Pahili Raja 2024

14 June 2024
Odisha    Regional holiday

Raja Sankranti or Pahilli Raja is a state government holiday observed in Odisha in eastern India. Raja Sankranti is observed on the second day of the month of Asadha in the Hindu calendar. This day is sometimes known as the Swing Festival and marks the second day of a popular three-day festival that ushers in the monsoon rainy season.

The first day of the festival is Pahili Raja. The second day is Raja Sankranti (proper Raja) or Mithuna Sankranti and the third day is Basi Raja (past Raja). During the three days, women are given a break from household work and time to play indoor games. No farming takes place and everyone abstains from walking barefoot on the earth. This is to prepare the earth for the coming rain. Unmarried girls will dress in new clothes or wear traditional Saree and Alata (red dye) on their feet.

Indoor and outdoor games are a popular pursuit during Raja. Girls will play on swings tied on tree branches while singing folk songs. There are various types of swings, each with a name such as Ram Doli, Charki Doli, Pata Doli and Dandi Doli. On the final and fourth day, Vasumati Snana, women bathe the grinding stone as a symbol of Bhumi, Hindu goddess of the earth, with turmeric paste and adore with flowers. All types of seasonal fruits are offered to mother Bhumi. The day before the festival is called Sajabaja or preparatory day during which the house, kitchen including the grinding stones are cleaned and spices are ground for three days.