The people of Konkan region celebrate a host of national as well as local festivals. Added to this are the numerous family occasions like birth, child naming ceremony, thread ceremony, engagement ceremony, marriage, etc. which express the locals’ love for festivities and celebrations throughout the year.
Being a predominantly agricultural region, most of the festivals occur during the monsoon, when a rich harvest is promised by nature and when plentiful of fruits and vegetables grow.
On festive days, Konkani people make sweets from rice flour and liquid jaggery. Some of these are eliappe, shevais served with sweet cardamom flavoured coconut milk or Patolis, which are packets of steamed rice flour with a sweet coconut filling. There is a large variety of ghavans, which are like dosas, eaten with dry or fresh chutneys. The Konkan coast is short of milk, therefore sweetmeats are made of rice, wheat, besan or coconut.
Gudi Padwa or Ugadi is the first day of the springtime month of Chaitra heralding the New Year. This festival coming around March-April is typical of this area, as it commemorates the triumphant expeditions of the Maratha armies of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Even in the present day every household in this region raises the ‘gudi’ or standard of victory comprising a pole with an upturned metal pot surrounded by folds of silk fabric, marigold and mango leaves. Gudi Padwa is considered as an auspicious day for marriages, house warming and any new beginning. Homes and the entrances are decorated with torans (garlands) of marigold, flowers and mango leaves. Sweets are distributed among the neighbours and relatives.
Shravan, at the peak of monsoon in August, is a month of festivals starting with Nag Panchami when people worship the snake God. Various milk sweets are made and offered to the deity. People avoid cutting, frying, etc., hence vegetables are cut a day before by many followers. The celebratory meal cooked on this day includes Puran Poli, Kheer, jaggery flavoured Moong dal khichdi, a dessert called Dhondus and several vegetables and pulse preparations.