Mithuna Sankranti or Raja Parba

June 13, 2015, In: Mythological

India is said to be a country of culture and agriculture. Mithuna Sankranti is the perfect blend of both. Originated in Orissa, the Mithuna Sankranti or Raja Parba is a seasonal festival, rather say, closely connected to the change of season. It marks the arrival of monsoon (in Orissa) and brings a sigh of relief to the men suffering from the scorching heat. The festival is observed with enriching rituals for four days, on the second day of which the monsoon starts. The ritual basically inaugurates the arrival of the agricultural year in Orissa.

As per the Indian mythological beliefs, Mother Earth is the divine wife of Lord Vishnu. During the first three days of Raja Parba, she menstruate. The Sanskrit word for menstruation is Rajaswala and that is why the period of Bhudevi (mother Earth) menstruating has been marked by the name Raja Parba. On the fourth day, the ceremonial bathing of Bhudevi is celebrated and it is called Vasumati Gadhua. The inhabitants of Orissa worship Lord Jagannatha, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and consider Bhudevi to be his wife. This ceremony gathered more popularity during the medieval period and was widely observed as the agricultural holiday.

Why this ceremony is rather a socially progressive phenomenon becomes a question for many. The religious aspect of this ceremony is also a bright part of the discussion. The silver idol of Bhudevi is still seen in the temple of Puri, alongside the idol of Lord Jagannatha. During this ceremony, the women receive a desired break from their day-to-day household chores. Traditionally, the women spend their days playing indoor games and enjoying delicious foods like Pithas and the likes. The unmarried girls wear trendy or traditional Sarees, color their feet with alatha and play swings on the tree branches. Aged women enjoy cards and Ludo and other indoor games.

There is a trend of organizing Kabaddi matches for young men among many communities. One can also see the cultural enrichment woven with fun in this ceremony. Orissa folk songs are popular among the Indians. During Raja Parba also, Orissa folk songs become the centerpiece of the celebration. Raja Gita is a very popular trend of folk culture with a vehemently ceremonial root that belongs to this particular festival. These songs mainly speak of intense emotions- love, affection and respect. It also signifies the social orders and social behaviors followed and respected by the Oriya society. Such ceremonies are cultural enrichment in one hand and patronizing social bonds through religious foundations on the other.

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