Raja Parba: Raja Parv, a 3-day festival celebrating womanhood, is being celebrated across Odisha from Monday. Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) Chairman S Mishra said that during this period, it is believed that Mother Earth gets menstruation and prepares herself for future agricultural activities with the arrival of the monsoon. He explained, ‘During this time different types of cakes are made. Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) on Sunday launched a special program called ‘Pitha on Wheels’. Due to COVID-19, we are celebrating King’s Feast Day with very few people. Since women do not work during these 3 days, 7 vehicles of ‘Peetha on Wheels’ will reach the doors of people in Bhubaneswar.”
Various types of backs such as ‘Poda Peeth’, ‘Manda’, ‘Kakara’, ‘Alisha’, ‘Chakuri’ and ‘Chandrakala’ have been provided on ‘Pitha on Wheels’ (kiosks on wheels). These vehicles selling traditional cakes have been deployed in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and Sambalpur, Mishra said. He said the moving kiosks of OTDC in Bhubaneswar will be available at six locations Master Canteen Square, Khandagiri Square, CRP Square, Patiya Square, Chandrashekharpur Square, and Rupali Square. They will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
Mishra said that apart from the benches, masks manufactured by Self Help Groups will also be available for sale on Peetha on Wheels vehicles. Raja Parv or Gemini Sankranti is a three-day festival and the second day marks the beginning of Gemini’s solar month, which triggers the rainy season. It welcomes the agricultural year in Odisha, which, through biological symbolism, symbolizes the moistening of the dry soil of the sun with the first monsoon rains in mid-June, making it ready for productivity.
It is believed that the divine wife of Goddess Prithvi or Lord Vishnu goes through menstruation during the first three days. The fourth day is called the formal bath of Vasumati Garhua or Bhudevi. The word raja came from Rajaswala (i.e. a menstrual woman) and during medieval times the festival became more popular as an agricultural holiday, worshipping Bhudevi, who is the wife of Lord Jagannath.
Apart from Lord Jagannath, a silver statue of Bhudevi is still found in the Puri temple. During three days women are discharged from housework and given indoor game playtime. Girls dress in traditional sarees and wear Alta on their feet. Walking barefoot on the earth is avoided by all.
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