Odisha is a land of numerous festivals. Nature is revered and her blessings are celebrated in multiple ways in the state. Most festivals in the state have religious significance and have their own set of rituals. However there are also festivals that are secular in nature and are celebrated in reverence of nature and natural events. One such festival is Raja which is celebrated in acknowledgement of Man’s gratefulness to nature.
Raja is a festival of fertility, creativity and positivity. Celebrated on the first day of Asadh, Raja ushers in monsoon that lends productivity to the land. It is celebrated over a period of four days in which people in engage in amusements, fun and sports. It is primarily a celebration of girls and women who symbolize productivity in the human context. Apart from girls, it is a festival of the farmers who brace up for the next cropping season from the day of Raja.
The first day or Pahili Raja is the day on which the festival starts. Girls don new attires and engage in merriment with friends. As working is prohibited in these four days, everyone abstains from work. Swings are made in which girls sway. Many types of pancakes (pithas) are prepared and people consume it with delight and also share with friends. Poda Pitha is the signature dish of the festival of Raja.
The second day is the Raja Sankranti on which the celebration continues the same way. The day marks the beginning of the rainy season and end of the heat of summer. In the third day too merriment continues. People engage themselves in many indoor sports and consume Paan. Generally people visit to the houses of their friends and relatives on this day.
The fourth day is called the Basumati Snan in which the earth is said to take bath. Farmers worship mother earth and no tilling or strenuous pressure is put on earth.
Mayfair Hotels too celebrate the festival in its true spirit. Many types of items like Chakuli Pitha, Chhena Matar Tarkari, Maunso Jholo, Mitha, Moonga Ghanta, Suji Kakara, Manda Pitha, Puda Pitha, Chunchi Patra Pitha, Pulli Pitha are prepared in Kanika, the restaurant that specializes in Odia food. The ambience is decorated to provide a festive feel to the guests. The celebration also provides an insight to the guests on the culture and lifestyle of the people of Odisha.
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