Bhubaneswar: The three-day Raja festival in Odisha kicked off today with much fanfare. The major Odia festival celebrates womanhood.
Girls and young women shun cooking and participate in merriment wearing new clothes and climb swings or play dice and card games. In rural areas, men too take part in the festivities with much fervour and don't miss the opportunity to celebrate the festival with playing cards and Kabadi.
A special feature of the fete is sweet betel (Mitha Paan) which has a huge demand during the grand festival. Different kinds of Odia cuisines especially 'Pithas' like poda pitha, chakuli, Arisa, Kakera, Chhena poda and other sweet items double the fun of revellers.
The typical Odia festival is celebrated to respect womanhood as it is believed that mother earth menstruates during this period. During the three days, ploughing or hitting soil is forbidden.