Odisha’s four day festival– Raja ( pronounced Ro-jo)–is breaking the taboo around menstruation by celebrating the biological cycle.
The festival is celebrated with the belief that in the month of June, the Earth, perceived to be a woman, menstruates.
It is believed that the biological cycle of menstruation lasts for three days and during those three days, ploughing is forbidden to give Mother Earth rest. On the fourth day, Bhudevi has a ceremonial bath.
Also, during the festival, girls and women of all ages shun their work and have a gala time. They wear new clothes, play games and take to swings.
“Everyone who thinks women are impure during their periods should see how Odisha celebrated Raja. Those who believe the menstrual blood to be impure should know that the same kept a life on for nine months inside the mother’s womb,” social activist Manoj Jena told HT.
Last year, there was furor over ban of entry of all women, from reproductive age of 10 to 50 , in the Sabarimala temple. Women took to social media and stated that they were not ashamed of their menstrual blood.