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Naukhai Juhar: A Festival to Thank ‘Mother Nature’

Nuakhai is an agriculture festival celebrated primarily in western Odisha by farmers to thank ‘Mother Earth’ for being so bountiful. The festival is often compared to Onam in Tamil Nadu.
Nuakhai is observed to welcome the new rice of the season on the day after Ganesh Chaturthi. It was the time when the newly grown Kharif crop (autumn crop) of rice started ripening. The word nua means new and khai means food, so the name means the farmers are in possession of the newly harvested rice. It has a big significance for farmers and the agricultural community. The festival celebrated at a particular time of day which is called lagan. Arsaa pitha is prepared to celebrate this festival. When the lagan comes, the people first remember their village god or goddess and then have their nua.
Celebration is best in the Kalahandi, Sambalpur, Balangir, Bargarh, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sonepur, Boudh and Nuapada districts of Odisha. Nuakhai is special agricultural festival of Kosali people.