Daijiworld Media Network – Gadag (MS)
Gadag, Aug 4: A unique celebration of Okuli (spraying of colours) is followed in this city since long. In the Kumbara Oni of Gangapur Pete of the city people throw cow dung on one another and celebrate this festival.
Nagara Panchami is a festival of girls. They wear new dresses and go to Nagara Katte and offer milk and celebrate the festival. On the next day is Shashti, Karikattambali day. On this day the boys get together and throw cow dung on one another.
Preparations for this festival begin a month before. Cow dung collection begins a month before the festival. The youth of the Kumbara lane go in groups and ask for cow dung from families who have cows and calves.
The cow dung war that takes place between the boys looks exactly like Holi. However, instead of colours liquid cow dung is sprayed. First the cow dung is made into a big heap on the main road of the Kumbara lane. Various colours are sprayed on the heap. Later, the boys group themselves into two teams and go to nearby farmland and get ready to play the cow dung game.
The youths get ready for this unique Okuli in unique style. They wear garlands of various vegetables like aubergine, cucumber, onion, ridge gourd, tomato etc. In addition, they wear peculiar costumes for drawing attention. They also wear dresses of females. Once ready, they all go to Durgadevi temple in a procession and offer pooja. After the pooja, the cow dung play is flagged off.
The cow dung game goes on for about two hours. Cow dung has special mention in Ayurveda medicine. It is impossible to imagine the life of a farmer without cow dung. The farmer community has given cow dung the position of a deity. This cow dung Okuli that is celebrated from centuries is mainly done to proclaim the sanctity of cow dung. In addition, people of this locality believe that all kinds of skin diseases are cured if one pours cow dung liquid on the body.