Banaste Dakila Gaja, Barasake thare asichi RAJA, Asichi RAJA lo heba nua saja bajja…
The most vivid and enjoyable memories one has of the Raja gaiety is the rope-swings on big banyan trees and the lyrical folk-songs that one listens from the nubile beauty enjoying the atmosphere.It is the most important festival of Odisha, which is generally associated with the farmers and is celebrated during the onset of monsoons. Also known as Mithuna Sankranti, it falls on the first day of the month of Asadha (June-July) from which the rainy season starts, thus moistening the summer parched soil and making it ready for productivity.
Though celebrated all over the state it is more enthusiastically observed in the coastal districts of Odisha. Saja Baja (preparatory Day) is the day prior to the first day from which the festival Starts. The first day is called Pahili RAJA (Prior RAJA), second is RAJA (Proper RAJA) and third is Basi RAJA (Past RAJA).In some places however there is a custom of celebrating the fourth RAJA also known as the “Basumata Puja”. Conceiving mother earth to be a woman on menstruation, which is a sign of fertility, she is given rest for all these three days. As such all agricultural activities remain suspended during these three days of celebration.
During these 3 days of festivity in Odisha , girls indulge in merry making and savour delicious Pithas ( Rice Cake). The festival is incomplete without tasting the delicacy called Poda Pitha and eating the traditional RAJA Pana.