Nuakhai Festival 2021

Nuakhai or Nuankhai is an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Odisha. Nuakhai is observed to welcome the new rice of the season. According to the calendar it is observed on panchami tithi (the fifth day) of the lunar fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada or Bhadraba (August–September), the day after the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. This is the most important social festival of Western Odisha and adjoining areas of Simdegain Jharkhand, where Odia culture is much predominant.

Nuakhai 2021

Date Day Celebrated in
11 September 2021 Saturday Odisha

About the festival

Nuakhai is also called ‘Nuakhai Parab’ or ‘Nuakahi Bhetghat’. 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. It has a big significance for farmers and the agricultural community. The festival celebrated at a particular time of the 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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Customs of the nine colours of Nuakhai

Nuakhai is understood to have nine colours and as a consequence, nine sets of rituals are followed as a lprelude 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 & gift transfers)

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Celebrations of the Festival:

The date of the festival was not fixed in old times but nowadays date of the festival is decided in advance by the main priest of the community according to the Hindu calendar. People celebrate the festival on previously set date whether crops are ripened or not.

The date of Nuakhai is fixed since 1991 on Bhadraba Sukla Panchami Thithi. Currently people worship Goddess Laxmi on the day of Nuakhai. People wear new and traditional attires. Elders of the family first offer Nua to the deity and later distribute it among the family members. All family members take blessings from the elders for happiness and prosperity in their life. People greet their relatives and friends in the afternoon. They sing and perform their traditional Sambalpuri dances like Rasakeli, Dalkhai, Maelajada, Sajani and more. People who are migrated to other states of India also celebrate Nuakhai with same traditional values and fascination. Nuakhai festival is a symbol of Sambalpuri culture and it reminds people of the Odisha the importance of agriculture in one’s life.

News About Nuakhai Holiday

  • Weekend lockdown withdrawn for August 22 and 23 in Sambalpur

    In a bid to enable people to celebrate Nuakhai, the major agrarian festival of western Odisha, the administration has announced that weekend lockdown for August 22 and 23 has been withdrawn in Sambalpur. It must be noted that many social outfits as well as Sambalpur MLA and Bargarh MP had urged the Collector to withdraw the weekend lockdown so that people can celebrate the festival in a controlled manner. As part of the festival, the ‘Nabanna’ or newly harvested rice is offered to Goddess Samaleswari, the presiding deity of the district.

    The administration stated that though only a few restrictions will be imposed, unnecessary movement of people will be prohibited on the day. Given the festival, the timings of markets will also be regulated.

    23 August 2020

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