Nuakhai, as the name suggests that nua means new and khai means food. Nuakhai is a festival to celebrate newly harvested food by the farmers. One day after the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi it is celebrated especially in the Western part of Odisha with much pump and jubilation. People staying in distant lands come back to their native places, wear new clothes and offer prayers before God and eat delicious foods prepared from the newly harvested crops.
Nuakhai Festival gives the present society a great message of the relevance of agriculture in the economic progress of the country and the role of farmers in the process of nation-building in those days and also in the present days. Hence, the development of farmers should be the key to the development of the nation.
Nuakhai celebration starts with the preparation for the festival almost two weeks before the festival. 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 starting from Behrana to Nuakhai and all culminating in Juhar Bhet. In a sequential manner 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), Kina bika (purchasing), Nua dhan khuja (looking for the new crop), Bali paka (final resolve for Nuakhai by taking 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).
On the occasion, folk songs and dances are organized displaying local culture, tradition, and various shades of the society. As the festival has achieved national outreach with people from Western Odisha staying in different parts of the country, a showcase of folk culture, songs and traditions takes place through this festival of Nuakhai.
Nuakhai festival is another great festival of the state of Odisha which is known for celebrating 13 festival in 12 months as said popularly in Odia ‘Bara Massa re Teraa Parva’.
In this holy and auspicious occasion of Nauakhai a warm wish to everyone and lets pray before Maa Samaleswari, the famous mother goddess of Sambalpur district of Odisha, to offer peace and prosperity to all.