India is a diverse country so as are the festivals.Nuakhai is a social festival dedicated to agriculture , mainly observed by the people of western odisha . In odia it is called ‘Nabarnna’, which is the combination of two words that is naba and anna. Here naba means new and anna means rice. Hence it’s a festival celebrated for season’s new harvested rice. Basically it’s a way of thanking mother nature for giving us good weather,good rain or whatever is essential for a good harvest.
According to the hindu calendar it is observed on panchami tithi or fifth day of the bright fortnight(shuklapakshya in sanskrit) of the bhadraba month (aug-sept) Or the day after ganesh chaturthi.
On this occasion there are some rituals needs to be performed by the head of the family. There is stipulated auspicious moment or lagna set for this ritual . In that particular time Nabarnna , which is a mix of new rice grains , coconut and jaggery is offered to the presiding God and goddess (ishta devi and devta) of the family and region.
After worshipping , entire family members sit together and eat Nabarnna with some puri , kheeri , kakra, manda pitha (these are some odia delicacies) etc. Then the youngers takes blessings from their elders which is called Nuakhai juhar. Now-a-days people who are staying outside their state are celebrating Nuakhai juhar events, wherein they get together and enjoy cultural activities.
After having prashad , women starts preparing different types of local delicacies for lunch .
(Nuakhai special food items)
Those who are unable to attend this festival ,due to some unavoidable circumstances observe at a later date convenient to them.
In this way Nuakhai ,which is closely related to our roots is celebrated with joy and merriment. Together we can grow and with the blessings of God and elders we can achieve anything we want is the message behind this agrarian fest.