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Narali Pournima or Raksha Bandhan

Consider this scenario: the monsoon winds are gradually fading after the heavy rains. The sun and the gloomy clouds are playing hide-and-seek. Beautiful colours of green have blanketed the soil, and vibrantly coloured blooms are attracting bees, butterflies, and small sunbirds. After the raging activity of the previous few months, the water appears to have worn out and is now rather tranquil.The air is crisp and fragrant with amorous scents. The allure of invention and the promise of success can be found everywhere. It's no surprise that one would want to rejoice at these long-awaited events.

Shravan, the Hindu calendar's fifth month, provides a variety of opportunities for such celebrations. The 'coconut festival,' on the other hand, is truly unique.In Maharashtra, this event celebrates the conclusion of the monsoon season. On the first full moon day of Shravan, it is commemorated. Because the word "naral" means "coconut" in Marathi, this celebration is also known as "Narali Pournima." Other names for it include ‘Shravani Pournima,' ‘Rakhi Pournima,' and ‘Raksha Bandhan.'The start of the new fishing season coincides with the ‘coconut festival.' In Maharashtra, the fishing community (known as Koli) commemorates this anniversary with zeal.

On this joyous day, fishermen who rely on the sea for a living appease the sea god before sailing out into the water in brightly coloured boats decorated with various streamers. During the worship, coconuts are offered to the sea god, and prayers are chanted to request protection from natural disasters and to assist in the harvesting of plentiful fish from the sea. The singing and dancing lasts all day, and the entire fishing community gathers at the beach to commemorate the occasion. The distinctive delicacy made for this celebration is sweet coconut rice.The reason for supplying coconut is because it is seen to be the most pure. The water and kernel inside the coconut are pristine, and a coconut is thought to have three eyes, symbolising the presence of Lord Shiva on a religious level. This festival is also related with another mythology.According to the epic ‘Ramayana,' the practise is a form of thanksgiving to Lord Varuna (god of rain or water) for holding aloft the bridge that allowed Lord Rama to travel to Lanka.

A Assurance of Safety
Another element of this event is the tying of a ‘rakhi', or holy thread, by a sister on her brother's wrist, which gives the festival its name. While the holiday of ‘Raksha Bandhan' is observed throughout India, it is especially popular in the northern states.In reality, a 'rakhi' is no more just a plain thread; it now comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from flower patterns on cotton to beautifully created ones in gold or silver. In exchange, the brother gives his sister a present and promises to look after her. Women are increasingly tying ‘rakhis' to troops and children in orphanages, not to mention prisoners, as part of the ‘Raksha Bandhan' tradition.Connections from the Past

In Indian mythology and history, there are several references to ‘Rakhi Pournima.' The epic ‘Mahabharata' contains the most crucial episode.To stop the bleeding from a battlefield wound, Draupadi, the Pandavas' wife, is said to have cut a strip of silk from her sari and knotted it around Lord Krishna's wrist. Krishna is said to have declared Draupadi to be his sister after being moved by her deed. He agreed to pay back the debt, and he did so for the next 25 years.According to another mythology, the demon king Bali was a devout devotee of Lord Vishnu who had left Vaikunth, his own abode, to guard the former's domain. Lord Vishnu's wife, Goddess Laxmi, wished for her husband to return to Vaikunth. So she disguised herself as a woman seeking sanctuary in Bali till her husband returned.Laxmi attached a sacred thread to the king on the day of Shravani Pournima. When questioned who she was, Laxmi revealed her genuine name as well as the reason for her visit. King Bali was so moved by her love for his family that he asked Lord Vishnu to accompany her to Vaikunth right away. It is said that it has been a tradition since then to invite sisters to the thread tying ceremony on Rakhi Pournima.

According to tradition, Yama, the ruler of death, and his sister Yamuna, the river in North India, performed the ‘Raksha Bandhan' rite. Yama was bestowed immortality by Yamuna, who wrapped a ‘rakhi' on him. This emotional tie touched Yama so much that he announced that whoever receives a 'rakhi' from his sister and vows to guard her will be granted immortality.There is still another legend that emphasises the significance of 'rakhi.' When Alexander the Great invaded India in 326 BC, his wife Roxana sent a sacred thread to the Katoch ruler Porus, requesting that he not injure her husband in battle. Porus honoured the request in accordance with custom, viewing the thread as a promise and commitment.When Porus was going to strike Alexander with the ultimate blow on the battlefield, he noticed the 'rakhi' on his wrist and decided not to fight him personally.

Rakhi Pournima, also known as Narali Pournima, has a lengthy tradition. Its significance, though, remains undiminished. It is because it emphasises the principles that Indian civilization still adheres to in the twenty-first century.In addition, the event emphasises the inextricable and tight bond that exists between man and nature. Though urban societies have grown too removed from man's special affinity with nature and his reliance on it for his well-being, festivals like these serve to maintain the bond to some level.