Western Odisha Celebrates “Nuakhai” Amid COVID Pandemic

Bhubaneswar: The COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on the festive spirit of mass agrarian festival “Nuakhai” which will be celebrated on August 23. This year, there would be no Nuakhai Bhetghat, an integral part of the festival.

The name Nuakhai is a combination of two words, ‘Nua’ meaning new and ‘khai’ which means eat. When put together, Nuakhai stands for eating of new rice, further suggesting that the farmers in possession of newly harvested rice.

As per the custom, each farmer offers the first grain of the harvest to the presiding deity and then partakes it. All family members sit and take their food together on the occasion.

The farmers offer their first produce from the lands to Goddess Samaleswari, to whom the festival is dedicated. Following the Hindu calendar, the day falls on the Panchami Tithi of the lunar fortnight in Bhadrapada (August–September) months, the day after the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

In view of the Covid situation, the Samaleswari Temple Trust has decided to telecast the ‘Nabanna Lagi’ ritual live on social media today.

The ‘Nabanna’ or newly harvested rice will be offered to Goddess Samaleswari in between 9.35 to 9.50 am in the morning as per the lagna following which people will observe the festival at their homes.

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