Narial Purnima is a festival celebrated
all across India by the people for whom the sea is a means of living,
particularly the fisherman. On this day, people worship the Sea God
and offer him coconut. Hence, the festival is named Nariyal
Purnima which stands for coconut full moon.
Primarily, the festival was celebrated on the Western Coastal area, as
India's fish trade is concentrated in that area. But gradually, people have
started celebrating this festival all across the country. It is very popular
in Mumbai, where the Kolis, the fishing tribe celebrates the festival with
much gusto. Nariyal Purnima is celebrated on the Full moon day of Shravan
(July-August) the same day as
or Rakhi .
Narial Purnima Rituals
People believe that the three eyes of a coconut is the representation of
Lord Shiva, the three eyed God. Coconut is therefore considered to be
auspicious for offering to Gods. A coconut is broken in front of the deities
before taking up a new task in hand. Coconut is important for all religious
occasions. Thus the coconut is considered appropriate for offering to the
Sea God. This practice of drawing with the rice solution on the mud washed
floor is called Navami. After this procedure the cup is worshipped.
A New Fishing Season for Fishermen
The festival always falls on the time of retreating monsoons. It is at this
time that the skies are clearing and the tides are moving back and the sea
is calm. This is a very important festival for coastal people. On this day
people offer coconut to Lord Varun to invoke blessings and offer thanks
To all fishermen, this day marks the beginning of a new fishing season. As
this day declares the end of monsoon, fishermen decorate their boats, paint
it afresh and put flags and once more go out in the sea for fishing. They
also carry decorated coconuts to the sea. Dancing and singing together mark
the celebration of this day. At the end of the celebrations they worship the
Sea God Varun and offer the coconut. The decorated coconuts are thrown in
the water with prayers of a a plentiful fish catch.
Beginning of Sowing Season for Farmers
This worshipping of the leaf cups is repeated for seven days till the full
moon day. The final ritual of this festival is performed in the evening of
the full moon day. On this day the women move out in procession carrying the
leaf cups on their heads. They carry these cups to a pond or any other water
body and then immerse it there. Women keep a fast on this day and pray for
the well-being of their sons.
This festival is very important to the farmers as it stands for the
beginning of the sowing season for wheat and barley. on this day they pray
to Goddess Bhagwati and seek her blessings for a good crop.