Nuakhai Juhar harvest festival:Odisha

Date: September 06, 2016

crop season odhisa ganesh chaturthi paddy rice

Nuakhai or Nuankhai is an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Odisha in India.Nuakhai is observed to welcome the new rice of the season. According to the Kosali calendar it is observed on panchami tithi (the fifth day) of the lunar fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada or Bhaadra (August–September), the day after the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. This is the most important social festival of Western Odisha and adjoing areas of Simdega in Jharkhand.

The word nua means new and khai means 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.

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Nuakhai is the agricultural festival of Kosali people . 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 .

People in the Kosal region initiate preparations for the event 15 days in advance. Nuakhai is understood to have nine colours and as a consequence nine sets of rituals are followed as a prelude to the actual day of celebration. These nine colours include:

Beheren (announcement of a meeting to set the 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 the new crop)
Bali paka (final resolve for Nuakhai by taking the Prasad (the offering) to the deity)
Nuakhai (eating the new crop as Prasad after offering it to the deity, followed by dancing and singing)
Juhar bhet (respect to elders)


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