About Narali Purnima
Narali Purnima festival is celebrated all over India by the people for whom the sea is a means of living, particularly the fishermen. This festival is important for those who depend on sea for their life. It is celebrated mostly by the fishing community who offer their prayers for their safety to the sun-god Varuna.
It is believed that the Puja offered to sea on the auspicious day of Shravana Purnima appease the God and it protects fisher-men from all sorts of untoward incidents. The coconuts are offered to the Sea God thus it is named as Nariyal purnima or the coconut full moon.
The word ‘Narali’ is derived from ‘Naral’ implying ‘coconut’ and ‘purnima’ signifies the ‘full moon day’ and therefore coconut holds an important purpose on this day. Coconut is considered to the the purest offering for the god. Coconut is important for all religious occasions. Thus coconut is considered to be an ideal offering to the Sea God as well.
Also, When embarking upon any new enterprise, coconut is broken before the family deity, the water is splashed on the idol and pieces of coconut are distributed. It is so because it has three eyes that represents Lord Shiva, the three eyed God. Moreover, its water and kernel help them successfully earning his divine blessings to live a happy life.
When it is celebrated
Narali Purnima is observed on the full moon day in the month of ‘Shravana’ in the Hindu calendar and therefore referred as ‘Shravana Purnima’ and in Gregorian calendar, it falls between the months of July-August.
Where it is celebrated
Narali Purnima is very popular in Mumbai, where the Kolis, the fishing tribe celebrates the festival with much gusto. It holds special significance for the fisherman community, especially in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat.
This festival is primarily dedicated to worshipping Lord Varun, the God of Sea. Fishermen offer prayers and keep a fast asking the Lord to calm the sea during the turbulent monsoon season. Narali Purnima also marks the onset of the fishing season and on this day fishermen make generous offerings to Lord Varun to seek His blessings to reap abundant fishes from the sea. The festival of Narali Purnima is indicative of the coming year that will be filled with happiness, joy and wealth.
On the day of Narial Festival, fishermen of Maharashtra worship Samudra (Sea God) and Varuna Deva (Rain God). Coconuts are offered to the Sea God. After the Puja, fishing is started. They perform the pooja to the Sea God to protect them from natural calamities. Narali Purnima marks the monsoon season and represents the beginning of new fishing period.
The Brahmins in the state of Maharashtra who perform the ‘Shravani Upakarma’ keep a fast on this day without consuming any form of grains. They keep the ‘phalahar’ vrat by eating only coconut all day long.
People also plant tree on the day of Nariyal Purnima to show their respect and gratitude towards the nature. Nariyal Purnima is also pronounced as Narali Purnima.
After completing the puja rituals, fishermen sail in the sea, in their ornately decorated boats. After making a short trip, they return to the shore and spend the rest of the day soaking in the festivities. They sing songs of praise for Lord Varun and finally after worshipping the coconut, immerse it in the seas, as an offering to Lord Varun. The women and children of the fishermen celebrate on the shore. They dance and sing on their traditional songs. Then, Sweets such as the coconut barfi are distributed amongst the kids and the women anoint each other’s forehead with kumkum as a sign of the prosperity.
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