Nuakhai is a mass festival of great importance in a major part of Orissa. The festival is observed welcoming the new rice-paddy of the season. In one way, one can say that this is a festival with our agricultural heritage.
No one for sure, can tell since how long this tradition is continuing. It is rather difficult to ascertain any age, as ‘Anna’ – rice paddy, is offered to the Gods since long. Hindu philosophy and pantheism believes Anna to be Brahma. Again Anna is attributed to Goddesses Laxmi, hence on the day of Nuakhai Laxmi Puja is observes as well.
Some of the traditional folk songs of Western Orissa require accompaniment of dance for presentation where as many other are sung without any. Most of the songs sung during festive occasions, marriage ceremony, and some specific occasion need the accompaniment of dance for its execution. Other songs like attributed to game, work, crying songs and songs to allure children or for recreation do not need any dance. Some songs where the interlude tunes are rhythmic also at times do not require any dance.