“Nuakhai” is a festival to celebrate newly harvested food by the farmers, especially Western Odisha. As we all know, it is celebrated one day after the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi, where people staying in distant lands, come back to their native places, wear new clothes and offer the prayer before God and eat delightful foods cooked from the newly harvested crops.
But as we all know, the outbreak has hindered the festive spirit of Nuakhai this year. As we need to maintain social distancing and avoid public gathering, this year, there will no ‘Nuakhai Bhetghat,’ an essential part of this annual festival. People in western districts celebrate a very low-key celebration of Nuakhai, which is also known as the agrarian festival of western Odisha.
In this festival, ‘Nabanna Lagi’ ritual is performed in which ‘Nabanna’ or newly harvested rice is granted to goddess Samaleswari, it was live telecasted for the devotees. All the rituals of Goddess Samaleswari will be performed without devotees’ participation.
The farmers worship their presiding deity on Nuakhai as a mark of appreciation for a shield crop, good rain, and pleasant farming weather. As per the ritual, farmers offer the first grain of the harvest to the presiding deity and then share it.
People also plan several cultural programmes like folk dance and songs in their districts, which shows Odisha’s local customs and tradition.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted people on this occasion and lauded farmers for their immense effort for our nation.
He tweeted, “The special occasion of Nuakhai is about celebrating the hard work of our farmers. It is due to their efforts that our nation is fed. “May this auspicious day bring prosperity and good health for everyone. Nuakhai Juhar!”
This year people celebrated the festival while staying indoors due to Coronavirus outbreak.
Article Written by Dikhya Mohanty
Image Source: Google