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Odia households bustle with preparations of a festival called Raja that celebrates womanhood

Bhubaneswar:14/6/18; It is that time of the year again, when Odia households bustle with preparations of a festival called Raja that celebrates womanhood. This four-day event marks the period of fertility regeneration of the earth, equivalent to menstrual cycle which a girl and woman undergo.

Raja is shorthand for the word 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. Just like women go into a resting phase during “periods”, the earth is considered to be in a latent stage. This four-day resting period of the earth is when all agricultural activities are forbidden.

It is an event of women, for women, in celebration of womanhood. The fairer sex are pampered with new clothes, accessories, delicacies and are prohibited from doing household chores. The first day is called Pahili Raja, the second day marks the advent of the month of Asadha and is commemorated by Mithuna Sankaranti, the third day is known as Basi Raja and the fourth day of Basumati Gadhua signifies the end of menstruation of the earth.

Barred from domestic errands, the women folk indulge in dolling themselves up with their choicest apparel, aalta on the feet, kumkum on the forehead and in the recent times, evenmehendi/henna on their palms and nail art for adornment of their nails.

While menstruating women are alienated and forbidden to enter temples in many parts of India, it is matter of great pride for Odisha, that it celebrates this integral aspect of womanhood.



About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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