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Four-day Festival of Orissa ‘Raja Parba’ is all about celebrating Womanhood

Girls are forbidden from all kinds of manual work during the first three days of the festival

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An Indian Village woman. Image source: festivalsherpa.com
  • Raja is generally associated with the farmers and is celebrated during the onset of monsoons
  • Girls are forbidden from all kinds of manual work during these three days of the festival
  • The young men of the village keep themselves busy in various types of country games, the most favourite being ‘Kabadi’

When the world is fighting for gender related issues, quite a few people are aware that one state in India are celebrating the Festival of Womanhood. The indigenous people of Orissa celebrates a four-day festival ‘Raja Parba’ to celebrate womanhood. Popularly known as Mithuna Sankranti, this festival also inaugurates and welcomes the agricultural year. The four-day festival falls on the first day of the month of Asadha (June-July) from which the rainy season starts, thus moistening the summer parched soil and making it ready for productivity.

As per mythology, It is believed that the mother goddess Earth (Bhumidevi) or the divine wife of Lord Vishnu undergoes menstruation during the first three days. The first day is called Pahili Raja, second day is Mithuna Sankranti, third day is Bhu daaha or Basi Raja. The term Raja has come from Rajaswala (meaning a menstruating woman.) Like Hindu women who are asked to abstain from work, Mother Earth is given rest by terminating all the agricultural activities like ploughing, plucking flowers , scratching earth and any other thing that would hurt Mother Earth.

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Image Source: dishaDiary.tv

Girls are forbidden from all kinds of manual work during these three days of the festival. They don’t carry water, cut vegetables, and sweep the houses. Neither do they sew clothes, grind grains, comb hair or walk in bare foot The very first day, they rise before dawn, do their hair, anoint their bodies with turmeric paste and oil and then take the purificatory bath in a river or tank. During all the first three days ,women and unmarried girls look their best. They are seen in the best of dresses and decorations, eating cakes and rich food at the houses of friends and relatives and enjoy tree swings and play indoor games. This creates a happy and joyful atmosphere throughout the town .

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The fourth day is called Vasumati snan, where the ladies bath the grinding stone as a symbol of ‘Bhumi’ with turmeric paste and adore with flower and sindoor.

The young men of the village keep themselves busy in various types of country games, the most favourite being ‘Kabadi’. Competitions are also held between different groups of villages. All nights ‘Yatra’ performances or ‘Gotipua’ dances are arranged.Plays and other kinds of entertainment also take place.

This year in 2016, Raja Parba will be celebrated from June 14-17. Almost every village in Orissa transforms into a land filled with love ,celebrating the beauty of life during the four- day festival.

-by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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  • Paras Vashisth

    It sounds very nice that their is a festival in Indiawhere womens are treated as they don’t do work for some days.
    That kind of festivals should be spread out in bigger manner

Next Story

Water Quality of River Ganga Gets improved Amidst Nationwide Lockdown

The lockdown has done what other government projects could not do for the Ganga

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Ganga
The water quality of the Ganga river in Uttar Pradesh has improved considerably in cities like Varanasi and Kanpur. Wikimedia Commons

The national lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19 has thrown up something to smile about. The water quality of the Ganga river in Uttar Pradesh has improved considerably in cities like Varanasi and Kanpur.

Dr P.K. Mishra, Professor at Chemical Engineering & Technology, IIT-BHU, Varanasi, said that there has been 40-50 per cent improvement in quality of water in the Ganga.

This is primarily because factories along the river bank that discharged effluents into the Ganga have been shut due to the lockdown and this has naturally improved the water quality. Kalika Singh, regional officer of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) in Varanasi said: “The dissolved oxygen level upstream in river Ganga is 8.9 mg per litre while downstream, the dissolved oxygen level is 8.3 mg per litre. This clearly shows that water quality has improved significantly, and it is good for bathing. Healthy water should have a dissolved oxygen level of at least 7 mg/litre.”

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Singh said that during the lockdown period, the air quality in Varanasi had also improved.
“The roads in Varanasi are completely deserted because people are inside their houses and all vehicles are off the roads. Those engaged in essential services can only be seen in the city with their vehicles. Due to this, the air quality has improved in the city,” he said.

The Ganga enters Uttar Pradesh in Bijnor district and passes through major districts such as Meerut, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Kanpur, Allahabad, and Varanasi. In Kanpur too, the Ganga waters are cleaner.

Gangaa
Dr P.K. Mishra, Professor at Chemical Engineering & Technology, IIT-BHU, Varanasi, said that there has been 40-50 per cent improvement in quality of water in the Ganga. Wikimedia Commons

A priest at the famous Parmat temple in Kanpur, said: “The major cause of water pollution in Kanpur is the toxic industrial waste which is discharged into the river. Since all the factories are closed due to the lockdown, the Ganga river has become cleaner. The priests at the temple earlier used to refrain from taking a holy dip because the water was highly contaminated. However, since the past week, we are bathing in the river.”

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The Sisamau drain which used to discharged millions of litres of dirty water into the river was completely tapped last year under the Namami Gange project. This has also brought down the water pollution but the improvement being witnessed at present is unprecedented.

The lockdown has done what other government projects could not do for the Ganga. (IANS)