In the Indian mythology Dhanurmasa is when the Mahabharata war was fought.
Through Dhanurmasa, Dhanurmasa vrta and katyanani vrta other things are done.
The associated New Moon of the month of Marghashira is called as ‘Yellamavasya” or the New Moon of the sesame.
This comes from an agrarian understanding that sesame not only enhances metabolism it is also very rich in other nutrients.
The farmers feed the soil with jaggery and sesame the idea is that it enriches the soil enough for the worms to come. The early worms of the crop soil loosen the soil and allow for air pockets. The earthworms are activated and nematodes then to leave nitrogen rich soil that works as nutrients. The worms also keep the soil free of other pests.
In the domain of the non-agrarian society the Yellamavasya puja is a very potent day to pay homage to the ancestors.
the folklore goes after the war of Mahabharata Karna went to the heavenly abode where he was given lot of wealth. But no real food to eat. When Karna asked Indra the lord of the Devas said since Karna had donated wealth, he would receive wealth in multiload but he had not donated any food in honor of his ancestors.
Karna replied that he did not know of the tradition and neither did he know of his ancestors. Indra gives him 15 days to perform the after-death rituals and homage to his ancestors. This is usually the ‘PitruPaksha” or the days between Ananthana Chaturdashi and Sharad Navaratri.
However, giving of Tarpana on every Amavasya is as effective.
Coming back to Yellamavasya this is the day where one can have the darshana of Balarama at the Vadapandeshwara temple. People bathe in the sea, offer sesame seeds and cooked rice to the sea and take the blessings of Balarama.
Another folk lore is about Parashurama who beheaded his mother on his father’s orders. No doubt his mother was restored, but the stains on Parashurama’s axe would not go away so Parashurama tried cleansing it at various places. Finally on the day of Margashira Amavasya he washed the axe in the river Tunga at Thirtahalli and the stain which was as small and resembled the sesame seed vanished. Hence the town celebrates it with a community fair called ‘Yellamavasya jatre”
Ideally, we have a bath either in the sea or the river.
After which Pinda dan or rice balls with ghee and black til are offered in the memory of the ancestors. Three rice balls are made and left on a banana leaf for the crows to eat.
The food for the day is free of onion or garlic.
- Yellu holige ( will share the recipe soon)
- Fresh lima bean curry with lots of leafy vegetables is eaten.