English meaning of the festival
Nori-Nem is a vrat (a religious fasting to keep a goal in mind). “Nori” means ‘mongoose’. “Nem” means ‘ninth.
How the date is decided annually
The day is celebrated on the ninth day of the holy month of Shravana.
Significance of the festival to Hinduism
The observation of the Vrat of Nori Nem has great cultural significance in Hinduism, centered around the story of a mongoose that attacked and devoured a snake that was about to strike a sleeping infant.
How to observe/practice
As a symbolic gesture, Hindu women, particularly mothers, conduct pooja and fast on this day in reverence and gratitude to the mongoose for saving the baby’s life. Traditionally the fast is observed with a cooked meal of Mung Beans and Bajri Rotlas, accompanied with milk and condiments. On the day of Nori Nem, after bathing women dress in nice colourful clothes, to commence the ‘Nori Nem’ Pooja. To celebrate the festival, they cook a simple meal. The pooja is performed with diya made of oil, and the offerings made are fruit, rice, milk, flowers, abir (white colour powder), gulal (pink colour powder), and Kumkum (red coloured powder). The tradition is after this meal has been eaten, women should not to continue their daily chores, especially chopping and cutting food.