Raja festive mood eclipsed in Odisha due to Corona fear

Bhubaneswar: Come June and Raja fever grips the whole of Odisha. Women long for this festival. However, since this year many restrictions have been imposed in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic, people in the state have gotten disheartened.

Background

The four-day event marks the period of fertility regeneration of the earth, equivalent to menstrual cycle which a girl and woman undergo.

Relation with social life

Raja is shorthand for the word Rajaswala (meaning a menstruating woman) and is celebrated across Odisha and Odias living outside. It signifies the menstrual cycle of the earth similar to that of a woman. Just like women go into a resting phase during “periods”, the earth is considered to be in a latent stage. This four-day resting period of the earth is when all agricultural activities are forbidden.

Pahili Raja

The first day is called Pahili Raja, the second day marks the advent of the month of Asadha and is commemorated by Mithuna Sankaranti, the third day is known as Basi Raja and the fourth day of Basumati Gadhua signifies the end of menstruation of the earth.

Traditions

During the Raja celebration women wear new apparel, apply aalta on the feet, kumkum on the forehead, mehendi/henna on their palms and nail art for adornment of their nails.

Observation

Raja is characterized by the traditional swings. People put up different swings such as ‘Ram Doli’, ‘Charki Doli’, ‘Pata Doli’, ‘Dandi Doli’ and etc.

Apart from swings, other different country games like “puchi khela” (a traditional game in which girls squat and twist themselves moving their entire body especially their hands, thighs and feet in a rhythmic manner), “kaudi khela” (a game of cowrie shells), ludo, passapali and etc. are played during the festive season.

Festive foods

Different traditional delicious cakes such as poda pitha, arisa pitha and chakuli pitha are being prepared and distributed among neighbours and relatives.

Raja is also the time when people relish the mouth-watering paan – popularly known as Raja paan.

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