What is Nayakhani?
Bastar is known for its distinct festivals and occasions. One of them is Dushhara which I had a talk in details about my previous blogs.
As the rainy season subsides and crops are ready to be harvested farmers here are ready to welcome new crops performing rites and rituals. This generally takes place at the end of the September.
You may have read my blog on Ama Tihar (Festival of Mango) that is celebrated to welcome Mango likewise festivals are celebrated after every crop before it is used.
But the festival called Navakhani holds a special place as it is celebrated to goddess Laxmi.
And that’s the festival I am talking about that is being celebrated here giving adieu to monsoon and welcome to the new crop of the season.
That is called “Nava Khani” or New Meal-consumption.
What does Nava Khani symbolize?
However, there are many festivals to welcome every crop here but the Nava Khani holds a special place among them as it is dedicated to the goddess of Laxmi (known as Annapurna). It is celebrated to welcome the new crop that is ripe and ready to harvest. The farmers are beside themselves with joy seeing the full grown-up crops in the swaying around the paddy fields. They assemble to toast the moment as a part of a festival called Nava Khani. Most striking part of it is that the festival lasts for 15 days together without any hitch. The villagers began to share the food made from new crop and with a happy note.
How is it celebrated?
Bunch of ripen-crops are brought home stuffed in a bronze vessel that is covered with new clothes. After that, pudding is made using jaggery and rice to serve the rest of the members of the family.
In course of all the rites and ritual animal sacrifice is not done. It is celebrated with all felicitation.
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