Shravan starts the year’s festivities and Masan Devi Jatra is one such festival held in this month. According to tradition the third Tuesday of the month of Shravan of the Hindu calendar is dedicated to this jatra. Thus, it was celebrated on August 7.
This jatra is held in the village of Narve in Bicholim where you will witness serpentine queues of devotees even on a working day.
Here the Masandevi is worshiped in the form of an anthill in the temple situated amidst a forest. On the day of the jaatraa the anthill is decorated with flowers and a sliver mask. Just outside the temple is a small sculpture of a tiger facing the Masandevi called the ‘Vaagro’. It also symbolises tiger worship which is quite predominant in Goa.
The name Masandevi literally means the Goddess of the Graveyard. According to tradition, women who have died during delivery or pregnancy or those who have died accidental or unnatural death are buried and not cremated. It is believed that such souls do not depart to heaven but remain on the earth. In case of homicides it is said that these souls remain on the earth to avenge their deaths.
It is in tradition to make these souls settle on a tree by performing various rituals. In Narve such cases are brought to the area around the Masandevi temple. Once the ritualistic burial is carried out, a copper coin is nailed to a Kaajro tree outside the temple. This is symbolic of making the soul of the dead remain near the deity.