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Nuakhai celebrated on a subdued note

Sambalpur: Notwithstanding drought conditions caused by delayed monsoon, people in western Orissa celebrated the festival of Nuakhai today amid gaiety and camaraderie, though on a subdued note.

Non-availability of mature paddy due to prolonged dry spell in the region appeared to have taken away the cheer during Nuakhai celebrations this time.

By August-September medium variety of paddy usually comes up. But this year people may not find paddy, due to late monsoon and cultivation.

In Nuakhai festival people offer new rice processed out of newly havested paddy to the deity.

Like Pongal in Andhra Pradesh, Onam of Kerala, Bihu of Assam and Baisakhi of Punjab, Nuakhai is also a festival based on agriculture in Western region of Orissa.

After offering `nabanna` to the deities and having food cooked from newly harvested paddy, the youngsters seek blessings from their elders.

People were seen exchanging greetings and visiting their near and dear ones to celebrate the festival with enthusiasm and joy.

The festival was celebrated throughout the region including Sambalpur, Bolangir, Sonepur, Bargarh, Boudh, Nuapara, Sundergarh, Jharsuguda and Deogarh.

A series of traditional cultural programms of dance and music were also organised to mark Nuakhai festival in different places.

In Sambalpur, prisiding deity Maa Samaleswari was offered Nabanna as a large number of devotees thronged various temples.

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