Orissa celebrates harvest festival

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Deogaon (Orissa), Aug 24 (ANI): People in Orissa on Monday offered the first crop of the season to their presiding deities in celebration of the harvest festival of 'Nuakhai'.

Nuakhai is a major festival observed by the masses over the entire western part of Orissa to welcome the new rice-paddy of the season.

Although the threat of drought looms large in various parts of the state, yet 'Nuakhai' was celebrated by the farmers of Deogaon with the hope of receiving a good crop next year.

After offering the new yields to their presiding deities, the worshippers from different castes and communities ate the offerings, which included new rice, curry and brewed rice beer.

"We wear new dresses and cook a variety of food items. We arrange all the material to worship our Gods and Goddesses and then we offer paddy to them. Later on, we distribute the paddy to everyone at home as a prasad," said Sitaya Pradhan, a villager.

According to scholars, this 'Nuakhai' festival gives the message of unity, peace and harmony.

"This festival gives a message. This message is very unique. It gives the theme of 'Nuakhai' that we must produce more crops to feed the human lot and we must maintain peace and harmony. Even if it is for a single day in a year, it is better for the society," said Narayan Pruseth, a scholar.

With the monsoons playing truant' 'Nuakhai' has become a dull affair this time.

According to Hindu calendar, it is observed on panchami tithi (fifth day) of lunar fortnight of Bhadrava (August-September), the day after Ganesh Chaturthi. (ANI)

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