Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has announced an additional holiday for the agrarian festival Nuakhai on September 21, a day after the festival, in Bargarh, Sambalpur district, and Sundargarh Sadar sub-division.
Nuakhai is a vibrant festival celebrated with great enthusiasm in various districts of Odisha, including Sambalpur, Balangir, Bargarh, Sundargarh, Kalahandi, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Boudh, and Sonepur. It falls on the Panchami Tithi (the fifth day) of the lunar fortnight in the month of Bhadrapada or Bhadraba (August–September), which is the day following Ganesh Chaturthi.
This year, the festival will witness the offering of the first harvested crop, known as ‘Nabanna,’ to the goddess in Sambalpur at the auspicious Lagna (moment) between 10.27 am and 10.42 am. In addition to customary rituals, Nuakhai celebrations involve wearing new clothes, worshipping the presiding deity, and enjoying a festive meal with the entire family. The day after Nuakhai, people come together for the “Nuakhai Bhetghat” to exchange greetings with the traditional “Nuakhai Juhar.”
This rich oral tradition of the Nuakhai festival traces its roots back to the 12th century when it was first celebrated by Chauvan Raja Ramai Deo at Patanagarh in Balangir district.