Nuakhai is an agricultural festival mainly observed by people of Western Orissa or Kosal, particularly Sambalpuri cultural area. Nuakhai is observed welcoming the new rice-paddy of the season. According to Hindu calendar it is observed on panchami tithi of lunar fortnight of Bhadrava, the day after Ganesh chaturthi.This is the most important social festival of Kosal.
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 an agricultural festival of both the tribal people as well as the caste-Hindus. Despite the fact that the festival is observed throughout Orissa, it has a major influence on the life and culture of the tribal dominated Western Orissa. It is not a pretentious celebration, not just an exhibition of tradition, either. It is a festival of worship of food grain.
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