Raja Sankranti, which is also known as the Swing Festival is celebrated on the first day of the month, ‘Asara’, according to the Hindu calendar. This marks the beginning of the rain or monsoon season. This festival is celebrated for welcoming the agricultural year, in all the parts of Orissa. It is symbolised that monsoon season brings rains and moistened the soil, making it productivity rich. This festival is celebrated for three days and is more extravagantly celebrated in the regions like Cuttack, Puri and Balasore. The first day of this celebration is known as ‘Pahili Raja’, second day is known as ‘Raja’ and the final day is known as ‘Basi Raja’.
It is believed that women menstruation is considered to be the sign of women’s fertility and during this festival it is considered that mother earth menstruates and any kind of agricultural works are put on hold for three days. During this time, Mother Earth is resting and preparing herself for the upcoming production season. This festival is celebrated by the unmarried women or spinster and during this time, they wake up before sunrise on the first day and apply turmeric and oil and do their hair. Later they take a purity bath in the river.
Following this, the next two days they are not allowed to bath or walk barefoot or cook or cut anything including vegetables. For these three days, they dress up themselves, eat uncooked vegetables and spend their time with utter joy and merriment. They also move up and down on the swings constructed, which is known by other names like ‘Ram Doli, Charki Doli, Dandi doli, etc’. Including this, they also sing and visit their neighbours and relatives during this time. In 2018, this will be celebrated on June 15th.