Bhubaneswar: People in Odisha Saturday celebrated the agricultural festival Nuakhai with enthusiasm, offering the first harvest of the season to god.
Thousands of devotees thronged the temple of Maa Samaleswari, the presiding deity in Sambalpur, to pray and to see the deity in her special attire on the occasion.
The first harvested crop was offered to the goddess at the stipulated lagna (auspicious period) fixed by the pandit.
Similar offerings were made at Patmeswari temple in Bolangir district and Sureswari temple in Subarnapur.
People also observed Nuakhai, at home. They offered the first crop of the year to the household deity.
The head of the families worshipped the household deity and offered rice and other food items and later distributed ‘nabarna’ (rice cooked from the new harvest) to the rest of the family members.
According to the age-old tradition, family members sat and took their food together on this occasion.
Womenfolk woke up early in the morning to perform the Nuakhai rituals that began with decorating the house. The later half of the day was spent in the kitchen preparing special delicacies.
After having the food together, the younger members of the family took blessings from the elders.
In the evening, various socio-cultural organisations organised Nuakhai Bhetghat at several places in Sambalpur to celebrate the occasion. A number of cultural programmes are also organised in the evening.