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Nariyal Purnima

Nariyal Purnima is celebrated on the full Moon day in the month of Shravana, i.e., somewhere between July to August. The festival is associated with all those who depend on the sea for their livelihood, e.g., fishermen. It is mostly celebrated in Western India, and parts of Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka. As the name suggests , the prayers and rituals are related to nariyal (coconut).

This festival is a an ode to Sea- god, Varun, a Vedic deity. According to the ritual, coconuts are thrown into the sea as offerings to Varun. Hence, this day has come to be known as Narial Purnima. Coconut has three eyes and is believed to represent Lord Shiv - the three eyed god. In Hindu rituals, coconut plays a prominent role in all religious offerings. Several auspicious occasions are started with coconut-breaking in front of the deities.

On this day people go to the sea-shores or river-banks and offer coconuts to the Sea-god. It is believed that with the Varuna's blessings sea-trade will become fruitful and prosper. Hindu married women gather together, play games, sing and dance and put kumkum tilak (Vermilion mark) on each others forehead as the symbol of good luck. They eat together, enjoy the festival and then bid farewell to each other. Fisher-folk welcome this day as the heavy rains finally stop.

According to the legend, it is said the fury of the waves has fully spent itself and therefore the fishermen can set sail again. They give a new look to their boats and decorate with colorful flags. Later the boats are taken out in a procession where everybody sing and dance collectively. Finally after praying to the sea-god, they immerse that coconut in the water. After the ceremony is over sweets made from coconut like coconut-burfi and sweet coconut rice are served.

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