Religious festivals are celebrated throughout the year. Many may be termed as home bound festivities, festivities participated by whole village, festivities celebrated by groups of villages and festivities participated by all the people. Some important festivals celebrated by Mogaveera community are highlighted herein
Shiva Rathri Mischief
On Shiva Rathri night, at all the Lord Shiva temples, Aayana Bali is performed which is a prelude to car festival to be held later. Feast in the night and a visit to the Shiva temple for prayer are the norms. However, some young boys believe that doing some mischief and getting scolded is equivalent to ‘blessing’ on this holy day. To earn the special blessings, mischief makers throw a soft fruit called Thembe on the houses and collect the earthen pots etc. from the houses without their knowledge to place it on the sea shore etc. which earns ‘blessings’.
Temple Car Festival
Each village has its own village temple dedicated to Gods/Goddesses. The annual pooja ceremony culminates in the celebration of car festival.
Bali at Temple
The annual pooja celebrations begin by taking out temple idol for Pradhakishna or Bali in the temple premises for several days.
In many temples, few days prior to the annual pooja , a ceremony known as Aayana is performed to mark the end of Bali pooja . On this day, in the morning ceremony in which Garuda is hoisted on the temple Dwajasthmbha (flag-post). This also signals the beginning of annual pooja ceremony. There is a belief that people of the village should not leave the village till the car festival is over.
The other important events followed are that on one night, the indigenous fire play known as Thootedhera in which bundle made of coconut leaves (known as Thoote ) lit by fire is hurled between two groups participating in the event. This used to be friendly exchange to test the nerves of the participants.
There is the Katte Pooja in which ceremony, the village temple idol is taken for pooja in several Aswatha Kattes and after pooja, Prasad is distributed by the devotes who maintain the Aswatha Katte . It is also known as Nagara Pradakshine or God’s visit to people.
Main Car festival
The annual celebration is known as Rathosava (Car Festival). During the day, after performing few Pradhkshinas in the temple, the idol is carried on head by a Brahmin priest and taken in procession to a decorated Ratha , wooden car. After few rounds of Darshan the idol is taken inside the decorated wooden car and placed there for worship by the devotees at night. Decorated car in which temple idol is placed in the day is drawn by devotees around the temple in which Mogaveeras role is predominant as they alone know how to manoeuvre the huge wooden car.
In the good old days, temporary shops selling all fancy items, sweets etc. and game centers used to be opened for few days for the benefit of villagers.
The next day, the idol is taken for sacred bath in the temple Kere (pool) and poojas are performed. On arrival from this function, the hoisted Garuda in the temple Dwajasthamabha is lowered to mark the end of annual pooja ceremonies. Car festival in each village is an event participated by all and also an occasion for not only worship of God but also an occasion for social get together.
The Prasad from Marnikatte temple (near Kundapur) is brought and with this, Gadiyara is performed around the time of sun-set where Rakta Hara is given and dinner is served generally with Kori Rutti .
Thambila for Mane Daiva
Each family also performs annual Thambila for their Bhootas/Daivas where Rakta Hara is given. The chicken curry is the delicacy served in the dinner. Panniyara is offered to Bhootas/Daivas on the next day morning. Occasionally Darshan Sava is also performed. In the Darshan Seva , Bhootada Pathri is supposed to hear and give solution to the particular prayers of the devotees. It also served the purpose of reuniting the extended families living in different locations at least once in a year. The next day morning Homa-Panchakajjaya is offered to Bhootas/Daivas as a purification ritual with prayer, the Panchakajjaya is distributed as Prasada.
Kola Seva is also known as Narthana Seva and is generally performed when specific Parake i.e. special offering by any member of the family. Rarely, a few families may perform this Kola Seva annually. At the night of annual Thambila Seva is also not performed, a special Thambila Seva is performed before the Kola Seva begins.
Balbandara Jappunu & Kolada Dompa
Thereafter, after the prayer inside the Bhootasthana the Pathri with Darshan comes out with all the paraphernalia of the Bhootas/Daivas which is called as Balbandara Jappunu . The Balbandara is placed inside the tastefully decorated Kolada Dompa and bedecked with flowers. The first part of the Darshan by the Pathri Bhootada Poojari performance takes place. Here, all the important participants are called out by the Daivada Pathri and Prasad (Gandhada Ere) is given.
