Nuakhai Celebration in Western Odisha

Yesterday, Nuakhai was celebrated with gaiety and religious fervour and today the day after the Nuakhai is the BASI of Nuakhai.

The Navanna (newly harvested rice) was offered to Goddess Samaleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur, at the stipulated lagna (auspicious moment) between 10.18 am and 10.32 am. During this period, families also offered the Navanna to their respective Istadevata (presiding deity) and Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of Wealth) as a mark of gratitude for a bumper harvest, good rain and a favourable weather.

While it was Goddess Samaleswari in Sambalpur, it was Patneswari in Balangir, Sureshwari in Sonepur, Sekharbasini in Sundargarh and Manikeswari in Kalahandi who were worshipped.

Being an agrarian festival, the eldest in each household in rural pockets worshipped their paddy fields and cattle.

Womenfolk woke up early in the morning to perform Nuakhai rituals that began with decorating the house with jhoti. The later half of the day was spent in the kitchen preparing special delicacies. During the festival, various traditional dishes and pancakes are prepared, including Mug Bara, Ras Bara, Mug Manda, Suji Manda, Chaul Manda, Kakra Pitha, Kheeri besides preparations from Saru Patra (leaves of taro plant), Makhan Sag (leaves of pumpkin creeper) and Kardi (bamboo shoots).

While children in colourful attire enjoyed their holiday to the fullest, devotees across the region thronged Samaleswari temple. Later in the evening, ‘Nuakhia Bhetghat’ were organised by different socio-cultural organisations and greetings were exchanged among the denizens.

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