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Low key Nuakhai celebrations in western Odisha amid COVID-19

Sambalpur: Agrarian festival Nuakhai is being celebrated on Sunday in western Odisha sans major celebration and congregation amid COVID-19 situation.

This year’s Nuakhai has become a low-key affair without any Nuakhai Bhet Ghat, the get-together to greet each other on the occasion.

Samaleswari Temple here wore a deserted look as visits to temples have been prohibited as a part of the COVID-19 guidelines of the state government. The Samaleswari Temple Trust has taken a decision of webcasting the Nabanna Lagi ritual (offering of new rice to Goddess Samaleswari) on social media.

Nuakhai is observed to welcome the new rice of the season. People of the region worship their presiding deities during Nuakhai celebrations as a mark of gratitude for bumper crops, good rain and favourable weather for farming activities.

As per the tradition, the farmers offer the first grains of the harvest to the deity and then partake it. The head of the family worships the household deity and offers the rice and other food before distributing the prasad among the other members.

Customarily, all the family members sit and eat together on the occasion, while the people who work outside also visit their homes to celebrate the festival.

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