Festivals that bring a wide range of joy for everyone. The wide variety of festivals are celebrated in India with pomp and grandeur. Different states of India observe various festivals depending upon their customs, tradition and many more.
The festivals they observe have their own origins and meanings.In the same way, Odisha celebrates its one of the important festivals NUAKHAI. It is celebrated to welcome the new rice of the season.It is basically celebrated the day after the Ganesh Chaturthi.
The word NUA means new and KHAI means food. The festival holds a great significance for the farmers and everyone related to agriculture.This is our own festival to the arrival of the new rice which the main source of our food and living, whether it may be poor or rich.
The enlightenment, eagerness on people’s face for the festival can be seen days before the festival is celebrated.It brings happiness to each and every home and a lot of respect to our farmers.
Aarisa pitha is made as the delicacy to begin with.The preparation is a whole lot filled with happiness and enjoyment as it begins 15 days prior to the date of the festival.The elderly person in the village sit together after they have been called by the beheren by blowing a trumpet.
After consultation with the priest about the auspicious date and puja traditions to be followed the announcement of the sacred muhurta is done.
Nuakhai is celebrated at both the domestic and community level.The people worship at the temple as well as in their respective homes.Everyone wear new clothes with a lot of enthusiasm to celebrate the festival.
Although the origin of the festival has been lost a long back but oral tradition its back to the 12thcentury. Chauhan Raja Ramai Deo realized the significance of the crops,agriculture and the impact it puts on the people and the kingdom.
He realized this form of surplus required to maintain and sustain a state.So,during his regime and formation of Sambalpur, Nuakhai played a vital role in encouraging it more and more. Thus it makes the symbol of Sambalpuri culture and heritage.
The nuakhai juhar is done which is a sign of love and humanity and symbolizes unity.They lay their differences and start their relationship afresh.The elders bless their juniors for their long term happiness and prosperity.
Dance is something that allures our heart with joy and contentment. Similarly, here sambalpuri dance is performed very graciously and gracefully by each one of them. Other than one form of dance, there are different dance forms like Rasarkali, Dalkhai,bajnia and many more.
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Nuakhai is understood to have 9 colors as the nine sets of he rituals :-
Beheren(announcement of the date)
Lagna dekha(setting the exact date for partaking of the new rice)
Sapha sutara and lipa pochha(cleaning)
Nua dhana khuja(looking for the new crop)
Bali paka(taking the offering)
Juhar bhet(respects to elders)
Nuakhai holds its special importance everywhere. It is not only celebrated in Odisha rather in different parts of the country with a various different name. Though it signifies the Sambalpuri traditions but has a lot importance in other states as well. It is celebrated with great pomp and show. People are enthralled with the importance and beauty of the festival.