that during the Raja Parba mother earth has undergone the menstruating cycle and at the end of it the fertility period begins. In an agricultural country like India, it is very significant to take care of Bhudevi or mother earth.
In 2015 the Raja Parba spreads over three days, June 13 to June 15. June 13 is pahali or first Raja, June 14 is Raja and June 15 is past Raja. During these three days no agricultural activity is undertaken, nobody digs nor even scratches the earth. The womenfolk, specially the teenagers, do not do any work, do not walk barefoot on the ground and do not cook. The ladies dress up with choicest clothes, paint the feet with alata, wear lovely ornaments, play on the swings, sing songs and engage themselves with board games, like snake and ladder, ludo, chess and sometimes playing cards.
The boys go out to play kabadi and other outdoor games.
All the three days very delicious dishes are prepared, namely chakuli pitha, poda pitha etc. Raja Parba signifies the common psyche of the people to respect the earth that sustains life, to take care of the womenfolk who bear the burden of running the home and is no less than Bhudevi!
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Dr. Kumarendra Mallick
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Dr. Mallick thanks for enlightening us about the Raja festival of Odisha.
I came to know the significance of the festival and the way it is celebrated.