Bhubaneswar: People of western Odisha today are celebrating the agrarian festival, Nuakhai, with much enthusiasm and fervour.
Thousands of devotees across the region thronged the temple of Maa Samaleswari, the presiding deity in Sambalpur, to pray on the occasion.
The first harvested crop was offered to the goddess at the stipulated lagna (auspicious period) between 10:05 am and 10:20 am.
‘New’ being the theme of this festival, people use everything new on the occasion including new clothes, pot, basket, leaves and tray for which their preparation starts at least a month preceding the festivities.
Almost every house in the region is seen decorated and womenfolk draw ‘Jhoti’ (drawings on walls in rice paste) to seek the blessings and welcome the deity to their home.
As per the traditions of the annual fest, the head of the family worships the household deity and offers rice and other delicacies. Later, he distributes the prasad among the family members. All family members sit and have their food together on this occasion.
Later the younger members of the family take blessings from the elders.