Raja Festivity in Coastal Odisha
It is with the advent of monsoon that people in the coastal districts of Odisha observe the three days Raja festival with fervour and gaiety. Normally it occurs with the first shower of the Monsoon in mid June and in 2015 the dates of Raja festival is from 14 June - 16 June 2015. According to a popular belief this agriculture oriented festival is an occasion of celebrations for the farmer community, where it is believed that Mother Earth takes rest during these days for its annual cycle of productivity. All three days are considered to be the menstruating period of Mother Earth and any sort of agricultural activity is prohibited as a tradition to make the land ready for cultivation. This festival of fertility is celebrated all over Odisha from Balasore in north to Ganjam in south but is more enthusiastically celebrated in the undivided districts of Cuttack, Puri and Balasore
Better observed as a festival for unmarried girls and potential mothers, people of all ages and gender also wait fervently for the joyous merriment. While girls beautify themselves by taking bath in turmeric water followed with donning new clothes, enjoying the swings and munching on delicacies, the young men folk remain engaged by indulging in country games including Kabadi and playing cards. Women also get a break from household chores during which they enjoy indoor games. Songs specially meant for the festival are chanted in chorus by the young girls. There are even certain villages which conduct plays, Gotipua dance performances and other entertainment programmes to create a cheerful atmosphere.
Poda Pitha, a special variety of burnt cake is most exclusive to the Raja festival which is relished by one and all. The size of the cake varies according to the number of family members which are even exchanged among relatives and friends. During this three day festival, young girls are not supposed to consume rice but they can satiate themselves with fried rice (Mudi) and vegetable curry including other culinary delights as well. It is also the shopping malls and stalls selling sweets and fruit which do a roaring business before and during the festival.
Except in some rural pockets in undivided Cuttack and Puri districts, Raja celebrations have drifted far away from the old traditions. Gone are the days when unmarried girls were restricted from bathing and enjoying the festival in groups by playing without having to do any household work. Being one of the ancient festival of Odisha, the age-old traditions of Raja celebrations have given way to new approaches, particularly in the urban areas with the customs being toned down a bit to allow the young generation revel in the festivity with utmost exuberance.
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Tags: --Raja Festival in Orissa, Festivals of Odisha, Celebrating Raja in 2015.
Posted by The World Hotel & Resorts Date: 17 June 2015, at 01:32