Nuakhai is a famous festival in western Odisha, which is dominated by tribal communities whose main occupation is agriculture. The word ?Nuakhai? is derived from two terms ? Nua (New) and Khai (eating). During this festival, people worship the newly harvested crops and eat the first rice of the harvest.
The purpose of this festival is to celebrate social bonding and deepen family ties. It can be traced back to 12th century AD during the Vedic period. It was celebrated by a Rajput king ? Chauvan Raja Ramai Deo ? at Patanagarh, which is now Bolangir district in Odisha. He used it to promote agriculture and minimize practices of hunting and gathering.
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