The harvesting festival of Nuakhai, native to the western part of Odisha, denotes the offering of the first crop to the Gods, and partaking of it with the whole community. The coming together of all to celebrate for a common reason is what gives Nuakhai a strong socio-cultural aspect, besides its spiritual context. This Bhet-Ganth (Meet and Greet) is what the annual Nuakhai celebration in Delhi aims to recreate.
Nuakhai Delhi was initiated by a group of friends hailing from different parts of Western Odisha, who had moved to Delhi long back for their professional endeavours and settled down here The founding members were advocates, bureaucrats, journalists and established professionals from various fields. They decided to create a platform for the Diaspora of Western Odisha, to come together and recreate the experience and environment of Nuakhai in Delhi, in order to sustain the rich socio-cultural as well as spiritual significance of the festival, and facilitate the tradition of togetherness and brotherhood, which is the essence of the festival.
It was fifteen years ago that Nuakhai Delhi was initiated, with the first celebration organised at the Officer’s Mess on KG Marg. Later, for want of a more spacious and centralized location, it was moved to the Jagannath Temple at Hauz Khas. To keep the celebration open to all, and retain its festive spirit, it was deliberately decided not to give a formal structure to the festival, and keep it simple and authentic.
An informal committee, called the Nuakhai National Celebration Committee (NNCC) has been set up to take care of the organisation of the festival. Most members of the committee are the founding members. However, some new members have been recently inducted to the NNCC, to support the founding members.