Odisha – the land of Lord Jagannath, has launched ‘Pitha on Wheels’ ahead of the three-day Raja festival, one of the most popular ones celebrated at the onset of monsoon, amid the lockdown induced by the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Wondering what makes Raja so special?
It is not just the unique amalgamation of rich tradition along with fun, frolic, and mouthwatering cuisines, but it also celebrates womanhood. You read that right!
This three-day event marks the period of fertility regeneration of the earth, equivalent to the menstrual cycle which women undergo.
Raja is an abbreviation used for Rajaswala (meaning a menstruating woman) and is celebrated across Odisha and Odias living outside. It signifies the menstrual cycle of the earth similar to that of a woman. Similar to women, the earth is considered to be in a latent stage during these days. This resting period of the earth is when all agricultural activities are forbidden.
What’s there in store for people?
The very first day of this long festival is termed Pahili Raja which is also considered to be the last day of the month Jestha (summers). The second day of Raja Parba signifies the beginning of the solar month of "Mithuna", marking the arrival of rains, according to the website of Odisha Tourism. The concluding day is named in local dialect as Bhuin Dahana popularly known as Sesa Raja (last day). However, the festival in some parts of the regions actually ranges for a period of four days with the inclusion of the fourth day termed as Basumata Puja or Basumata Gadhua (Bathing & praying of mother earth).
Food and fun:
The beautiful festival is all about food and one thing that instantly comes to our mind is Poda Pitha. The aroma and taste of the particular pitha is so alluring that it happens to be Lord Jagannath's favorite and is savored by him each time after having the meal.
Other than the poda pitha delicacies like Arisa pitha, Mutton curry, and Raja Pana makes it one of the dearest and special festivals in every Odia household.
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