Mrunal Manmay Dash

The ‘Lagna’ (auspicious time) for Nuakhai 2022, the agrarian festival of Western Odisha was finalised on Friday.

As per reports, the ‘Navanna’ or newly harvested rice will be offered to Goddess Samaleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur, between 10.56 am and 11.10 am, on September 1 this year.

Following traditional puja at the Brahmapura temple in Sambalpur city, priests finalised the lagna, a day after the Janmashtami yesterday. As per the tradition, the Nuakhai is celebrated on ‘Panchami tithi’ of the Odia month of Bhadraba.

The agrarian festival of the region has the charm of its own as all the members of the family, irrespective of where they are, congregate on the day and celebrate the festival together. Youngsters in the family also seek the blessings of the elders setting aside all the differences.

People offer the 'Nabanna' to the deity amidst 'Hulahuli', beating of drums, cymbals and sounds of conch shells on Nuakhai.

After eating 'Nabanna' bhog, people seek blessings from elders in the family and locality which is called 'Nuakhai Juhar' in local parlance, a significant part of the festival. People also exchange greetings which is called 'Nuakhai Bhetghat'.

Various delicacies are prepared from the new rice and it is exchanged with relatives and friends.

'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. Several community programmes are held to mark the festival in which all sections of people take part.