Narali Purnima is the festival celebrated primarily by the fishermen community of Maharashtra on the full moon day of Shravan month according to Hindu calendar. This day marks the end of monsoon in this region and the beginning of the fishing activity and observed by the people living in the coastal regions of Maharashtra and South India primarily Tamil Nadu and Kerela with great fervour and zeal.
The word ‘Naral’ means coconut. The fishermen offer their prayers along with coconuts to the sea on this full moon day to seek the blessings from the sea-God, Varuna, hence the festival is known as ‘Narali Purnima‘.
The reason of celebrating this festival holds a great significance in fisher-men community. The fishermen abstain themselves from fishing for the period before this festival as it is the mating season for the fish and also due to rains. This festival marks an end to this abstinence from fishing which starts again following this day. The coconut is thrown into the sea at the high tide. It is considered as an offering and a gesture to calm the ferociousness of the sea. However, if the sea is not nearby, they visit the nearby river or pond for offering the coconut to the water body. The coconut is offered as it has three eyes and is associated with three eyes of Lord Shiva as per Hindu mythology. The fisher-men believe that after this day the direction and the strength of the wind changes to favours them.
On this day, ‘Naraali bhaat’ or Coconut rice is prepared in the homes and distributed as prasad. The whole fishermen community celebrate this day with great fervour and jubilance. They ask the Sea-God, Varuna to bless them with the fruitful fishing season ahead. Women drape themselves in Nav-vari Maharastrian saree and perform the Koli dance at the sea-side. They also decorate their boats with different colourful flags and paint them in different colours. All the fishing equipments are also worshipped as a good gesture to start off with the fishing practice from the day. It has been an occupational and seasonal festival ever since the fishing trade came in existence. The festival is also called Shravani Purnima or Rakhi Poornima. The celebration of this festival marks the end of the Shravan month according to the Hindu calendar.
Further, the festival of Raksha Bandhan is also celebrated on this day in most parts of India which revels the sweet bond between a brother and a sister. On this day, sisters tie a silk thread on their brother’s wrist and pray for their well-being while the brothers pledge to take care of their sisters in all the troubles of their life.