Sambalpur:3/9/19: People across western Odisha are celebrating Nuakhai – the agrarian festival of the region – with religious fervour and devotion today.
The rituals started at 4 am. After performing ceremonial bath and other rituals of Maa Samaleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur. Then the Goddess was draped in a new ‘patta’ and decked up with ornaments.
The celebrations began with the ‘Nabanna’ or new rice out of newly harvested paddy crop being offered to Maa Samaleswari Devi, as per the ‘lagna’ or auspicious moment between 10:05 AM and 10:20 AM today. Later, ‘Nabanna’ was offered to other deities in the temple.
Nuakhai is one of the major festivals in Odisha and is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur in Western Odisha. On this auspicious festival, the head of the family worships the presiding deity and offers new rice and other food items. The prasad is then distributed among the family members who then consume the new food grain together.
As the fest symbolises harmony, brotherhood various socio-cultural organisations have lined up Nuakhai Bhetghat programmes in various places to celebrate the occasion in the evening today. To mark the importance of festival a number of cultural programmes including Sambalpuri folk dances and songs will also be organised in several parts of Odisha.