Home coming of Mahabali in Goa

KERI: The third day of the Diwali festival and the first day of the eighth month of the Hindu calendar Kartik, which falls on Monday, will be celebrated among the tribal and agricultural communities as Bali Pratipada to mark the home coming of the benevolent ruler Mahabali.

According to Hindu mythology, Mahabli was a great benevolent ruler whose popularity had threatened the crown of Devendra, the Lord of Gods. Devendra prayed to Shri Vishnu, who in the incarnation of Vaman forced Mahabali to retire in a world locally known as Patal.

Mahabali was accorded a home coming on the three days of Diwali. "To welcome the home coming of Mahabali and remember his good work, Bali Pratipada is celebrated with a lot of cultural activities. Since our community is predominantly associated with agriculture and cattle rearing, a tribute is also paid to Lord Krishna, by celebrating Dhenlo and Gorava Padvo on this day," says Kanta Gaude, a 55-year-old folk artist from Veling Priol in Ponda.

"In the past, like other parts of India, Goa too was dominated by agriculture as well as rearing of cattle and buffaloes. Besides providing milk and dung these animals were in use for agricultural operations. Throughout the year, these animals were busy working hard but on this day, they were free and were worshipped after giving them a bath. They are also served with specially cooked dishes" said Ramchandra Gaonkar from Deulwada-Morale of Sattari, an agriculturist.

In the tribal areas of Tiswadi and Ponda Lord Krishna is put in to a wooden structure decorated with colourful paper and flowers and taken in a to procession in which a large crowd participates to the tunes of folk musical instruments. As the festival comes before the onset of the autumn agriculture season, the folk artists sing songs having reference to the rainfall.

Among the tribals as well as the agricultural communities, Bali Pratipapda has immense significance and their areas are full with colourful and mirthful celebrations.