COVID Scare To Dampen ‘Raja’ Festivities In Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Raja, one of the most popular festivals in Odisha will not be celebrated in a grand manner this year. Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, the State Government has sought people’s cooperation in restricting Raja celebrations.

The administration of many districts have banned congregation during the Raja period between June 11 and June 16.

The Keonjhar district administration in an order said any kind of gathering for celebrations like Raja Doli, Mela, Mahostav, feast and traditional games related to Raja festival is strictly prohibited between June 11 and 16.

Similar orders have been passed by Ganjam district administration which has restricted any kind of congregation between June 11 and 16. Celebrations like Doli, Mela, Mahotsavs and Feasts have been strictly prohibited. The district administration has issued an SOP which has specific guidelines for the commercial establishments during Raja.

People need to be responsible while celebrating Raja. “Adhering to COVID-19 guidelines, being watchful while shopping and keeping family members safe during the celebration is very important. Festivals will come next year and further, but this year we all need to be extra careful,” said Odisha’s COVID-19 spoke Subroto Bagchi.

The State Government announced relaxation in the night curfew from 7 pm to 10 pm on June 12 to help people do shopping for Raja festival. Special Relief Commissioner Pradip Jena however said all other conditions such as social distancing and masks would have to be strictly followed.

Raja Parba, is a 3-day festival celebrating the onset of monsoons and the earth’s womanhood. As a mark of respect towards the earth during her menstruation days, all agricultural works, like ploughing, sowing are suspended for the three days. Young women wear new clothes, apply ‘Alata’ on their feet and enjoy folk songs while swinging on decorated rope swings during Raja.