Mithuna Sankranti 2023: Raja Parba, another name for Mithuna Sankranti is a traditional festival celebrated in the Indian state of Odisha. It is primarily a celebration of womanhood, fertility, and the onset of the monsoon season. The festival holds historical and mythological significance in Odia culture.
Mithuna Sankranti 2023: Date
Mithuna Sankranti is a three-day-long festival. The first day is known as Raja Sankranti, the second day is called Mithuna Sankranti and the third day is celebrated as Bhudaha or Basi Raja. It usually falls in Sukhla Pakhshya in mid-June i.e. end of Odia month Jyeshta and the arrival of Ashadha month. And this year it will be celebrated from June 14 to June 16.
14 June 2023
15 June 2023
16 June 2023
Bhudaha or Basi Raja
Raja Sankranti 2023: History
The origins of Raja Parba can be traced back to ancient times when agricultural communities relied heavily on the monsoon rains for a successful harvest. The festival is believed to have its roots in the worship of Mother Earth and her fertility. It is also associated with the legend of Goddess Bhudevi, who is believed to undergo her menstrual cycle during this period. Consequently, the first day of the festival, known as Pahili Raja, is dedicated to the cleansing and purifying rituals of Mother Earth.
Over the years, Raja Parba has evolved into a celebration of femininity, agriculture, and the arrival of the monsoon. It is a time when the community comes together to rejoice in the abundance of nature and express gratitude for the blessings of life.
Mithuna Sankranti 2023: Significance
Raja Parab is an agriculture-oriented festival, mostly observed in the coastal districts of Orissa for three days. Mithuna Sankranti holds cultural and astronomical significance. It marks the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign of Gemini (Mithuna) according to the Hindu calendar. This event is celebrated to honour the changing seasons and the agricultural cycle. The festival marks preserving the cultural heritage and traditions associated with this unique festival.
During this festival, Mother Earth or "Basu Mata" is considered to be a menstruating woman. Hence digging of soil or tempering it in any way is strictly prohibited. Mother Earth is given rest just like a woman imposed with several restrictions. According to another folklore, the festival is observed to respect Bhudevi, Lord Jagannath's wife. It is also considered one of the chief festivals of unmarried girls or potential mothers. It symbolizes new beginnings, fertility, and growth. Devotees often take ritual baths in sacred rivers, offer prayers, and perform charitable acts. The festival brings communities together, fostering unity and spirituality.
Mithuna Sankranti 2023: Celebration
The festival Raja Sankranti derives its name from the Sanskrit word, ‘Raja’ which means menstruation. So, during Raja Parba, women take a break from their daily chores and indulge in various cultural activities. They dress up in traditional attire, play games, sing folk songs, and swing on beautifully decorated swings known as "pithas." These swings are symbolic of the joy and fertility associated with the festival. It is believed that swinging on these pithas brings good luck and prosperity.
Mithuna Sankranti also showcases the close bond between brothers and sisters. On the second day of the festival, known as Mithuna Sankranti, sisters apply a special medicinal paste on their brothers' bodies and pray for their well-being.
Special varieties of cake are prepared with rice powder, molasses, coconut, camphor, ghee etc go in the name of Podapitha (burnt cake). The size of the cake varies according to the number of family members. Cakes are also exchanged among relatives and friends. Young girls do not take rice during this festival and sustain only on different types of cake, puffed rice and vegetable curry. People indulge in different types of fun activities within the community. Special 'Yatras' and 'Gotipua' dance events are arranged at community levels.
In conclusion, Raja Parab is a vibrant and culturally significant festival celebrated in the Indian state of Odisha. It commemorates and rejoices in the onset of the monsoon season, honouring the Earth's fertility and expressing gratitude for the bountiful harvests to come. People engage in various joyful activities, including swinging on decorated rope swings, playing traditional games, and relishing delicious food. The festival promotes a sense of unity, happiness, and rejuvenation as individuals and communities come together to celebrate the beauty and abundance of nature.