As the name suggests Nua means new and Khai means food. So, the festival of Nuakhai is an ancient harvesting festival of Orissa which is celebrated to welcome the new harvest food by the farmers. This festival is celebrated in the western part of Odisha after the day on which Ganesh Chaturthi takes place.
On this day, people come to their native places on their native lands, wear new clothes and offer prayers before god. Besides this, they also prepare and eat delicious food prepared from the newly harvested crops.
How the festival is celebrated?
The festival of Nuakhai is celebrated on the date which is decided by the main priest of the community according to the Hindu calendar. The popular festival is celebrated with great joy across districts like Sonepur, Boudh, Jharduguda, Nuapada, Sundargarh, Bargarh, Balangir, Sambalpur, Kalahandi and across several areas of Jharkhand. On this day, people worship Goddess Laxmi and wear new and traditional attires. Elder members of the family first offer the new food to the deity and later distribute it among other family members. All the family members take blessings from the elders to bring happiness and prosperity in their lives.
People also meet and greet their family friends and relatives by singing and dancing on their folk songs like Rasakeli, Dalkhai, Maelajada, Sajani and more. Nuakhai festival is a symbol of Sambalpuri culture and it reminds people of Odisha the importance of agriculture in their life.