Paad-danas & Other Music
The second part of the performance of Narthana Seva is performed by Pambada with several forms of dance performance accompanied by Paad-danas . Paad-danas are narration of antecedents and significance of the particular Bhoota/Daiva . Local Band with particular Naga Swara , a musical instrument (Vadhya) sets the tone for musical dance. During the Kola Seva, Jeetige (oil-based fire burning - lighting device), a Sathige (a large white umbrella), Bolgude (an umbrella-like device on a long pole) etc. are also used.
In between a specific performance called Barneda Bali takes place. Here Dharshan Pathri and Pambada Pathri participates. Darshan Pathri tosses a pot which contains food items and the Pambada Pathri charges to get the pot. This semi- darshan and semi-dance performance ends with Pambada Pathri getting the pot of food and ceremonious act of accepting the food by Bhoota/Daiva is performed.
At the end, devotees difficulties and prayers are addressed to and solutions suggested by the Bhoota/Daiva with the assistance of Madhyastha , an interlocutor. Once the night program is over, the Balbandara goes back to the Bhoothasthana and after a brief prayer, the ceremony ends.
Village Daiva Tambila/Kola
Many villages collectively worship Babbarya Daiva, Jarandhaya Daiva etc. by constructing temples known as Saana or Gudi managed by the Grama Sabhas . The annual pooja is known as Tambila in which whole village participates. The Kola or Narthana Seva used to be performed occasionally. Whole village celebrates this occasion in their houses as well as collectively. To know more about the Grama Sabha Daivasthana , please see “ Mogaveera Grama Daivasthanas” under the chapter "Mogaveera organizations"
Moolasthana Annual Pooja
Mogaveeras have their own religious places known as Moolasthana where people belonging to a particular Bali or Bari (Surname) worship Nagadeva , Bermer and Parivara Daivas . This subject is dealt under “Mogaveera Religious Practices” & “Picture Gallery” and is not elaborated here.
Aatida Amavasye (New Moon day) comes in between June/July. On the day of Aatida Amavasye a bitter medicine (juice) made of the bark of Paaleda Mara is given to children in the morning. Of course, this bitter dose would be followed by sweet Metheda Ganji (Payasam ) later. Many people visit sea shore on this day to have a bath which is considered auspicious. What we know as Arabian Sea is Ganga Maatha for local people. Some people perform Thila Homa in the sea shore for the salvation of their ancestors’ soul.
Panchami is the fifth day from Poornima (full-moon day) or Amavastya (new-moon day). Panchami comes twice in thirty day cycle and twenty four times in a year. Traditionally, on Panchami days the poojas for Nagadeva are performed. In some Moolasthanas, in all the twenty four Panchami days special poojas are held. The Panchami of fifth day after New-Moon Day of Aati ( Tulu month in the month of July/August) is designated as Nagara Panchami in which Nagadeva is worshipped by offering milk, tender coconut water etc. This special occasion is an important event in Mogaveera Moolasthanas and also in all the Naga Banas in coastal villages. These Naga Banas are serving purpose of conservation of nature since no one would touch the greenery around out of fear.
Gokulastami (Lord Krishna’s Birthday)
On Gokulashtami (Astemi means eighth day) the people used to sing Bhajans till the Lord Krishna’s birth around midnight till they hear Jagante , a loud bell, from the local temple. It was also a common practice by men to engage in playing cards till midnight.
Before having the food, a lamp is lighted before Tulsi Katte and the food Moode Pere (Moode means a special idli and Pere means coconut milk) is offered to Lord Krishna and ancestors. The elders in the family feed the first morsel to their children before they eat were the specialty of this festival. I still remember my grandmother ( Rukkakka - abridged form of Rukmini) lovingly giving a morsel of Moode dipped in sweat coconut milk before she eats, wondering with tears in her eyes, whether she would be alive next year to do so.
Kolaata during Gokulastami where a group of six boys, three dressed as Krishna and other three dressed as Gopis go around the village performing Kolaata (beating of sticks) singing Kolu Kollanna Kole and dancing to the beat of Kolu (decorated stick). They would be rewarded by few Anas (16 Anas means one rupee). The melodious singing, systematic beats and aesthetic dance with intricate steps of the Kolaata with all its variation should have been recorded for the benefit of future generation.
