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Narali Purnima – a festival that marks the onset of the fishing season

‘Narali Purnima’ also known as ‘Coconut Day’ is an important festival. It is celebrated by Hindus in the western coastal region, specially Maharashtra and Konkan region on ‘Purnima’, the full moon day in the month of Shravan

Ramesh Savaikar I NT NETWORK

Narali purnima or ‘Shravani Purnima’ is generally observed with great zeal and fervour by fishing community, sailors and those involved in salt production or any other activity related to sea in Goa as well. It marks the end of monsoon season and the onset of the fishing activity. So fishermen appease the fury of of the God of seas, Varuna, before setting out into the mighty oceans. They offer prayers and observe fast, praying for the sea to be calm and seek blessings to have a good catch.

The word Narali is derived from ‘Naral’ implying coconut and Purnima signifies the full moon day. Therefore coconut is an important aspect of the rituals of this festival; it is offered to the God of the sea. It is believed that by performing the puja rituals correctly on Shravan Purnima they are granted protection from all dangers of the sea.

Devotees also offer prayers to Lord Shiva as it is believed that the three eyes on coconut is a depiction of 3-eyed Lord Shiva. As a gesture of gratitude and respect towards Mother Nature, people also plant coconut trees along the coast. After performing pooja rituals fishermen sail into the sea in their ornately decorated boats on a short trip. They spend the rest of their day engaged in various festivities.

They prepare special sweet dishes using coconut as one of the main ingredients, which are eaten together with family. The Brahmin males perform the ‘Sravani’ or ‘Upakarma’ and observe a fast on this day, without consuming any grains. They put on a new ‘Yadnyopavita’ – the sacred cotton thread. People from other communities also wear Yadyopavita for a day. They refer it as ‘Suta’, therefore in Goa and the Konkan region Narali Purnima is also known as ‘Sutachi Punav’.

The festival is celebrated in hope that the future will be filled with happiness, joy and wealth by blessings of Lord Shiva and God Varuna.

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