Narali Purnima or Narial Pournami is regional and traditional festival of Maharashtra. Narali Purnima is observed on Shravan Purnima, the Full moon day in Shrawan month.
Fishermen and fishing community (koli) in Maharashtra celebrates the Nariyal Purnima or the Coconut Festival in a jubilant manner. On the day of Narial Festival, fishermen of Maharashtra worship Samudra (Sea God) and Varuna Deva (Rain God). Coconuts are offered to the Sea God. After the Puja, fishing is started. They perform the pooja to the Sea God to protect them from natural calamities. Narali Poornima marks gradual retreat of the monsoon winds. This helps the fishermen to venture into the sea.
Coconut is offered because it is considered to be the purest offering to gods. The water and the kernel inside the coconut are considered to be unadulterated. Some believe that Nariyal or coconut has three eyes therefore coconut is considered as three eyed God, Lord Shiva. That is the reason why coconut is used as the offering to Sea God and Rain God.
There is also another legend associated with the Narial Purnima it suggests the ritual is a sort of thanksgiving to Lord Varuna for holding aloft the bridge that enabled Lord Ram to go to Lanka in epic Ramayan.
A confluence of rivers is purer (sattvik) than a river. But the sea is the purest among all bodies of water. As a Sanskrut quote goes, “The sea symbolizes all the places of pilgrimage.”
Worship of the sea on this day signifies worship of Lord Varun (Deity of rain). Sea transportation of cargo occurs smoothly only if Lord Varun is pleased. Hence Lord Varun is worshiped on this day.
On this day, people residing in coastal regions worship the sea as a form of the divine principle, Varun and offer coconuts (naral). Offering coconuts on this day is both auspicious and symbolic of the energy of Creation.
Sweet rice made with coconuts is also partaken as Holy sacrament (prasad).
If on the full moon day of this month, the lunar asterism ‘Shravan’ is present, then the Vedic ritual called ‘Shravani’ is performed on this day. Shravani is a ritual in which one resumes leaning and teaching after a long vacation. It is also called ‘Upakarma’, ‘Upakaran’, etc. It should be performed on different days, depending on the followers of the various Vedas.