Festivals and Celebrations in Mangalore | Mangalore Dasara | Gurji | Car Festival

Many interesting festivals and celebrations take place at Mangalore and the south kanara district.

Naga Panchami: It is the first festival celebration that comes in a Indian calendar year. It is celebrated by offering tender coconuts, milk, turmeric, honey to the stone carved cobra snake god. Fragrant screw pine, champak, palm tree flowers are specially used for worship. Most of the time the worship is done at temples or ancestral places where the sacred stone carved cobras is placed.
Naga Panchami
Cobrs snake god worship - Naga Panchami
Krishna Janmashtami and Mosaru Kudike: The lord Krishna’s birthday is celebrated as Janmashtami. It is observed on the eighth day of the waning moon in the month of Shravana, when the Rohini Nakshatra is said to be ascendent as per hindu calender. It usually comes in the month of August / September). Young kids dress themselves as Krishna at the stage performances in schools and some of the temples. Special sweet laddus are prepared to offer to the lord. Sweets containing milk or butter are prepared in most parts of India. Rasa lila is performed to recreate and remind the incidents that were part of Krishna's life. At hindu homes pooja to the lord will be done but basil leaves called tulsi are very important for the worship. After the worship a good feast will end up the celebration. 
 
Mosaru Kudike
Sri Krishna Janmashtami and Mosaru Kudike
In some temples and streets Mosaru Kudike celebrations will be held. Mosaru kudike is
breaking the clay pot filled with butter or vermillion water. There will be huge procession on the roads with lord Krishna as the main deity who stays at the end. Tall wooden arches tied with clay pots at the top contain vermillion color water. Young men climb and stand one above the other in groups and circles. It is an enjoyment and competition to hit these pots tied up at a great height. There will be some gifts given to the pot breakers after they successfully hit and break these pots. Sometimes the gifts will be currency notes in a packet present near the pot tied nearby.

Ganesh Chathurthi:  It is the festival that comes during Bhadrapada month of hindu calendar. On this day the elephant faced god is worshiped to seek his blessings for wealth and prosperity. Ancestral homes, temples and some selected places like halls, streets etc. are the places where the festival is celebrated. It is celebrated in most parts of India. Modak or apupa is the main offering to lord Ganesh. There are some 11 – 18 types of dishes offered to the lord. The clay idol is worshiped for one day. Sometimes it is two to three or 15 days to one month in some places. Later the statue or idol is immersed in a lake or well which has enough water. Statues are taken in large procession for which Mumbai is very famous. 

Ganesh Chathurti
Ganesh Chathurthi
Car festival: Some big temples in and around Mangalore celebrate car festival on auspicious days. Car is the chariot where the idol is placed during festivals. In the local language it is called Rathotsava. The car festival is celebrated at Kadri, Mangaladevi and car street are important ones. Many people flock to see the festival and drag the huge chariot with a lengthy rope. The wooden chariots are unique in design and are seen only in the Dakshina Kannada region.

Car Festival Mangalore
Car Festival Mangalore
Car festival, Okuli – playing with vermillion color water and Bedi kamba – the bustling of fireworks at Sharavu Mahaganapthi temple will be after Chandramana Ugadi, the hindu new year day. The tallest chariots in South kanara are seen at Srimad Anantheshwar temple, Manjeshwar, Mahalingeshwar temple, Puttur and at Kukke Subramanya temple in Subramanya.

Dasara festival: Navaratri or dasara is celebrated not only in Mangalore, but all over India. The way of celebrating and traditions vary from place to place. Sri Sharada and Navadurga statues are installed and worshiped in some of the temples and well-known places. The colorful statues of clay will be immersed in water on the final day - Vijayadashami.

The Bengalis, Gujarathis and Rajasthanis staying at Mangaluru have their own way of celebrating Dasara festival. Bengalis have goddess Durga statue installed at the Hindi Prachar Sangh hall. More than 500 people of Bengali community participate in Navaratri celebrations every year. The Gujarathi community people celebrate the festival at Shree Umadham in a grand manner. They enjoy group dance with colored sticks in their hands called the Garba and Dandiya Raas.

Deepavali or Diwali: It is a festival of lights and comes in the month of October or November. It is celebrated as a victory over evil or darkness. Narakasura the demon king was killed by lord Krishna according to hindu mythology, After killing him he had a good oil massage to his body and took bath.  The same is followed by the people to this day and small clay lamps are lit in a row outside their houses. This is to drive away darkness and welcome the brightness all over. 

Dhanalaxmi pooja, the worship of goddess of wealth and prosperity comes the next day. Balindra pooja is also performed by farmers to remember lord Bali, the king of demons. He was once the ruler of the planet earth. Mahabali was the son of King Prahlada, the lord Vishnu devotee and grandson of demon king Hiranyakashipu.

Vamana, a Brahmin and a dwarf guy with his wooden umbrella, went to king Mahabali. He requested three paces of land which would be measured with his feet. King agreed and went against his guru Shukracharya who pleaded him not to do so. Vamana then went on to measure the three worlds as he transformed to a gigantic human. With his first stride he covered the heaven and earth. With the second step he measured the earth to netherworld. He asked the king where the third stride would go. Mahabali had to fulfill and keep his word. So he offered his head to Vamana for the third. Vamana after placing his foot on the king’s head gave him immortality. So farmers believe that he comes to visit the land once in a year.

