Sambalpur: Festive spirit gripped western Odisha today as people from all walks of life celebrated Nuakhai, the agrarian festival, with much zeal and zest.
As per the tradition, Navanna (newly harvested rice) was offered to Maa Samaleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur, between between 10.05 AM and 10.20 AM today. Following the ritual, hundreds of devotees made a beeline to the temple for Darshan and offer prayer. Navanna was also offered to deities in popular Peethas of western Odisha like Pataneswari, Lankeswari and Sureswari.
After the Navanna ritual, family members cooked the new rice with milk, sugar and other traditional items and eat the same together.
Nuakhai, which is observed to welcome the new rice of the season, is being celebrated in other western Odisha districts like Sambalpur, Sundergarh, Kalahandi, Balangir, Bargarh, Subarnapur, Deogarh, Jharsuguda and Boudh.
On the occasion, younger members of the family seek blessings from their elder ones and greet each other, a ritual called Nuakhai Bhet.