Poda Pitha(click 2 check the full recipe)
The festival is observed for 3days. Most of the time it falls in mid of June (14th to 16th June).It is believed that Prithivi or the Earth gets her menstrual cycle in these three days once in a year and it has to be celebrated by unmarried girls.. It is one of the most awaited festivals among the Unmarried Girls in coastal Orissa.
Day 1: Pahili Raja (First Raja) - The last day of month “Jyestha”.
Day 2: Raja Sankranti (Middle Raja) the first day of month from which rainy season starts. It also inaugurates the agricultural year all over Orissa which marks the moistening of summer parched soil with the first shower of monsoon making it ready for productivity.
Day 3: Bhuin Dahana (Last Raja) – The second day of “Asadha” To celebrate the advent of monsoon the joyous festival is arranged for three days.
The celebration of the festival starts from day before the Pahili Raja and is known as Sajabaja…and the fourth day of Raja festival is also celebrated in the name of “Basumata Puja” (Basumata: Mother Earth).
During this festival digging of soil or tempering it in any way is strictly prohibited and unmarried girls are forbidden to do all kinds of manual works. They don’t carry water, cook foods, cut vegetables, sweep the houses, sew clothes, grind grains, comb hair, walk in bare foot etc. During these three days girls are seen in the best of their dresses and decorations, eating cakes, fruits, paans and rich food at the houses of friends and relatives.
Another common sight during this festival are swings which naturally come up in every nook and corner of the villages.The entire surrounding of the villages turn into a cauldron of ricocheting songs that go up with the oscillating swing. The girls and kids, move up and down in the swings rending the village sky with their joyous impromptu songs. The swings are tied to the branches of Mango or Banyan trees and decorated with garlands of different flowers. One of Girl is elected as Dola-rani (queen of the swing) by the Girls group. When the queen takes her seat on the swing, the virgins move her forward and backward with chorus of charming songs. These songs are full of jolly spirit of girl-hood days and refer to glorious future, happy love and would be marriage with suitable husbands..
While girls scatter beauty, music all round moving up and down on the swings during this festival, young men (normally unmarried Men) give themselves busy in various types of country games including playing cards, Bagudi, Kho kho and Kabadi competition. While ‘Yatras’ and ‘Gotipua’ dances are arranged at night in prosperous villages; plays and other entertainment programs are also conducted.
The main attraction of the festival is Poda Pitha (Burnt Cake) prepared of rice, urad dal, cardamom powder , coconut, cottage cheese, ghee and jaggery. The size of the cake varies according to the number of family members.