Syllabus: Prelims/Current Events of National Importance
- The Prime Minister of India recently greeted the people on the auspicious occasion of Nuakhai.
- Names: Nuakhai is also called Nuakhai Parab or Nuakhai Bhetghat. It is also known as Navakhai Parv in Chhattisgarh.
- Where: Nuakhai is an agricultural festival mainly observed by tribal people as well as Hindus of Western Odisha. It is also celebrated in the adjoining areas of Simdega in Jharkhand, where the culture of Western Odisha is much predominant.
- Why? Nuakhai is observed to welcome the new rice of the season. The word nua means new and khai means food, so the name means the farmers are in possession of the newly harvested rice.
- When? It is observed on panchami tithi (the fifth day) of the lunar fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada(August–September), the day after the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
- History: Nuakhai is of fairly ancient origin, originating from Pralambana yajna (which involves cutting of the first crop and reverent offering of the same to the mother goddess). In its current form, the festival dates back to the the time of the first Chauhan King Ramai Deva of Patnagarh in west Odisha.
- This festival has 9 sets of rituals that start from Behrana to Nuakhai and all conclude in Juhar Bhet.
- Beheren – This is the announcement of the meeting to be fixed on the date.
- Nuakhai – This ritual is popular and it is observed to eat the new crop after offering it to the deity, followed by dancing and singing.
- Juhar bhet – It is taking blessings on elderly people and sharing gifts with them.