‘Tingalu Mavana Puje’ (tingaLu mAvana pUje) (ತಿಂಗಳುಮಾವನ ಪೂಜೆ) is a folk ritual involving the worship of the moon in order to obtain over due rains. This ritual is observed in the Tumakur, Mandya, Hassan and Chikkamagalur districts of South Karnataka. The ritual is usually practiced during the first eight months of the Indian Calendar (Chaitra to Karthika) during the waxing period of the moon. (Shukla Paksha)  The failure of rains is attributed to Indra the rain god and the moon are worshipped by the people requesting him to intercede on their behalf.

            The women folk and the young girls in a given village assemble in a splot of land which is swept thoroughly and then cleaned with cow dung. The images of a chariot, plough, cobra, Hanuman, moon etc are drawn on this plot with fine lime powder. (rangOle) A wooden board is placed in front of the figure of the half moon. An auspicious vessel (kalasha) is placed on the board facing east. Flowers and food are offered to the moon god as naivedya. Coconuts are broken and sandal wood sticks are lit. Songs about the rain god and the moon are rendered by the women.

            The food offered to the moon god is stolen by the boys of the village on a regular basis. This also is a part of the tradition. Some times a vessel filled with water is covered by an ‘ekka’ leaf and placed in front of the image. After the worship is over, the vessel is held upside down in front of the village deity. The opening of the vessel is covered by the palm of the person holding it. Once the worship is over the palm is removed suddenly. If the entire body of water falls to the ground immediately pushing the leaf down, it is deemed to be good omen predicting early rains. If on the other hand the water trickles down slowly, delayed rains are predicted. If the leaf continues to stick to the moth of the vessel and hardly any water comes down, it is a bad omen and droughts are to be expected.

            After worshipping the moon in this manner for a period of fifteen days, the valedictory ritual is held on the full moon day. Subscriptions are raised from the villagers and the necessary paraphernalia is bought. Pendals are built enclosing the area and it is decorated with ‘tOraNam’ of mango leaves. Other details of the ritual do not vary. A boy and a girl are chosen as bride and the groom and they are seated on a platform. A mock wedding is held between them. This concludes the ritual wedding of the moon god.  Many songs celebrating the wedding and praising the moon god are rendered. The wedded couple is taken in a procession fro house to house and they are greeted with ‘aarati’. The couple visits the village temple the day after and every one partakes of the 'prasadam' after the worship.

            The customary stealing of the prasadam takes place even on the last day. Women revel in hitting the thieves with Cow dung cakes and water.

            There are a number of songs related to this particular ritual. A systematic collection of them is yet to be made. A few songs are available in anthologies of folk songs.


Further Readings and Links:

1.      ‘Tingalumavana Pooje’ by Agrahara Krishnamurthy, Kannada Book Authority, Bangalore.

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