Mrunal Manmay Dash

The ‘Lagna’ (auspicious time) for Nuakhai 2023, the agrarian festival of Western Odisha was finalised on Saturday.

As per reports, the ‘Navanna’ or newly harvested rice will be offered to Goddess Pataneswari, the presiding deity of Bolangir, between 10.28 am and 10.41 am, on September 20 this year.

Following a traditional puja at Shailashree Palace household office, priests finalised the lagna. As per the tradition, the Nuakhai is celebrated on ‘Panchami tithi’ of the Odia month of Bhadraba.

Informing the same, the Rajpurohit of Bolangir’s Shailashree Palace said, “The date and time of the lagna is finalised taking into account the zodiac and naxatra of Maa Pataneswari and the king of Patanagarh. I request all the devotees in Bolangir to offer prasad to their respective presiding deities between the prescribed time before eating the same themselves.”

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 their 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 are called 'Nuakhai Bhetghat'.

Various delicacies are prepared from the new rice and the items are 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 trays 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.

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