Kailpodhu, celebrated on 3 September, signifies the completion of “nati“, or the transplantation of the rice crop. Officially, the festival begins 18 days after the sun enters the Simha Raasi (the western sign of Leo). Kail means weapon or armory and Pold means festival.
The festival signifies the day when men should prepare to guard their crop from wild boars and other animals, since during the preceding months, during which the family were engaged in the fields, all weapons were normally deposited in the Kanni Kombare, or the prayer room. Hence on the day of Kailpoldu, the weapons are taken out of the Poojaroom, cleaned and decorated with flowers. They are then kept in the Nellakki Nadubadec, the central hall of the house and the place of community worship. Each member of the family has a bath, after which they worship the weapons before feasting and drinking. The eldest member of the family hands a gun to the senior member of the family, signifying the commencement of the festivities. The whole family assembles in the mand (open ground), where physical contests and sports, including marksmanship, are conducted. In the past the hunting and cooking of wild game was part of the celebration, but today shooting skills are tested by firing at a coconut tied onto the branch of a tall tree.
Traditional rural sports, like grabbing a coconut from the hands of a group of 8–10 people (thenge porata), throwing a stone the size of a cricket ball at a coconut from a distance of 10–15 paces (tenge eed), lifting a stone ball of 30–40 cm lying at one’s feet and throwing it backwards over the shoulders, are now conducted in community groups called Gowda Samajas and Kodava Samajas in towns and cities.
The Kaveri Sankramana festival normally takes place in mid-October. It is associated with the river Kaveri, which flows through the district from its source at Talakaveri.
At a predetermined time, when the sun enters Tula Rasi (Tula sankramana), a fountain from a small tank fills the larger holy tank at Talakaveri. Thousands of people gather to dip in this holy water. The water, called tirtha, is collected in bottles and distributed to every home throughout Kodagu to be preserved. A spoonful of this water is fed to the dying, in the belief that they will attain moksha (spiritual emancipation) and gain entry to heaven.
On this day, married women wearing new silk saris perform puja to a vegetable, symbolizing the goddess Kaveri. The vegetable is usually a cucumber or a coconut, wrapped in a piece of red silk cloth and decorated with flowers and jewels (mainly ‘Pathak’ (Kodava Mangalasuthra)). This is called the Kanni Puje. Kanni refers to the goddess Parvati, who incarnated as Kaveri. Three sets of betel leaves and areca nut are kept in front of the goddess with bunches of glass bangles. All the members of the family pray to the goddess by throwing rice and prostrating themselves before the image. The elder members of the family ceremonially bless the younger. Then an older married woman draws water from the well and starts cooking. The menu of the day is dosa and vegetable curry (usually pumpkin curry (kumbala kari)) and payasa (sweet dish). Nothing but vegetarian food is cooked on this day, and this is the only festival among the Kodavas where only vegetarian food is had and served.
Puttari means new rice and is the rice harvest festival (also called huttari in the adjacent Kannada-speaking country). This takes place in late November or early December. Celebrations and preparations for this festival start a week in advance.
On the day of Puttari, the whole family assembles in their ain mane (the common family house), which is decorated with flowers and green mango and banana leaves. Specific foods are prepared: tambuttu,puttari, kari and poli poli. Then the eldest member of the family hands a sickle to the head of the family and one of the women leads a procession to the paddy fields with a lit lamp in her hands. The path leading to the field is decorated. A gunshot is fired to mark the beginning of the harvest, with chanting of Poli Poli Deva (prosperity) by all present. Then the symbolic harvesting of the crop begins. The rice is cut and stacked and tied in odd numbers and is carried home to be offered to the gods. The younger generation then light firecrackers and revel, symbolizing prosperity.
Groups of youngsters visit neighboring houses and boast their dancing skills and are given monetary gifts. A week later, this money is pooled and the entire village celebrates a communal dinner. All family members gather for this meal. Dinner normally consists of meat dishes, such as pork and fish curry. Alcoholic beverages are also served at such feasts