The menstrual cycle is a natural re-occurring process that a female body has to go through. However, many strongly held taboos are still in circulation in rural and urban communities. Menstruation is often a subject shied away at schools and in families and as a consequence, this creates a toxic culture for women and young girls. Issues ranging from not being allowed into temples, stigmas attached to infections and untouchability, lack of menstrual hygiene products and an overall disempowering attitude towards a woman’s period can heavily restrict their quality of life, stress levels, and health.
Maasika Mahotsav an annual indigenous festival on period awareness aims to tackle problems at the heart of India’s menstruation centered taboo culture through fun-filled events. The festival occurs across state borders from, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu to Assam and West Bengal. Founded by 27-year-old Nishant Bangera, the festival is a part of A Period Of Sharing project which is an initiative organised by the Muse Foundation. This year’s Maasika Mahotsav also aims to create a more sustainable menstruation period. The festival will be held between May 21st to May 28th ending on Global Menstrual Hygiene Day.
The usage of more sustainable methods of menstrual hygiene products is also being promoted in this year’s festival. Nehali Jain, a member of Muse tells The Hindu, “We will teach them about the usage of cloth pads and menstrual cups. Since insertion is involved with the cups, this may meet with resistance. If they choose to use a cloth or cloth pads, healthy practices such as thorough washing and sun-drying will be promoted.” Maasika Mahotsav will be held in two places in Mumbai, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and in Thane. Activities involving art and music will be a medium through which menstrual hygiene education will be delivered.
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