Maharashtra is the centre
of many religious and cultural traditions. In Maharashtrian villages,
life revolves around fairs and festivals.
During April, Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated when thousands of Jains
make pilgrimages to Bahubali, where two Jain temples have been constructed
one for the Swetambara sect and another for the Digambara. Christians
observe Good Friday and Easter Sunday around the same time.
Buddha Purnima is celebrated in May. Muslims celebrate
Bakrid in the same month and Muharram is witnessed in June in remembrance
of the Prophet Mohammed on his death anniversary.
The full moon of Shravana is celebrated around August
as Shravani Purnima, Rakhi Purnima and Raksha Bandhan. In the coastal
areas it is celebrated as Narli Purnima to appease the sea gods. Fisher
folk worship the sea and decorate their boats, sing and dance, and make
offerings of coconut. Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the same day in
different parts of the state.
Nag Panchami, the snake festival, is observed at the
village called Battis Shitale in the Sangli district of Maharashtra towards
the end of August or early September. The devotees collect hundreds of
cobras, place them in earthen pots and worship them to the accompaniment
of folk dances and song. Later they are carried in processions of bullock
carts and chariots. On the following day they are released into the fields
from where they were captured.