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Rashmi Ranjan

Sambalpur: Even as devotees are barred from visiting temples in view of COVID-19 pandemic, festivities gripped western districts of the State on Sunday as people geared up for a low-key celebration of Nuakhai, the agrarian festival of western Odisha.

Complying with the COVID-19 restrictions, all the arrangements have reached final stage to preserve the age-old tradition amid the pandemic.

In view of the situation, the Samaleswari Temple Trust has decided to telecast the ‘Nabanna Lagi’ ritual live on social media today. The ritual marks the beginning of the agrarian festival of Nuakhai in western Odisha.

As per the ‘lagna’, the ‘Nabanna’ or newly harvested rice will be offered to Goddess Samaleswari, the presiding deity of the district between 9.35 AM and 9.50 AM today.

Unlike every year, Nuakhai will be celebrated without devotees. All the rituals of Goddess Samaleswari will be performed without devotees' participation.

As per the traditions of the annual fest, the head of the family worships the presiding deity and offers new rice, peetha, kheer and other delicacies. The Prasad is then distributed among the family members, who then consume the new food grain together.

The festival also bears significance among the farming community as they perform puja on their farmland to thank ‘Mother Earth’ for being so bountiful.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda wished people on the occasion of  Nuakhai.

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)

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