Bhubaneswar: Odia people residing in Odisha and outside the State have started celebrating the three-day long annual Raja Festival with much fun and fare.
Raja Parba or Mithuna Sankranti is a three-day-long festival and the second day signifies the beginning of the solar month of Mithuna from which the season of rains starts.
Though celebrated all over the state it is more enthusiastically observed in all over Odisha but celebrated with much fervour across the coastal districts. The first day is called “Pahili Raja”, second is “Raja Sankranti” and third is “Bhumi Dahana or Basi Raja”. Today is Pahili Raja.
Swinging on wooden planks hung from trees, eating traditional cakes and dishes, wearing new dresses, styling themselves, and a series of cultural events have been lined up by young girls to celebrate the festival.
During all the three consecutive days they are seen in the best of dresses and decorations, eating cakes and rich food at the houses of friends and relatives, spending long cheery hours, moving up and down on improvised swings, rending the village sky with their merry impromptu songs.
Adding to it, many organizations are celebrating the festival in public places. Many malls and restaurants are hosting programs for the celebration of Raja festival.
During this period, it is believed that Mother Earth menstruates and prepares herself for future agricultural activities with the arrival of monsoon.
The social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram flooded with Raja Parba wishes.
Personalities like President of India Droupadi Murmu, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Governor Ganeshi Lal, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, State Congress President Sarata Pattanayak and other leaders wished people on this occasion.
Taking to Twitter, Shrimati Murmu wrote, “I extend my heartfelt wishes to all the Odias on the agriculture-based festival, Raja. The festival is celebrated in Odisha for three days with zest. I wish prosperity and health to all the Odias out there and the whole of India.”
Extending his wishes to the people of Odisha on this day, the Chief Minister urged all to take part in this great festival with joy and enthusiasm. This festival is a symbol of respect for nature and women.
Poda pitha, arisa, kakara, other pithas and various other delicacies are a major attraction of the festival. Due to lack of time, many women now prefer to buy pithas instead of preparing them at home. Several pitha outlets have been opened across the city for the festival.
The Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) has made special arrangements to provide Pithas during the festival.
Different kinds of pithas such as ‘Poda Pitha’, ‘Manda’, ‘Kakara’, ‘Arisha’, ‘Chakuli’ and ‘Chandrakala’ have been made available on ‘Pitha on Wheels’ (kiosks on wheels).