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Narali Pournima

Narali means coconut and Pournima refers to full moon day. The Indian traditional festival of Narali Pournima is majorly celebrated by the fisher folk in Gujarat, Kerala, Goa, but primarily in Maharashtra on the day of full moon during the Shravan month of Hindu calendar. The day of Narali Pournima also coincides with Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi Pournima.

Significance of Narali Pournima

Narali Pournima marks the beginning of the fishing season and end of monsoon in Maharashtra. Thus, to appease the Sea and Rain Gods, fishermen celebrate this festival before sailing out in the mighty sea. With this festival, they worship for their safe journey in the sea and the safe fishing. Fishermen believe that by appeasing the Sea God, they will be protected by him while fishing.
The main attractions of this festival are singing and dancing and the meal of the day is sweet coconut rice.

Reason for Celebrating Narali Pournima

The period prior to the Shravan month's full moon day is the mating period for fishes. So fisher folk do not go for fishing in this period. They do not want to kill the mating fish, since otherwise, there will be no further fish production which will subsequently affect their livelihood. Also since monsoons are prevalent during that time, then going on the sea is not a safe for fishing in this period. In this period, fish is not eaten. This observance of not eating the fish is ended on Narali Pournima by throwing a coconut in the sea during the high tide. So, they celebrate this festival to initiate the fishing again by worshipping the sea and Sea God.

The high tide is considered to be symbolic of full fury of the sea. It is believed that the coconut is offered for calming down the sea which makes it safe for fisher folk to go inside.

Tradition on Narali Pournima

Fishing community and fishermen in Maharashtra celebrate Narali Pournima in highly jubilant manner by worshipping Sea and Rain God and offering coconuts to the sea.

The coconuts are offered to the sea as these are considered to be the most holy offerings which can be presented to the Gods during almost all the Hindu festivals. The reason that coconut is considered auspicious is because the coconut water and the kernel inside the outer shell of the coconut are believed to be unadulterated and pure. It is also believed that since a coconut possesses three eyes, it depicts three eyed God Lord Shiva.

Also every part of coconut tree, like the coconut itself, its leaves and its bark etc. are beneficial for us in one way or the other. Thus, it is considered as an auspicious offering.

On the day of Narali Pournima, fishermen get their boats repaired and decorate them with flower garlands and colourful embellishments and prepare coconut based food items like coconut rice and karanjis etc. Just before the arrival of high tide, they stand before the sea with their women folk in traditional attire and gold jewellery. They sing and dance to the traditional folk songs with gaiety and throw their coconuts as far as possible in to the sea.

The rituals which are performed on Narali Pournima are very auspicious. Some of the main rituals include "Upnayan" and "Yagyopaveet". Shudhikaran is also among the most widely followed rituals performed by Brahmins on Narali Pournima.

Essential Information for Tourists

Maharashtra is one of the important states of India that play a pivotal role in the sea oriented trading. It is incredibly rich in culture and history and this is evident from the way the people of Maharashtra indulge in the celebrations of festivals & rituals.

If you are planning to visit Maharashtra and especially any of its coastal area, you must schedule it around the Shravan month's full moon day, so that you can enjoy the fervour with which the festival of Narali Pournima is celebrated.

Way of Worshipping Snakes in Different States of India

Narali Pournima in rest of the part of the country is celebrated as Raksha Bandhan. In some parts of the country, this day is also considered as the auspicious day for replacing the "Yagyopaveet" or the sacred thread with a new one.

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