Mysuru/ Madikeri: Huthri or Puthari festival was celebrated with grandeur and traditional fervour in Mysuru and Kodagu districts yesterday. It is a festival of harvest and getting the harvested paddy crop home, highlighting the relationship between mother earth and man.
Kodavas and members of Kodagu Gowda community visited paddy fields in a procession in their traditional attire and harvested the crop after offering prayers. The festival is observed either in the month of November or December on full moon day of Rohini Nakshatra. Before harvesting, they chanted slogans ‘Poli Poli Deva,’ fired three times in the air and burst crackers.
In Mysuru, the celebrations were organised by Mysuru Kodava Samaja at Sree Cauvery Educational Institutions premises in Kuvempunagar while members of Kodagu Gowda community celebrated the fest at their Samaja premises in Vijayanagar.
The celebrations started at Sree Cauvery Institutions at 5.30 pm with performance of traditional Kodava dances by both men and women including small children.
The menfolk, wearing their traditional attire complete with Kuppiya – Chele, Mande-Thuni and Peeche Kathi and the saree-clad women accompanied by girl children holding Thaliathakki Bolcha (a bronze tray with rice, betel leaves, arecanut and a lamp) marched to the nearby fields to harvest the paddy crop.
The festival marks bringing home the new paddy crop from the fields, symbolic of welcome to Goddess Lakshmi, who is the presiding deity of wealth. A festival primarily confined to Kodagu in the past is now being celebrated in cities too where there is a considerable population of Kodavas.
As paddy sheaves were cut and the march towards homes began, community members chanted “Poli Poli Deva…” (prayers seeking wealth, health and prosperity). Firecrackers were burst to add to merriment.
In villages, paddy sheaves are taken to the threshing yard, called as “kala” in Kodava language and tied to the post at the centre of the yard. Strings of paddy sheaves, peepal, “kumbuli” and “keku” leaves, “irinjoli balli” and “achi nar” are tied at important locations such as the entrance of the house, doors, rooms, prayer hall, roofs, etc., as is the custom.
A unique pudding “Thambittu” is made of ripe banana, coconut, jaggery, sesame, cardamom, ghee and roasted boiled rice flour. It is placed on the peepal leaf and served among the community and family members in front of the “Nellakki”, the place of worship in homes. Also, boiled “kalinji”, a type of potato, is served.
It is said that “Puthari” used to be celebrated for 11 days in the past, which, however, has been reduced to only to a few days now. During these days, Kodavas in their traditional attire gather at the “mandh” (a place of religious congregation) in their respective villages and present ‘Urukol’, ‘Nadkol’, ‘Devakol’ and other traditional dances including Bolakaat and Ummathat.
Celebrations in Kodagu
Pomp and gaiety marked the celebrations in Kodagu district. The ritual of ‘Nere Kattuva’ was held at Padi Igguthappa Temple (Napoklu) at 7.15 pm. The paddy sheaves were harvested at 8.15 pm, followed by the distribution of prasadam.
The devotees carried paddy sheaves harvested from the field of Omkareshwara temple in Madikeri to their houses and ‘Thepothsava’ and ‘Pallakki Utsava’ were held at the temple. Traditional rituals were observed at ‘Ainmane’ (ancestral homes).
Kodava Samajas of Madikeri, Virajpet, Balele, Murnad, Ammathi, Ponnampet and Kushalnagar too organised the festival at their respective community halls where a large number of people had assembled.
Codava National Council (CNC) too had organised the harvest festival at the residence of Nandineravanda Uthappa in Chikkabettageri village. CNC President Nandineravanda Nachappa and members, clad in traditional Kodava attire, took part in the mass celebrations.
Prayers were offered for the peace and prosperity of the State. The rituals of ‘Nere Kattuva’ and paddy harvesting were also observed. Cultural programmes like ‘Kolaata’, ‘Pareya Kali’ and ‘Chowkata’ were organised on the occasion.