The following day after the Gokulastami is celebrated as Dwadashi, a day when vegetarian feast is served on the plantain leaves. Here all the family members take food together sitting on the ground. Generally, fishermen observe holiday on this day. After hefty lunch, people involve themselves in games etc.
Ganesh Chaturthi, ( Chauthi means fourth day) is the birth day of Lord Ganesha . Lord Ganesha is considered to be fond of sugar cane and sweets. Therefore, a square structure made of cleaned and sliced sugar cane used to be installed in the hall of the house. In this a door is created to put inside, Panchkajjaya, (made of beaten rice, jaggery and grated coconut), sweets, flowers and to place a small lamp before the photo of Lord Ganesha . The poojas are performed twice a day.
Before, partaking vegetarian food (lunch) on plantain leave, food is offered to ancestor by way Mithari/Misri. This is also an occasion where whole family eats together. The sugarcane structure is dismantled on the same day or kept for few more days. The sugar cane is distributed as Prasad, mainly to children. During Ganesh Charuthi also Kolaata used to be performed by children.
After the monsoon season, before the fishing season starts, on the Narial Poornima (Full Moon Day), Mogaveeras offer milk to the sea and pray to Ganga Maatha on the sea shore to allow them to fish. The tender coconut ( Narial-Bonda ) is offered to sea and the day of offering is full-moon-day ( Poornima ), this festival is known as Narial Purnima . Mogaveera community people also offer prayer to Babbarya Daiva, who is considered as protector (guardian angel) of fishing community in the same day.
In Tulu Dasera is called Marnemi Pooje . Mogaveera Kuladevi is Mahalaskhmi and this deity is worshipped in various names and forms. In all the Mogaveera temples special poojas for nine days and Aayuda Pooja on the tenth day are performed. In Mogaveera households this festival is celebrated by performing Devi poojas and having feast of vegetarian meal.
Return of benevolent King
The festival of light is known as Diwali in Tulu. The earlier day, the festival begins with Naraka Chaturdshi by taking oil-bath in the morning. This festival is celebrated to welcome benevolent king Bali Chakravarthi who had been sent out to Paataala (world below) from his kingdom by Vaamana an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In the night, people place light on the land invoking blessings of their benevolent king Bali Chakravarthi .
Mogaveeras used to place light in a Thibule (an earthen lamp) and Paniyara (parched rice mixed with jaggery and grated coconut) on or near their fishing boats and ask for blessings of Bali Chakravarthi by calling out his name. The food on this festival used to be Gatti (made of grinded rice tucked in grated coconut and jaggery) and Bajil (perched rice mixed with jaggery and grated coconut). As electricity was not available in villages, a small Chimini (a small kerosene oil lamp) was in use. Some families observe Panaukattunu during Deepavali by putting some amount in a pot which has to be deposited in Tirupathi temple.
Out Door Games
On sand playground physical exercise is strenuous affair. Anyone who played games or practiced other sports on sand would develop solid stamina and muscles. The old games, such as, Gidi, Billis, Laghori, Kutti–Donne, Uthuthu, Bogori, Swaadi, Chamba, Cheeto, Andi, Maaramaari, Muttata, Tonka, Goli, Kothalige cricket etc. were played earlier
The Mogaveera community did not favour cock-fight. All Mogaveera community organizations banned this game. One of the reasons for banning this game appears to be that it involved betting which amounts gambling. In certain cases, fines were also imposed on the people who participated in cock-fight.
Kambala means the race on a paddy field by two buffalos controlled by a runner. There are various types of buffalo races. This sport is predominantly participated by prosperous land lords. Mogaveeras being predominantly fishermen, their participation was limited to watching this sport.
During monsoon popularly known as Chenne-Gobbunu with Chenneda Kai and Pokku Gobbunu with soft marbles, “Chamba” (a game akin to Looda ) with shells of fish ( Marvaahi ) were the favorite games of ladies during the monsoon. The roasted seeds of temarind fruit known as Pulkatte used to be consumed which is very hard to chew and believed to strengthen the teeth.
Early days, our children could not afford cheapest of toys. Instead they had to innovate and create toys out of freely available local materials like parts of coconut tree (leaves & shells). One item locally known as Girgit is given here.