Home Women in Fisheries Festival Narali Poornima (Credit: Ishita Patil)

Festival Narali Poornima (Credit: Ishita Patil)

Narali Poornima is a festival celebrated by the fisher community in the coastal regions of Maharashtra on the full moon day of the month of Shravan (July-August). Naral means coconut, and Poornima means full moon. Coconuts and prayers are offered to the sea god to safeguard the men who will start the fishing season soon. The boats are painted and decorated before Narali Poornima. It is an important day for the Koli (fishing caste) community. 

In the late afternoon, every family in the village starts arriving at the shore with coconut, rice and flowers. Wearing their traditional attire, women don sarees, and young boys wrap a piece of cloth around their waist. Many young girls and women carry the coconut in a utensil on their heads. Families come alone or in groups for the festivities. The groups start from pre-decided locations and go around the village, stopping at important points and performing folk songs and dances for the villagers. The songs are about the importance of Narali Poornima, the lives of the fishermen and their families. The fisherwomen can be distinguished by their gold jewellery which they proudly flaunt. Baskets are symbolic for the women, as the boat oars are for fishermen. Girls and boys are dressed up, and they dance carrying these baskets and oars, respectively. 

Ethnographic documentation Ishita Patil