The word period or menstruation comes with a lot of stigmas attached to it. From being asked to eat in a different vessel, sleep separately, not visit religious places, not eat pickles and water plants- the list of baseless age-old customs goes on.
This goes without saying, we need to have a better conversation about periods and eradicate the shame and embarrassment attached to it. As Menstrual Hygiene Day approaches on the 28th of May, we have a period festival named Maasika Mahotsav that celebrates periods as it should be!
Maasika Mahotsav is a period festival started in India in 2017 to dismantle myths about periods and make menstruation a part of everyday conversations.
The Period Festival was started by Muse Foundation. The five-day festival will be celebrated from 21st May to 28th May with the theme Sustainable Menstruation.
With the idea to normalise the discussion around periods, the founder of Muse foundation, Nishant Bangera said:
Muse Foundation started working on the issue of menstrual hygiene in 2014. It was through an initiative called ‘a period of sharing’. During our work towards creating awareness about menstrual hygiene and distributing hygiene products, we learned that a lot of women who attend our workshops are not able to take the conversation forward in their homes and with those around them. We wanted to change that and celebrate periods.
The Period festival is celebrated across seven states this year including, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh– to assert periods are not a taboo or a curse. It promotes menstrual hygiene through arts, cultural activities, and sports. The festival aims to talk about periods in a way that’s not a formal talk and keeps it interactive.
The festival today has spread to nine countries across four continents. Talking about how periods are a global issue and the festival has inspired the world, the founder said:
When we started the period festival it was just in three states, with the support of our NGO partners. But since menstruation and the stigma around it is an almost universal topic it resonated elsewhere as well. An NGO in Nepal also wanted to celebrate the period festival and it was they who came up with the name Maasika Mahotsav. We got a lot of interest from NGOs in Africa as well. And now they have taken the concept and are organising their own period festivals.
While there’s a lot to discuss and change when it comes to menstruation, including period poverty, deep-rooted menstrual taboos, and unscientific traditions, this festival is a ray of hope in our society.
Read more: 9 Things Women Should Absolutely NOT Do When They Are On Their Periods.