Jharsuguda: As the harvest festival of Western Odisha ‘Nuakhai’ is round the corner, it seems the celebration is likely to be low-key amid COVID-19 pandemic. The district administration has denied permission to public celebration of Nuakhai.
The administration has issued a directive not to hold public meetings during the festival. However, celebrating Nuakhai within the households is permitted. The decision has been taken in view of rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in the district.
Nuakhai referred to as Nuakhai Parab or Nuakhai Bhetghat falls on August 23. Residents of western Odisha wait to celebrate the festival with enthusiasm and fervor.
Sambalpur MLA Jayanarayana Mishra and Rengali MLA Nauri Nayak have written to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asking him to reconsider the matter.
Earlier, the district administration had announced shutdown on the August 22 and 23 which is likely to affect the celebration. Jayanarayana and Nauri Nayak have therefore requested for changes in the shutdown dates.
Nuakhai stands for eating of newly harvested rice. People worship food grain on this auspicious day which is looked upon as a new ray of hope. The farmers offer the first produce from their lands to Goddess Samaleswari, to whom the festival is dedicated and then the rice is served to the entire family.