Devotees praying on Mithuna Sankranti. Image Source: IANS

June 14 : According to the Hindi lunar calendar, Mithuna Sankranti or Mithun Sankranti denotes the beginning of the third Solar month. The festival is called by many names in various parts of India. Popularly it is known as Raja Parba and celebrated religiously in Odisha.

People often ask, ‘Mithun Sankranti kab hai’? In 2019, the festival falls between June 15, 2019 and ends by June 18, 2019. The festival is called as 'Asharh' in Eastern India, 'Aani' in Southern India, 'Mithunam onth' in Kerala and in some Southern places as Sankramanam. The Puja Vidhi and timings are to be followed with a lot of care and prayers. In many places, it is called the Raja Parba (a yearly menstruating time for the Goddess Earth) and in North Eastern areas of India, the festival is called Ambubachi Mela.

This is a time when the Sun moves from one zodiac constellation and makes its entry in the Gemini zodiac sign. So, sometimes, the day is called Gemini Sankranti and this marks the commencement of the rains. It is emphasised that people need to engage in charitable works, as they are considered auspicious. In certain places, families gift cows as gift, as the ritual is believed to be highly auspicious. Mostly people donate clothes and no work is done on this day.

As mentioned earlier, this is a 4 day festival and each day has a special name attached to it. The first day is called Panil Raja, the second day is named as Raja Parba, the third day is named as Basi Rajaor Bhudaah and finally the last and fourth day is called Vasumatisnan. It is believed that after the three days of prayers, the fourth day will be welcomed with heavy rains.

Importance of Raja Parba: As per the mythological story, it is believed that Goddess Earth is in the menstruation phase of womanhood for the first three days of the festival. On the fourth day, she takes her bath in a ceremonial function called Bhudevi. The rains are believed to come on the fourth day to complete the purification ceremony of the festival.

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