Bhubaneswar: India opened up to problems related to menstrual cycle only recently, but Odisha has been celebrating womanhood by likening it to Mother Earth’s rejuvenation and acknowledging the need for her to rest during three days of the swing festival “Raja’.
Women and unmarried girls enjoy the festival with Poda Pitha, new dress and sarees and swings, as girls and women shun daily household chores and indulge in merrymaking.
Celebrations are underway with much fanfare in Patrapada area of Bhubaneswar.
“Because of cyclone Fani, many trees got uprooted in Patrapada. And yet, in keeping with tradition, 70 swings have been tied to trees this year. Last year, 151 swings had been put up,” Sports and Cultural Vice-President of Maharaja Cricket Association Rabindra Nath Sahoo said.
“We have been celebrating Raja since 2011. Initially, we had installed only 30 swings. In 2017, there were 121 swings,” he said.
It started with a plantation drive in which Simulia saplings were sown on around 14 acres in 1991-92. “As the trees grew up, we started putting up swings. But around 500 small and big trees got uprooted during cyclone Fani. We are planning to start a tree plantation drive in the area,” Sahoo said. “People from Patrapada, Sijua, Dumduma, Khordha, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack come here to celebrate the occasion.”
Besides, Mehendi, Puchi, Jhoti and Muruja competitions will also be held on these three days, the cultural events host Prangya Priyadarshini Sahoo said.
“We have Hula Huli, conch blowing and balloon blowing competition and also one for ‘Poda Pitha’ preparation. For the boys, we have been organising chess and card contests,” she said.
Around 33 girls from an orphanage, Dibya Jyoti Kanyashram in Udayagiri Vihar here, had come to enjoy the festival on Raja Sankranti i.e. on Saturday.
They participated in conch shell-blowing contest and musical chair competition.
City-based Chandi foundation presented cosmetics and note books to the orphanage girls.
They enjoyed the cultural programme and will participate in a ramp show in the evening to the beats of patriotic song ‘Odisha Mo Odisha’.