Jharsuguda : Comparative to Bihu in Assam, Baisakhi in Punjab and Onam in Kerala, Nuakhai is one of the most amazing and a standout amongst the most expected celebration of Western Odisha. The celebration is watched by the mass over the whole Western Odisha, especially Sambalpuri social communities. Nuakhai is celebrated respecting the new rice-paddy “Aant Dhan” of the season. In western Odisha, the festival is not limited to any particular group, caste or creed. Everyone in the region celebrates it to promote harmony and cooperation.
Nuakhai is likewise also called Nuakhai Parab or Nuakhai 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, held the day after the Ganesha Chaturthi festival. It has a big significance for farmers and the agricultural community. The celebration celebrated at a specific time of day which is called lagan. Arisa pitha is ready to commend this celebration. The point when the lagan comes, the individuals first recollect their village god or goddess and after that have their nua.
It is related to the agrarian life and activities of the people of Western Orissa, NUAKHAI is a prayer for plenty and prosperity, a way of thanksgiving to Mother Earth and the ever benign and bountiful nature.
Nua-kahi is a festival and celebration of happiness, different types of local sweets and foods are cooked. All the family members are assembled together, after offering the new rice to the deity they all sit together and take the new rice, along with different types of Manda-Pitha – Khiri-Puri etc., after devouring the food they take the blessing of the Istha-Devi and from other elders of the family. In the evening it is habitual and obligatory to have meat, as it is believes that one who does not eat meat on the Nua-Kahi day, shall be born as a hero in his future birth. Whatever may be the fact it is a celebration of the mass. People forget their personal differences and greet each other – in this point of view – Nua-Khai is not just welcoming the new rice-paddy it is a festival which welcomes general happiness and mass development of the society. People may stay in far of lands, for their livelihood, but in the Nua-Kahi they come to celebrate this festival with other members of the family with pageantry.
Nuakhai is a firm and unified compel between individuals of Kosal area when they come and unite together on the event of Nuakhai. Nowadays, Immigrants from the Western Odisha now living in Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkatta, and Vishakapatnam have been celebrating Nuakhai in their new cities for the past few decades.