The most important festival of western Odisha comprising the districts of Sambalpur, Bolangir, Sundargarh, Kalahandi and some areas of Phulbani, is Nuakhia. Generally it takes place in the bright half of the month of Bhadrab on an auspicious day fixed by the astrologers. In the ex-State areas the date is fixed according to the instructions of the ruling Chiefs.
The people in general eagerly look forward for the festival and preparation starts before a fortnight. Most of the houses are cleaned, neatly plastered and decorated by the house wives. On this occasion old and young, all wear new clothes. Though the festival is intended for eating new rice of the year, it is observed as a general festival. Meeting of friends and relatives, singing, dancing and merry-making are parts of the festival. On this occasion the new rice is cooked with milk and sugar (Kshiri) and then offered as Bhog to Goddess Laxmi. Then the eldest member of the family distributes the same to other members.