Nutrinat was born with the objective of bringing nature's nutrition to the metropolitan. However we may succeed, we will not be able to transport the fruity breeze, their music-laden tongues, their ties with our heritage, and everything that makes it 'Konkan'. The destination seems unattainable, but the dream we saw wouldn't let us stop.
We pledge to bring the flavors and nutrition of Konkan to the world. But to get the true essence of Konkan we also need to bring to you the people, places, traditions, stories, festivals, recipes, and much more that define the region. We would be your buddies for anything about Konkan. So let us begin right away on a colorful and festive note.
The season of colors is here! Holi celebration makes everyone nostalgic about their childhood memories and we aren't different. Let us take you on a small ride to a Konkan village called Kariwade, located about 6km from Sawantwadi on the Amboli highway.
Holi to Konkan is not just a pre-harvest celebration, but 3-4 days of drama put together by all small and big communities in the village. Keeping away from the modern trend of playing Holi with colors; our fellow villagers believe in dhulivandan, which literally means paying tribute to dust, that is the earth. And the 4 days' celebration is known as Shimgotsav.
We got to speak to a very inspiring person, a local expert, HONY. Subedar Major Laxman Gawali (Retd), who after serving the nation in the India Army is now actively involved in passing on the culture and tradition to the next generation. He fondly shared information about the Shimgotsav celebration (Holi festival) in Karivade village.
In his words, "Holika mata is considered an incarnation of goddess Parvati. She blesses all, good or bad. Shimgotsav is one of the major festivals, celebrated for about 7 days at a stretch. Shimgo begins with identifying a tree and paying tribute to it (mango tree in most places) for accepting the honor of participating as Goddess Holi itself.
Then this tree is chopped off leaving a 6ft stem above the ground. It is trimmed, peeled and polished well into a nice tall pole; which is then stuck into ground, at a pre-decided location; and decorated with creepers from top to the bottom leaving 6 ft height above ground. Then on the full moon night the Gurav (village Priest) performs Puja on behalf of the villagers, asking her blessings for the upcoming summer threats like forest fire, wildlife attacks, etc. Then come the firemen. Leaving about a 4 ft area around the Holy Pole, which will be called Holi hereafter; they arrange piles of foliage and set it on fire with a public declaration. A coconut is swiftly thrown near the Holi (ensuring that it doesn't catch fire) as a replica of the original saga of Bhakt Pralhad. This marks the rejoice of Holika Dahan.
The next day onwards a full troop of artists consisting of people enacting as the Goddess's tigers, King's horsemen, musicians and more perform the folk dance and drama from door to door of every villager. Holy wishes are passed on to welcome the upcoming season."
Fascinating indeed! Especially the fact that though the superficial structure of this festival is the same, every village has a unique style of celebrating Shimgotsav. It's amazing to see how culture keeps changing from mile to mile and yet we are able to hold up a lot in entirety, as Konkanis or for that matter, as Indians. We are a blessed nation who believes in our strength to pass on the legacy to generations ahead.
We recommend you to travel to any village in Konkan and experience for yourself the vibrant culture and tradition during Shimgotsav and Holi festival.
And as a toast Nutrinat wishes to keep feeding you with such traditionally rich stories hereafter.
Wishing all a Healthy, Happy, and Safe Holi.