Also known as the Mahanektari Punam Fair, the Manektari Fair is one of the most popular fairs held in the north-western state of Gujarat in India. Every year, it falls on the 15th day of the seventh month of the traditional Hindu lunar calendar, which is the month of Ashwin. Thus, as per the Gregorian calendar, it falls in the mid of September or mid of October every year. This year, the Manektari Punam Fair will take place on the 12th of October.
As per traditional beliefs, on the day of Manektari Purnima, a raindrop transforms into a full-fledged pearl. It is said that on the night of Manektari Purnima, when a tiny drop of rain from the cloud under a constellation named ‘’Swati’’ falls into earth, inside the mouth of an oyster, it instantly transforms into a pearl. This is one of the astrological aspects associated with this day.
In the state of Gujarat, the fair is celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm to mark the change of season, as this fair also marks the end of the season of monsoons. The main celebrations of Manektari Punam Fair take place in the Dakor village, which is located in the Kheda district in the state of Gujarat. The whole village is decorated beautifully with colourful lights as well as a wide variety of vibrant, fragrant flowers. These decorates in a way mark an invite to the beginning of a brand-new season.
Other than the local villagers, many people from other parts of Gujarat, gather together in this place to be a part of the celebrations of the Manektari Punam Festival. The population during the festival often totals up to around 1.5 lacs. Furthermore, the traditional folk dance and music of the state of Gujarat grace this festival, making it all the more joyous and fun-filled. The devotees and local people follow a list of rituals on this day and also worship the Moon God. People are decked in traditional Gujarati attires and of course, a variety of delicious Gujarati dishes too are prepared in everyone’s homes.
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