Narali Purnima, also known as Nariyal Purnima, is one of the most famous festival celebrated in Maharashtra, Goa, and Kerala. It is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Shravana (July-August), according to Hindi calendar. The day is highly auspicious for fishermen and fishing community. They pray to the sea god, Varuna, for their safety and for a good yield out of the waters in the form of fishes by offering coconut, because of which the day is also known as Coconut Festival. The day marks the ending of the monsoon season and beginning of the fishing seasons.
Why an Offering of Coconut is made?
Coconut is considered as an auspicious offering and has been offered to Hindu Gods since ancient times. It is believed that coconut has three eyes that symbolize the three eyes of Lord ShivaShiva
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. Also, a coconut is broken before starting a new venture, entering into a new office or home or before making any new beginning. People eat the tender coconut of the inside as ‘prasad’ also.
Rituals for the Day
People celebrate this festival collectively and dancing and singing with joy in groups is the part of the ceremony. Women get dressed up in their best attires, and kids also put flowers in their hair and wear garlands. Sweet coconut rice are prepared for the day. For those who live far away from the sea, can make their offerings in a nearby tank or pool of waters. Fishermen also decorate their boats with flowers or beautiful and colorful designs. They paint their boats and head out to the sea.
Many also perform ‘Upnayan’ rituals on this day. The ceremony of ‘Shudikaran’ of a human being, house or office can also be performed.
Significance of Narali Purnima
Narali Purnima is an important for all those people who earn their living through water. People involved with fishing, salt-making, trade, voyage, etc., pay their respects to Varuna. People pray for a smooth journey in waters.
Also, the period before the full moon is the mating period of fishes. Fishermen avoid fishing at this time as to not kill the fishes at the time of their pregnancy by throwing nets in the waters. They do not consume fishes in these days. They wait for the new fishes to be born which are then available in abundance. Also before the full moon, the sea’s nature becomes very stormy. High tides make is impossible for fishermen to carry out their fishing activities. Hence, the coconuts are offered to calm the fury of the sea.
It is believed that if an offering of gold coconut is made to the sea then years of good luck can be experienced.