A fes­tive start to fish­ing sea­son, Ko­lis pray to sea god for a good catch

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI - Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

While var­i­ous fes­ti­vals are cel­e­brated in the city with peo­ple from all re­gion and com­mu­ni­ties join­ing in, there is one fes­tiv­ity that is ex­clu­sively cel­e­brated by the lo­cal Koli com­mu­nity, the orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants of the re­gion.

Nar­ali Purn­ima was cel­e­brated on Wed­nes­day by the Ko­lis with the same en­thu­si­asm and ex­cite­ment that the Koli com­mu­nity is known for. Spe­cial fes­tiv­i­ties had been planned in sev­eral vil­lages. The com­mu­nity mem­bers had in the pre­ced­ing days been busy dec­o­rat­ing and paint­ing their boats. A host of cul­tural events were lined up to mark the fes­ti­val. Tra­di­tional pro­ces­sions were held in Koli vil­lages on the oc­ca­sion.

Har­ish Su­tar, a fish­ing com­mu­nity leader, said: “On the oc­ca­sion of Nar­ali Purn­ima we carry a co­conut in a ‘palki’. The pro­ces­sion is car­ried from the vil­lage to the creek area. We sing and dance through­out pro­ces­sion.”

Su­tar said, “The co­conut is then of­fered to the sea god and we pray for our safety in the sea in the fish­ing sea­son ahead.”

Su­tar said, “Nar­ali Purn­ima marks the be­gin­ning of the fish­ing sea­son. As per the gov­ern­ment norms the fish­ing is not done for two months from June 15 to Au­gust 15 as it is very dan­ger­ous for the fish­er­folk to go for fish­ing dur­ing mon­soon. It is also the breed­ing sea­son of the fishes, so it gives them time to in­crease their num­bers.”

It is not just the men who cel­e­brate. The women too have a great time. Ro­hini Shinde, a res­i­dent of Vashi gaon, said: “Nar­ali Purn­ima is the most im­por­tant fes­ti­val for us. Dur­ing the day we women wear Nau­vari sa­ree with lots of gold or­na­ments.”

The Ko­lis make dishes such as co­conut rice, co­conut karanji, co­conut burfi and many other sweet items. “This is the tra­di­tional way of cel­e­brat­ing Nar­ali Purn­ima,” said Shinde.

Ashok Bhoir, who has been go­ing fish­ing for the past sev­eral years, said, “On Nar­ali Purn­ima, we take a kalash filled with wa­ter and a co­conut along with it and The Koli com­mu­nity takes out a colour­ful rally at Nerul to cel­e­brate Nariyal Purn­ima on Wed­nes­day. (Right) Fish­er­men carry a dec­o­rated palan­quin with a co­conut.

of­fer it to the sea. We pray to the sea god to en­sure a safe and pros­per­ous year ahead for fish­ing.”

Hanu­mant Koli of Vashi gaon said, “The com­mu­nity mem­bers of­fer co­conuts to the Sea god and pray to him to calm bois­ter­ous sea so that they can ven­ture into the sea for safe fish­ing. We also pray for a pros­per­ous fish­ing

busi­ness year around.”

Naren­dra Waskar of Di­wali vil­lage in CBD Be­la­pur said, “Koli women dressed in tra­di­tional at­tire bear­ing kalash and co­conut on their head took out pro­ces­sion in Di­wale vil­lage. They wor­shipped the sea god and of­fer co­conut to him.”

Di­wale vil­lage based Om Sairam Char­i­ta­ble trust

foun­da­tion con­ducts so­cio­cul­tural events to mark the fes­ti­val cel­e­bra­tion in a grand way ev­ery year.

A pro­ces­sion of dec­o­rated co­conut was also taken out by the com­mu­nity mem­bers at Sar­sole vil­lage. They later of­fered the co­conut in the Palm Beach creek and per­formed pooja of their dec­o­rated boats.

BACHCHAN KU­MAR

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