Aghun is one of the most important month of Assamese culture. The golden paddy fields give immense pleasure and happiness to the farmers. The months of hard work turns into reward in terms of good crops and thereafter the time for celebration comes.
In Assam, rice is considered as the principal crop and is also the main food. During the Assamese aghun month which fall during November and December of English calendar month, the ripen rice crops are harvested. During this harvesting season, the people of Assam, specially on rural areas prepare a feast from newly harvested rice crops. The people of a neighborhood gather in an open field or sometimes at the farmer's house and celebrate the feast which is an extensive meal prepared in traditional ways to celebrate the first meal of the fresh new harvest. As the feast is about new harvest crops, it is therefore called the no-khuwa feast.
No-khuwa is combination of two Assamese words no and khuwa. No means 'new' and khuwa means the 'act of eating'. No-khuwa is basically a feast (bhooj), a thanksgiving ceremony, celebrated at every farmer's house in rural Assam during or after the end of harvesting season.
In some areas no-khuwa is celebrated in Namghar, the Assamese community prayer hall. People of a community gather at a Namghar and offer prayers for good crops and thereafter prepare an extensive meal and enjoy it together. Some ethnic communities of Assam do have some rites and rituals of celebrating no-khuwa feast but the main attraction of the no-khuwa feast is all about eating a hearty meal together with all the family members, relatives and neighbours.
No-khuwa is a community feast celebrated during the month of aghun during night time or sometimes at day time as per convenient. If someone could not celebrate the feast during aghun month then there is no ritual of celebrating it on puh month. But they can celebrate it the next month which is called the magh month of Assamese calendar. The dishes prepared for the no-khuwa feast are very elaborate. Food items and dishes of no-khuwa may vary from community to community. Few such items in the menu of no-khuwa bhooj are like kumurar logot haah (duck meat with ash gourd), mati mahor dali (black gram curry), masor torkari (fish curry), kol posola (banana blossom curry), lai xaak aru gahori (pork with mustard greens), kukurar mankho (chicken curry), sunga bhat (sticky rice in bamboo hollow), sewa diya bhat (steamed rice) etc.