Raja Parba Festival of Odisha
The festival is being celebrated in Odisha. It is a 3-days unique festival in which the onset of monsoon and the earth’s womanhood is celebrated by the state. It is believed that during this time the Mother Earth or Bhudevi undergoes menstruation. The fourth day is the day of the ‘purification bath’.
Why and when is it celebrated?
This is a three-day-long festival dedicated to Mother Earth (Bhuma Devi) and womanhood at large. The festivities begin a day before Mithuna Sankranti and conclude two days after that.
How is it celebrated?
- The first day of the festival is called Pahili Raja, the second is Mithuna Sankranti and the third Bhu Daha or Basi Raja.
- The preparation begins one day before Pahili Raja, and it is called Sajabaja. Primarily, it is a time for the unmarried girls to prepare for their matrimony.
- They follow various customs related to the festival by consuming nutritious food like Podapitha, not walking barefoot, taking a bath on the first day, and merrily swinging on ropes attached to a tree.
- During the Parba, Odia people do no undertake any construction works or tilling that requires the earth to be dug. And by not doing such activities, they pay ode to Mother Earth who needs a break from routine work.
- The festival concludes with a custom called Vasumati Snana or the bathing of Bhuma Devi. Women worship a stone that symbolizes Mother Earth. They give her a bath with turmeric paste and offer her flowers and smear her with Sindoor.
Association with Agriculture:
This festival is also associated with the end of the summer season and the arrival of the monsoon. And therefore, it is also associated with agriculture and cultivation related communities and activities.