Prominent politician from the Western region of the state and Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly Jayanarayan Mishra of BJP has urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to declare two days local holiday for the celebration of the Nuakhai festival.
Nuakhai is an agrarian festival where the first crop of the season is offered to the Goddess as Prasad and the elders bless younger members of the family. All including the poor and rich wear new dresses and dance and music sessions are major parts of the celebration besides pujas and prayers in temples.
Mishra in a letter to the Chief Minister on Friday stated that the state government has declared September 1 as a holiday for Nuakhai this year. However, the people require at least two days for the festival as it is the biggest mass festival of the Western districts comprising Sambalpur, Bargarh, Kalahandi, Bolangir and others.
Mishra said that the district administrations are not allowing government employees and the general public to celebrate the festival for two days, which should be done keeping in view the significance of the festival.
”Therefore, I request the state government to announce two days of a local holiday in Western Odisha for the celebration of the annual festival,” the Leader of Opposition said. Stating that newly-harvested crop is offered to Goddess Samalei, Goddess Manikeswari and many other deities in Western Odisha as part of the Nuakhai celebration, he said said people celebrate the festival with their friends and relatives in a grand manner.
Even those who stay outside Odisha usually rush to their native places to celebrate Nuakhai, he said, adding that people staying abroad also celebrate the festival with much enthusiasm.