Monsoon Festivals in Maharashtra that Make the Rainy Season More Enchanting!
Tags: Bail Pola Celebration in Maharashtra, Cultural Festivals in Maharashtra, Dahi Handi Celebration, Festivals in Maharashtra, Ganesh Festival in Maharashtra, Konkani Culture, Maharashtra Culture, Monsoon Celebration, Monsoon Festivals, Monsoon Festivals in Maharashtra, Nag Panchami, Offbeat Experience in India, Rural Maharashtra
As the dark clouds gather over the Western Ghats and the monsoon rain drenches the soil, the cool breeze brings with it the season of festivals in Maharashtra. These monsoon festivals reflect the traditional values of the cultural heritage of rural Maharashtra and serve as a reminder to stay grateful for the bounty of nature. Joining the natives as they celebrate the monsoon festivals in Maharashtra is a great way to understand the core values that define their rich culture. Here is a list of the monsoon festivals that display the vibrant facets of Konkani culture and are celebrated with much fervor in Maharashtra.
Nag Panchami is the occasion when the locals pay their respect to the snake deity or “Nag Devta” and offer delicacies to snakes. Since the Vedic era, snakes have been worshiped by the farming community because they ward off the rats and other rodents that destroy the crops. The locals express their gratitude to the snake deity for protecting the crops and seek blessings for the upcoming season. This festival is a great example of how the Maharashtrian culture focuses on respecting every element of nature.
Raksha Bandhan/Narali Purnima
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated throughout the country as a day when sisters tie Rakhis or colourful threads on their brothers’ wrists, seeking their protection, and the brothers promise the same and shower gifts and love upon their sisters. On the other hand, in the Konkan region, this auspicious occasion is celebrated by worshiping the sea. The natives of the coastal region pay their tribute to the sea and pray for a good fishing season and excellent harvest in the coming months. This festival encourages the locals to remain thankful for the gifts of nature.
On the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, locals indulge in the game of Dahi Handi, which requires excellent team work and athletic skills. An earthen pot filled with dairy products is hung at a height with the help of a rope and different teams build human pyramids to try and reach the pot and break it. The atmosphere at a Dahi Handi festival is extremely jubilant and infectious, with the spectators singing and dancing to cheer on the teams. Dahi Handi highlights the importance of team spirit, which is one of the building blocks of Konkani culture.
Every Indian farmer is incomplete without the bulls that help him till the fields. Bail Pola is a festival in the month of Shravan when the farmers of Maharashtra decorate and worship their bulls, as a humble act of gratitude for their assistance throughout the farming season. It is a day of rest for the bulls, they are given a bath, their horns are painted, and their necks are decorated with colorful garlands. The cattle participate in rituals such as breaking of a rope of mango leaves, and the festivities continue till evening with song and dance performances.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival dedicated to Lord Ganesha that is celebrated with the most exuberance in the Konkan region. Majestic statues of the deity are installed in homes as well as in Pandals that are erected in public areas. Families get a chance to visit their native villages and every household prepares Modak, Lord Ganesha’s favorite dessert. After ten days of grand Aartis and rituals, a huge procession carries the statue to the river, dancing, singing, and playing with colors along the way. The statues are immersed in the water as the locals bid adieu to the Lord, praying for his return the next year along with the monsoon showers.
The best way to witness the authentic celebrations of these monsoon festivals is to visit rural Maharashtra during the monsoon season. The rains spread a carpet of greenery over the landscape that creates a perfect backdrop for the exuberant festivities. Participating in these monsoon festivals in Maharashtra will help you immerse in the local culture and will make you understand how it reveres the natural forces and promotes harmony in the community.