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 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 .
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.