Nuakhai Is The Agricultural Festival Of People Of Western Odisha

About the Nuakhai festival:

Paschim odisha’s Nuakhai is also called Nuakhai Parab or Nuakahi Bhetghat. The word nua means new and khaimeans food, so the name means the farmers are in possession of the newly harvested rice. The festival is seen as a new ray of hope, held the day after the Ganesha Chaturthi festival. It has a big significance for farmers and the agricultural community. The festival celebrated at a particular time of day which is called lagan. Arsaa pithaa is prepared to celebrate this festival. When the lagan comes, the people first remember their village god or goddess and then have their nua.

Nuakhai

Nuakhai is the agricultural festival of people of Western odisha. The festival is observed throughout Odisha, but it is particularly important in the life and culture of Western Odisha. It is a festival for the worship of food grain. It has its best celebration in the Kalahandi, Sambalpur, Balangir, Bargarh, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sonepur, Boudh and Nuapada districts of Odisha .

Ancient origin:

According to local researchers Nuakhai is of fairly ancient origin. Some researchers found the fundamental idea of the celebration can be traced back at least to Vedic times when the rishis (sages) had talked of panchayajna, the five important activities in the annual calendar of an agrarian society. These five activities have been specified assitayajna (the tilling of the land), pravapana yajna (the sowing of seeds), pralambana yajna (the initial cutting of crops), khala yajna (the harvesting of grains) and prayayana yajna (the preservation of the produce). In view of this, Nuakhai may be seen as having evolved out of the third activity, namely pralambana yajna, which involves cutting the first crop and reverently offering it to the mother goddess.

Rituals:

People of Westen Orissa initiate the preparation event before 15 days of the festival.Nuakhai, is also called Nabanna Bhakhayana.The importance of Nuakhai is well understood by its nine different rituals. As a consequence nine sets of rituals are followed as a prelude to the actual day of celebration. These nine rituals  include:
•Beheren(Announcement for meeting to set a date),
•Lagna dekha(Setting the exact date for partaking of new rice)
•Daka Haka(Invitation),
•Sapha Sutura and Lipa Puchha(Cleanliness),
•Ghina Bika(Purchasing),
•Nua Dhan Khuja(Looking for new crop),
•Bali Paka(Final resolve for Nuakhai by taking Prasad i.e. pahur to deity),
•Nuakhai(Taking new crop as Prasad after offering to the deity followed by dancing andsinging),
•Juhar Bhet(Respect to elders)

Celebration

On the day before Nuakhai, people collect the new paddy and make it, into flatten rice “Chuda”. They decorate their houses with the banner of new paddy. On the day of Nuakhai, they prepare “Nua” which is a mixture of Chuda, Banana and Milk and Sugar. Then they go to the nearest temple where they collect the “Bhoga” which is offered to their village Goddess. After that they mix the offered Bhoga with their home prepared Nua and finally all the members of the family sit together and eat the Nua(Mixture of Chuda,Banana and Milk and Sugar) for three times in a row. During the celebration people also take the Blessing of their village Goddess. After being blessed by Goddess, the junior members of the family take the blessing of the senior members by touching their.

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