Bhubaneswar: The people of west Odisha have started preparations for Nuakhai, the agrarian festival that welcomes the harvest of new crops every year, which will be held on September 14.
During the celebration, people of the region worship their presiding deities as a mark of gratitude for crop, good rain and favourable weather for farming. The rituals are first observed at the Samaleswari temple of Balangir and Sonepur.
Later, people celebrate the festival at their homes and offer the new crop to their domestic deity and to Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth in the Hindu tradition.
It is a tradition that after offering the nua (new crop) to the presiding deity, the eldest member of the family distributes it to other members of the family.
The preparation for the festival begins a fortnight before the puja day with people cleaning and whitewashing their houses.