Surjit Kumar Dhal, Bhubaneswar, Sept 3: People in Western Odisha celebrated one of their important festivals ‘Nua Khai’ “, a harvest festival welcoming the new crop, with great fervor and enthusiasm on Tuesday. Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan greeted the people on the occasion of “Nuakhai. The Governor in his message wished the people of the state happiness and prosperity while Patnaik extended wishes through a Sambalpuri tweet.
Union Petroleum and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan greeted the people with “Nuakhai Juhar” and hoped the auspicious festival will bring good luck. BJP national vice-president and former MP Baijayant Panda and a host of other dignitaries also greeted the people of Odisha on the occasion. Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik made a sand sculpture on Puri beach to wish the people. The festival began with offering Nabanna, the newly harvested paddy, to Goddesses Samaleswari Devi in Sambalpur. Later, the people offered Nabanna to their presiding deities. A large number of devotees thronged the Samaleswari temple to witness the traditional ceremony and seek the blessings of the Goddess, while cultural programmes were also organised in different areas on the festival, which symbolizes harmony and brotherhood. The first rice was offered to Maa Samalai as per the time fixed by the pundits. Goddess Samaleswari was adorned with new saree and ornaments, said Samaleswari Temple’s priest, Ambika Prashad Ray.
People, attired in new clothes, also celebrated the festival in their own houses which were decorated for the occasion, while the farmers worshiped the paddy fields. Special delicacies were also prepared and offered to the family deity in every household before the family members sat together to savour the food.