Manneththina Amavasya, “mannu” means mud; “yeththu” in Kannada means bullocks and “Amavasya” means no moon day. This festival is celebrated in North Karnataka, and bullocks made of mud are worshiped by the farmers. This festival of bullocks falls on a no moon day (Amavasya) of “Jeshtha”(a season in the Hindu calendar), June-July in Gregorian calendar. This year (2016) it is on 4th July.
The farmers clean and plough their lands in the summer to facilitate sowing in the monsoon. The bullock plays an important role and assists the farmer in tilling the lands and growing the crops. Hence, the farmers treat the bullock as god.
A pair of bullocks are molded out of mud and worshiped with great reverence in each and every household on this day, which signifies the importance of both the mud and the bullocks to the farmer. The live bullocks in the house too are bathed and decorated with bells around their neck and their horns are bedecked with flowers or silver horns and worshiped. On this auspicious day the bullocks are fed with different grains, Usali (a dish prepared using pulses) and Dosa (pancakes).
In the evening the children will bells around their neck and pretending to be bullocks go from house to house and collect pulses and grains. The people also handover the bullocks made of mud to the children to immerse in the village pond. The children sell the grains and buy snacks and finally by evening reach the pond to immerse all the mud bullocks collected from different homes.
This festival also signifies the importance of cattle in India. The cow is considered as a mother, as she gives us the most important food product-Milk. The bullocks helps in transportation of harvested crops from remote places.
The Nandi, which is an Ox, is a great devotee, vehicle and servant of lord Shiva. Wherever lord Shiva exists, Nandi is sure to be present nearby. In many places in India huge and beautiful sculptures of Nandi are placed inside temples, outdoors etc., where they are worshiped by devotees. Live cattle are also revered and worshiped all over India.
In Mahabharatha during Yaksha Prashne (questioning by the demon), when the Yaksha asks Yudhishthira (Dharmaraja) the question “Who is the mother of the universe?”, Yudhishthira answers that it is the cow. So cattle in general are all worshiped with great reverence during festivals, in temples, in palaces and during this special festival in India.