Odisha, the land of Lord Jagannath, celebrates 13 festivals in 12 months (a popular saying among the locals) which means Odisha celebrates endless festivals throughout the year. Oneof the most important of these festivals is Raja Parab which is celebrated for three days in the middle of June, possibly starting from 14th June and ending on 16th. During this period, the state has a festive atmosphere.
With the arrival of the southwest monsoon in the first week of June, the intense rays of the summer of April and May subside. In summer, blue skies are dark and white, and rain clouds move around. Raja Parab is celebrated on the occasion of pleasant weather, relief from the heat and new hope for the next agricultural season. Therefore, this festival is very important for those who depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
Rajo Parba also known as Mithuna Sankranti
During Parba, Oriya people do not do any construction or cultivation which requires digging of earth. And by not doing such work, they greet Mother Earth who needs a break from regular work.
During these three days, women are given time off from housework and playing indoorgames. The girls wear traditional sari and Aletha on their feet. All people avoid walking barefoot on the earth.
This festival ends with Vasumati bath or bath of Goddess Bhuma. Women worship the stone that symbolizes Mother Earth. They bathe her with turmeric paste offer her flowers and rub her with vermilion.
This festival is also associated with the arrival of the monsoon at the end of summer. And so, it also relates to communities and activities related to agriculture and cultivation.
For many, Raja San is important because of its proximity to the agricultural class and people celebrate it in large numbers for fun and enjoyment. On the other hand, we miss the big message of feminism that symbolizes this festival. She accepts women as created by nature and therefore frees her from social burdens. As a message to society, this Raja Utsavala is called Raja, which means menstruation is kept secret in many societies, which gives more recognition to real women’s issues.
Celebrate this festival in many parts of the country except Odisha and many do not even know it. But in a world where women’s rights are in demand, women’s menstrual hygiene is a serious problem, as 23 million girls in India drop out of school. Along with all the awareness campaigns, the King’s celebration will improve women’s menstrual hygiene and help free more women from social taboos.
The last important aspect of this Raja Utsav is the acknowledgement of the contribution ofnature to human life and the duty of human beings to maintain the best health of nature. These interrelationships are essential for the promotion of sustainable development along with the protection of nature.
During the King’s Festival, Mother Earth’s three days of non-injury means promoting theUnited Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the protection of the Earth through climate action, and women’s liberation and menstrual hygiene are consistent with the goal of sustainable development of sexual justice.
It is clear from this that festivals in our society have a more practical and philosophical dimension, which is essential for lasting faith and for an egalitarian society for all. Indeed, Raja Mahotsav is one such event.