Festive spirit gripped western Odisha today as people from all walks of life celebrated Nuakhai, the agrarian festival, which is observed to welcome the new rice of the season with much zeal and zest here on Tuesday.
As per the tradition, Navanna (newly harvested rice) was offered to Maa Samaleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur, between 10.05 am and 10.20 am today.
Following the ritual, hundreds of devotees made a beeline to the temple for Darshan and offered prayers. Navanna was also offered to deities in popular Peethas of western Odisha like Pataneswari, Lankeswari and Sureswari.
After the Navanna ritual, family members cooked the new rice with milk, sugar and other traditional items and eat the same together.
"This festival demands that all the family members should unite to show gratitude to the Almighty for a good crop and favourable weather for agricultural activities," said Ambika Rai a priest.
This famous agrarian festival will be celebrated for three continuous days in the districts of western Odisha including Sundargarh, Kalahandi, Balangir and Bargad.
On the occasion, younger members of the family seek blessings from their elder ones and greet each other, a ritual called Nuakhai Bhet. After Nuakhai they greet each other in a special Cultural function called Nuakhai Bhetghat or 'Nuakhai milan'
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Twitter handle has also extended his wishes on this festival, "One of the most ancient festivals of Odisha, may this auspicious occasion further the spirit of prosperity, especially among our hardworking farmers. Praying for everyone's good health and wellbeing.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)