Narali Purnima, also known as ‘Coconut Day’ takes place mostly in Maharasthra & Kerala. It is an important festival celebrated majorly by Hindu fishing community in the western coastal regions of India. They celebrate this festival to ward off untoward incidents while sailing in the sea. It is observed on the ‘Purnima’ (full moon day) in the month of ‘Shravana’ in the Hindu calendar, which is referred as ‘Shravana Purnima’. The word ‘Narali’ is derived from ‘Naral’ or ‘Nariyal’ (coconut) and ‘purnima’ signifies the ‘full moon day’ and therefore coconut holds an important purpose on this day.
On the day of Narali Festival, fishermen of Maharashtra worship Samudra (Sea God) and Varuna Deva (Rain God). On this occasion, a ‘nariyal’ (coconut) is offered to the Sea God. It is believed that brightly performing the puja rituals on Shravana Purnima, they can please the Lord and seek His protection from all dangers of the sea. Coconut is important for all religious occasions. Thus, coconut is considered to be an ideal offering to the Sea God as well. On Narali Purnima, devotees also offer prayers to Shiva as it is believed that the three eyes of coconut are a depiction of 3-eyed Lord Shiva. The ‘Upnayan’ and ‘Yagyopaweet’ rituals are among the most widely followed rituals. On Narali Purnima, as a gesture of gratitude and respect towards Mother Nature, people also plant coconut trees along the coast.
After the Puja, fishermen sail in the sea, in their ornately decorated boats. They perform the pooja to the Sea God to protect them from natural calamities. A coconut is broken in front of the deities before taking up a new venture to seek blessings. Narali Poornima marks the monsoon season and represents the beginning of new fishing period.
Pieces of coconut and coconut are distributed as 'prasad'. Coconut rice is the main dish on this day. Dancing and singing form the main attraction of this festival.
In the other regions of the country, the festival of Narali Purnima coincides with other festivals like ‘Shravani Purnima’, ‘Raksha Bandhan’ and ‘Kajari Poornima’. Even though the traditions and cultures may differ, the significance remains the same.