Nuakhai: A Sneak Peek Into The Harvest Festival Of Western Odisha

Nuapada: The ‘Lagna’ (auspicious time) for Nuakhai 2022, the agrarian festival of Western Odisha was finalised and the ‘Navanna’ or newly harvested rice will be offered to Goddess Samaleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur, between 10.56 am and 11.10 am, on September 1 this year.

The occasion marks the consumption of the first harvested crops and falls on the Bhadraba Shuklapakhya Panchami tithi, which is the day following Ganesh Chaturthi. It is the most important festival in the region and is an official holiday in Odisha.

The literal meaning of Nuakhai is ‘Nua’ means New and ‘khai’ means eating. The new harvest crops are worshipped and people celebrate it by eating the first rice of the harvest together with their family.

The festival is often compared to Tamil Nadu’s Onam which is also a celebration of fresh harvest and is understandable, of massive significance for the agricultural community.

Nuakhai has its finest celebration in districts like Sambalpur, Balangir, Jharsuguda, Sonepur, Boudh, Bargarh, Sundargarh, Kalahandi and Nuapada. The festival is also celebrated in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand where it is known to be Navakhai Parv.

Families away from their homeland drive back for the great celebration of harvested crops. Wearing new clothes, people offer prayers and delicious food cooked from the newly harvested crops to the gods. This auspicious festival is also known as Nuakhai Parab or Nuakhai Bhetghat.

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