Tulsi Pooja: Tulsi pooja is followed by Diwali. Tulsi is the holy basil plant placed in a special small masonry or hardened clay structure. The structure will be decorated with mango leaves, flowers and sugarcane on the day of Tulsi pooja. Clay lamps are lighted to enhance the beauty. The worship is done in the evening at every hindu house. On both Deepavali and Tulsi pooja, children, elders enjoy lighting sparklers or crackers all the night. 

Gurji deepotsava festival: It is a festival that comes at the end of all the other hindu festivals. It is a festival of lights like the Deepavali or Diwali. Idol of gods are drawn to the place in a wooden car. Then they will be placed within the wooden structures decorated beautifully with vegetables and fruits. The dome shaped top structure resembles the top of the car used for car festival celebration.
Gurji Deepotsava at Mangalore
Gurji Deepotsava
Deepotsava: Deepotsava will be held at many temples during the Karthika month. The beauty of the temple and surroundings is enhanced with the row of clay oil lamps lit early in the morning or during the night time.

Shivaratri: It comes in the month of February or March every year. It is a holy night dedicated to lord Shiva. Many people fast on this day and visit Shiva temples. They sit awake all the night which is called as Jagaran. Bael leaves, tender coconut water, milk and holy water over the shiva lingam is the main offering to lord Shiva on this day. In mythology it is stated that Jagran and fasting at Varanasii or Gokarn on the day of shivaratri is most auspicious. The place where Jyotirling is installed has the power to wash off all the sins of human being and the soul reaches holy abode of lord Shiva after death.

Dakkebali and Nagamandala: Nagamandala and dakkebali come under the culture and traditions of the south kanara district. It is called Nagaradhana or serpent worship performed in night time. This ritual is performed in the Nagabana or snake god’s worship place. Snake god cobra is invoked into a person who behaves like a serpent itself. Dakkebali is a kind of dance form in which the possessed will follow the Vaidya as he dances with dakke instrument.

Dakke is the small musical instrument made of bronze having a shape of hour glass. It has leather covered over the hollow on the both sides. The dakke is shook with one hand to get the light drumming sound. The string with beads hit over the leather surface to give out the small drum sound.

Dakke is first placed in the sacred place and later played by the vaidya who is followed by the serpent possessed pathri. Both move round and round in circles inside a beautifully decorated sacred canopy. 

The canopy has colorful snake designs drawn on the floor with decorative flowers over it.
Areca tree flowers are very important in this kind of worship. It is rubbed against his own face by the possessed person called as pathri.

Daivaradhane: Well-known as Bhuta Kola and Nema: It is a unique cultural art form with an intent to worship the aides of the god Shiva. Men from some community get possessed and they dance while the offerings are done. The birds like cock will be sacrificed to please the bhuta. They walk and run on fire or red hot charcoal, light the camphor and place on the tongue. Fire torch lit is used almost all the time during the celebration.  It is held by the bhuta or people near it. Sometimes the torch is hit against its body to show the divine power. It starts at late night and ends in the morning. Sometimes it continues till the next day noon. The dressing and coloring style is very attractive and unique during the bhuta kola rituals.
Bhuta Kola
Kite Festival: It is a festival which started since the year 1998. Colorful and beautifully designed kites line up at Panambur beach near Mangalore. Many foreigners and visitors from other states enjoy by participating in the festival. January is the month when the kite festival takes place every year.
Kite festival
Kite Festival Mangalore
Kambala: the traditional buffalo race takes place in many parts of south kanara district, annually. Local people flock to see the race which is popular among the tuluvas. The paddy field is well set for the race with enough slush and mud. Participants run their buffaloes at high speeds to win the prize. The race takes place between the months of December and April.
Kambala - The Buffalo Race of South Kanara
The kambala takes place at Kadri, Pilikula, Ikala Bava, Jappina Mogaru, Thalapady Panjala, Mulki seeme in the Mangalore area. Bangadi Kolli and Venur Permuda near Belthangady, Vandaru, Choradi, Gulvadi near Kundapura, Baradi beedu, Miyyaru and Yeedu near Karkala, at Moodabidri, Katapadi beedu, Adve – Nandikur, Althar, Handadi, Vaddambettu, Ajri in and around the Udupi town, Pajir, Hokkadi goli near Bantwal, Uppinangady and Puttur in the Puttur area.
 
Harvest-Good Friday-Easter-Christmas and New Year celebrations: Local christian community people celebrate Christmas and new year in a grand manner. Santa Claus dance reaches the homes of people belonging to christian community during the new year celebrations. Other than this Harvest, Easter and Good Friday are also celebrated. There will St. Mary processions taking place in some churches every year. it is enjoyed by all the local people.

Ramzan- Moharrum- Id-e-milad and Bakrid celebrations: Muslim community people staying in the region celebrate these festivals in a great way. They offer namaz prayers at mosques and dargah which is a common sight on these days. They show great pleasure by hugging their relatives and exchanging gifts with them. The poor will be helped by the top class people in many ways. They live harmoniously with other community people in the region. Many muslims travel to Mecca every year like the hindus who visit Kashi or Varanasi.

Author owns the Copyrights of the content. Copying in part or full of this content if found will be dealt strictly.