Kokila Vrat is the festival ascribed to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi Devi. The Vrat is observed on the Pournami Tithi of Ashada month. “Kokila” means cuckoo bird.
For the Year 2021, Kokila Vrat occurs on Friday, 23rd July 2021. The exact duration of the Pournmani Tithi has to be ascertained from the respective regional calendar. Kokila Vrat is very popular in West India and some parts of North India.
It is believed that as per Devi Puran, Parvathi Devi was born as Sati, the daughter of Daksha. She was married to Lord Shiva. Daksha never respected his Son-in-Law.
Daksha did a Havan (homam / yagna) to appease Gods. His daughter and son-in-law were also present. But he had insulted Lord Shiva. Sati Devi was furious. She was agonized at the treatment meted out to Her husband.
Anguished, Sati Devi plunged into the Yagna fire and lost Her life. Everyone was astonished.
Lord Shiva’s action
Lord Shiva was furious with Daksha and destroyed him. He was furious with Sati Devi for taking hasty decision to immolate Herself. He cursed that Sati Devi be born as a Cuckoo bird and remain so for thousands of years before She was re-born.
It is believed that Goddess Parvathi Devi was in the form of cuckoo for thousand years before being re-born as the daughter of King Himavan, the King of mountains. As per another legend, the period is considered as ten thousand years.
Sati Devi was then born as the daughter of Himavan and was named as Parvathi. She did severe penance on Lord Shiva and was married to Him later.
The Vrat is followed for eight to ten days. Women rise very early in the morning. After the early morning chores, they take holy dip in the river or take bath. Amla pulp paste is applied on the body before bathing. For the next days, different herbal ingredients such as turmeric, sandal, jatmasi and other herbs are used. On some days, sesame seeds are also used.
After bath, the rising Sun is worshipped with the Neivedyam made of chickpea flour. The first roti made for the day is offered to the cow. It is believed that worshipping the cow and the cuckoo bird is auspicious on this day.
The picture / idol of Sri Shiva and Parvathi is kept at the puja place. An idol of Cuckoo made of clay is also kept. Archana / Puja is done to the Deities using turmeric, Kumkum, Chandan and flowers. Lamps and incense sticks are lit. At the evening, aarti is performed.
It is considered auspicious to see a cuckoo bird on this day. Fasting is invariably observed for the whole day. After evening aarti, fruits are partaken.
Making daan / donation to the poor and the needy is considered auspicious.
Married women observe the Vrat for the health and welfare of their husbands. It is believed that they would be blessed with the status of “Akhanda Saubhagyavathy”.