Western Odisha celebrates Nuakhai 2021 adhering to Covid protocols

Bhubaneswar: The COVID-19 pandemic has put a restriction on the festive spirit of mass agrarian festival “Nuakhai” which is being celebrated in Odisa today. People of Odisha celebrated Nuakhai with fervour on Saturday amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nuakhai is the most significant festival of Western Odisha. Nuakhai festival is another great festival of the state of Odisha which is known for celebrating 13 festivals in 12 months as said popularly in Odia ‘Bara Massa re Teraa Parva’ Nuakhai, an agrarian festival mostly celebrated in western Odisha, has turned into a mass fiesta across the state over the years. On Nuakhai, people welcome the new rice of the season.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the people on the occasion. In a tweet, he said, ''Nuakhai Juhar! Greetings to everyone on this auspicious occasion. On Nuakhai we laud the outstanding efforts of our industrious farmers and their role in nation building. I pray for everyone's good health and well-being.'' Governor Ganeshi Lal also greeted the people on the occasion.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said Nuakhai is not only a festival, but it is the identity of the state's art, culture and tradition. ''I pray to Maa Samaleswari that may you all have a happy and prosperous life,'' said Patnaik through a video message.

People in the Western Odisha region initiate preparations for the event 15 days in advance. Nuakhai is understood to have 9 colours and as a consequence, 9 sets of rituals are followed as a prelude to the actual day of celebration. Even as traditional rituals were followed, the festivities were subdued this year due to the pandemic.

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