All set to welcome Nuakhai - Festival celebrates new crop, renews ties

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By SUBRAT MOHANTY
  • Published 20.09.12
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A Nuakhai Juhar sand sculpture created by artist Sudarshan Patnaik in Puri on Wednesday. (PTI)

Sambalpur, Sept. 19: People of western Odisha gave final touches to preparations for the harvest festival of Nuakhai that will be observed on Thursday. The festival, also known as Nabanna, is observed in this part of the state in a grand way.

Western Odisha is already wearing a festive look. Houses have been cleaned and white washed. Shopping for new clothes and items that are used in the rituals of Nuakhai is also at its peak.

“The farmers offer the first crop of the year to the household deity on this occasion. The head of the family worships the household deity and offers the rice and other food items. He then distributes the prashad among the family members. All the family members sit and take their food together. Then the younger members of the family seek blessings from elders, also known as ‘Nuakhai juhar’,” said Shyam Sunder Dhar, a writer on Sambalpuri culture and tradition.

The festival strengthens the bond of brotherhood as family members and relatives pray together and celebrate the new crop, he said.

Various cultural groups in the cities of western Odisha have made arrangements to organise cultural programmes such as Sambalpuri folk dances and songs in the evening. People dance to the tune of foot-tapping Rasarkeli and Dalkhai.

“Such has been the popularity of the festival that people of the region residing in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam have been celebrating the festival for the past decade,” said Balgopal Panigrahi, a resident of Sambalpur

To welcome the harvest festival, eminent artists of Sambalpur city organised a painting workshop at Gangadhar Mandap today.

Several students and the young artists of the city took part in the workshop, which was organised by the Sambalpur Working Artists’ Association.

The theme of the painting workshop was ‘Chitrakara Ra Canvas Re Nuakhai’, meaning Nuakhai depicted on canvas.

Mahesh Pandey, an artist attending the workshop, said: “My painting depicts our culture. Nuakhai is festival that reinforces solidarity. I have tried to show this through my painting.”