Raja Festival In Corona Times Turns An In-House Celebration
Bhubaneswar: Raja is considered a Gana Parba or mass festival celebrated by girls in Odisha but the coronavirus pandemic has turned it into an in-house celebration this year with no sign of community feast and people swinging on raja doli.
As Odisha Government has also ordered the weekend shutdown in 11 districts, the people celebrated the festival at home according to traditional customs by preparing traditional delicacies like poda pitha, kakara and arisa pitha and playing indoor games such as ludo.
Many families had tied swings inside the house, while others had tied it to nearby trees to let the girls celebrate Raja. All this was done while adhering to the guidelines of social distancing and wearing masks.
Arpita Priyadarshini, a class X girl from Dhenkanal said that she is adhering to the lockdown guidelines of the State Government and celebrating Raja with her family. Similarly, Sumitra Das from Cuttack said that due to the lockdown, she along with her two daughters-in-law is engaged in cooking delicacies for her family and also enjoy indoor games.
Pushpita Samal, a social activist from Dhenkanal also said that her Raja festival is also confined to cooking delicacies at home and eating paan. The Raja festival was never the same and the raja doli is also not visible anywhere this year, she added.
Though Sumi Bandh, Sumitra Behera and Ranu Bandh of Bhadrak have arranged a swing to enliven the festival, they are missing the company of their friends. Celebrating the festival while maintaining social distance has left them with no other option but to swing on one’s own.