Nuakhai (also known as Nabanna) is an important social event and festival mainly observed in Western Orissa (Kosal) in India particularly Sambalpuri cultural area in the Oriya month of Bhadrab. The festival is sort of thanks giving to Mother Earth for a good Kharif season harvest. Nuakhai means partaking of the first grains of paddy.
Nuakhai is observed on the day after Sri Ganesh Chaturthi. It is the fifth day during the Shukla Paksha of the Bhadrab month (August – September).
On Nuakhai day, Mother Nature is worshipped for providing food and all those elements essential for the survival of living beings. Goddess Shakti symbolizes Mother Earth and is worshipped in some regions and the new Kharif season crop is offered at a Shakti temple. Different types of local sweets and rice from fresh harvest is cooked on the day. Fresh rice is eaten along with Manda Pitha, Khiri Puri etc The offering is made in leaf-cups made from Sal, Palasa, Tendu or Kurei leaves known as ‘Dana.’ Family members then consume the holy offering. There is a queer belief that one who does not eat meat on the Nua-Kahi day, shall born as a heron in the next life 🙂 The Kolhas in Keonjhar celebrate Nuakhai by cooking the new rice in a new earthen pot, prepare fowl curry, brew rice beer and offer it all to ‘Dharam Banga’ or Sun God on one leaf and to their ancestors on another. This is done by men and only men in the tribe.
It is difficult to ascertain an ‘age’ for the festival, as ‘Anrna’ or rice paddy, is offered to the Gods since pre-Aryan times. Hindu philosophy believes Anrna to be Brahma. It is also equated to Goddesses Laxmi, hence on the day of Nuakhai Laxmi Puja is observes as well.
Nuakhai has been observed by different tribes in different names, as the Dud Khadia and Pahadi Khadia called it as Jeth Nowakhiaa the Oram called it NowaKhani, the Munda called Jam-nowa, the Santhali called it Janthar and Baihar Horo Nawabai, the Birjia called it Nawaba and Jam-nowa, the Parajas of Bastar and Orissa called as Nowa-aani, Bihara called it Nowa-jam. In Chotta Nagapur area the Ashur tribe which a sub-clan of the Birjhia called it as Nowaa. In Tripura the tribes called it Mikatal, in East Bengal it is known as Nabanna.
People believe that if Nuakhai is observed then all the sorrow, pain, disease, crop failure is avoided. This seems to have its antecedents from the nature worshipping aborigines. During the 2nd Century BC Ptolemy described Sambalpur as the kingdom of the Mundas and Sabars. Gand, Binjhal, Sabara, Munda were staying in this area much before to the Arayns. With the passage of time this festival has found its place in daily life.
In 2010, the date of Nuakhai Festival is on September 12. Toshali Sands welcomes all to be the part of Nuakhei Sunia festival to experience happiness and mass development of the society. Exclusive arrangement has been done for the guest to witness and be the part of the festival.. For more details write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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