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