Raja Festival is one of the biggest and unique festivals in Odisha.It is believed that the mother goddess Earth or the divine wife of Lord Vishnu undergoes menstruation during the first three days of Raja Festival.The fourth day is called as “Basumati Snana” or ceremonial bath of Bhudevi.The term Raja has come from Rajaswala (meaning a menstruating woman) and during medieval period the festival became more poular 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 Jagannath.
The arrival of Monsoon brings cheers to the farmers across the country, as good rains enable a good harvest and offer a hope of prosperity for all.In eastern parts of Orissa/Odisha , the arrival of monsoon rains is hailed with Raja festival, the three-day agrarian festival celebrated by local girls and women farmers with full enthusiasm.
Every year the festival is organized on the 13th day of the bright fortnight in the Jayeshtha month of the Hindu calendar.The popular belief is that the festival marks the changes that the Mother Earth undergoes during this period and the rains make it more fertile. The occasion is perceived as the beginning of a new agricultural year.
Various unmarried girls enjoy this occasion by wearing new clothes, footwear and eating out, spending time with friends and playing the swings.The girls are kept away from daily household work & were strictly restricted from wearing scandels & chappals by elders as it is belived that it may harm our mother earth .
Many visiting tourists also enjoyed being part of the celebrations of rich traditions on this occasion of this tribal-dominated State.
Also, during these three days of festivity women indulge in merry-making, play games and savour delicious Pithas (rice-cake). The festival is incomplete without tasting a delicacy called ‘poda pitha’ (a sweet-Cake).
The festivals is not restricted to Unmarried girls , Boys also enjoy the eve by participating in Kabaddi Game & playing cards in group .
People heads towards the theatre in a big rush to watch Odia Movies of their favourite actor & actress . The film makers wait for this eve to release their movies in different theatres .
Finally the festival on the last day, the ceremonial ploughing of earth is performed.
“Banaste Dakila Gaja , Barasa ke thare asichi Rajo .
Asichi Rajolo Gheni Nua Sajabaja Baula Lo Gheni Nua Sajabaja”
Which Means !
“The Elephant has started roaring in the forest , Hence The Rajo Festival has arrived once in a year with lots of Happiness & cheers .
(as smile is the best ornament for girls)”
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