‘Kandana’: The Dying Ritual Of ‘Crying’ During Raja Parba

Bhubaneswar:   ‘Kandana’ is a very old ritual, where a girl cries when leaving her parent`s home, she expresses herself by reciting a poem (in the form of crying and moaning).

“This art is dying. When we were young girls, we used to gather during ‘Raja’ and used to learn the art of crying, and sing the ‘Bidaai’ songs in tearful tone. This art form is now lost. We were taught this art of crying and we use to cry holding our parents, brothers and sisters. But nowadays, the girls indulge in other merry-making during the Raja festival and have forgotten these traditional games,” informed 78-yr-old Rukmani Das.

Interestingly, there were even books on this art and the girls used to learn crying from those books also. This kind of ritual is mostly found in the rural pockets of Bhadrak, Balasore, Kendrapara districts of Odisha.

“In our times, we used to play several games during the Raja Parba. One was Bara Kanya (groom-bride) game in which there would be two groups representing both the sides. During the Bidai, the girl used the cry in a song form. It used to be tearful affair but nowadays, the girl and her mother, both do not cry during actual bidai, so how can you expect the modern fashionable girls to follow this age-old ritualistic game?” mocked 72-yr-old Panchali Das of Bhadrak.

To relive the dying art, there are competitions organised annually during the Raja Parba in places like Konark. Women of different ages participate in the competition showing their mettle in the art of crying, battling the way out by moaning aloud. Though an amusing competition, it is an effort to revive back the disappearing art.

In this era of social media, the traditional games like kacha koudi, doli etc have already taken a backseat. And ironically, many girls do not even know about the ‘Kandana’ as a traditional sport.

In urban places, the girls seem busy in online games with virtual friends. But some of the traditional games are still carried out with the same fervour and enthusiasm in many rural pockets of the State during this annual festival.

Rukmani Das

Panchali Das