June 14, 2022
Raja is a traditional Odisha celebration held every year in the Odia month of Asadha (2nd week of June). Raja, which is unique in many ways, is one of the state’s major agrarian holidays, and it is mostly celebrated in great style in Odisha’s coastal regions. The unique fusion of rich heritage with joy, frolic, and exquisite delicacies among the first monsoon showers is what makes Raja so memorable. A event that helps people reconnect with their families and roots.Raja is mostly celebrated for three days. The first day of this three-day celebration is known as Pahili Raja, and it is also the last day of the month Jestha (summers). The second day is known as Raja Sankaranti, and the first day of the month is known as Asadha (monsoons). The final day is known in local dialect as Bhuin Dahana, also known as Sesa Raja (last day). However, in other areas of the region, the event lasts four days, with the fourth day designated as Basumata Puja or Basumata Gadhua (Bathing & praying of mother earth).According to popular belief, just as women menstruate as a sign of fecundity, so does Mother Earth. As a result, the three days of the event are regarded to represent Mother Earth’s menstruation time. All agricultural operations are halted during the celebration.
All agricultural labour comes to a halt during these days as a symbol of respect for the Earth during her menstrual days. It is notable as it is a holiday for unmarried females, or future moms. They all adhere to the menstrual woman’s limits.They rise before dawn on the first day, do their hair, anoint their bodies with turmeric paste and oil, and then take a purifying bath in a river or tank. Bathing is restricted for the next two days, which is unusual. They do not go barefoot, they do not scrape the dirt, they do not grind, they do not pull anything apart, they do not cut, and they do not cook.
Throughout the three days, they are seen dressed to the nines, eating cakes and rich food at the homes of friends and relatives, spending long joyful hours, moving up and down on impromptu swings, and rending the village sky with their merry spontaneous songs.
By Subhechcha Ganguly
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