Also known as Nuakhai traditionally, Navakhana is a popular festival in the state of Chhattisgarh located in central India. It is celebrated every year in the state during the month of Bhadrapad (also known as Bhadav) as per the traditional Hindu calendar, which falls in the month of September every year as per the Gregorian calendar. Mainly, it is the Gond tribe in the state that follows this festival, but there are there tribal communities as well that participate in this festival annually. Chhattisgarh as a state among other elements is widely known for its agricultural backdrop alongside vibrant fairs and festivals. Thus, Navakhana as a festival marks the end of the monsoons and beginning of the new harvest season
This year, the festival of Navakhana will be observed on the 10th of September. The communities during the observance of this festival celebrate the harvest of the rice crops—which is one of the most vital crops in the agricultural sector of the state of Chhattisgarh, which is often regarded as the ‘’Rice bowl of India.’’
It is during this festival that the first harvested rice crop is offered to the family deity of one’s community of those observing this festival, on the ninth day (traditionally known as ‘Navami’) of the month of Bhadrapad. The rice here is offered as ‘’prasad’’ to show one’s gratitude and respect towards the mother (goddess) who blesses the crops every year. Quite often, cultural events, such as dances and music also follow, once the harvested rice is consumed by all the members of the communities after offering it to the family deities.
Some people from the tribe also offer liquor alongside the newly harvested rice to the deities, and many dishes are prepared to mark the auspicious day as members of the tribe sit together and have the meals. The cultural programmes take place only once offerings and mealtime are over, and go on till late night as everyone celebrate the occasion in full spirits, with a lot of joy and enthusiasm.
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