Purattasi, the sixth month in Tamil calendar, holds a special significance for Hindus. This month is believed to be very auspicious and it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his many forms. People perform special Poojas and Homas on all Purattasi Saturdays. Purattasi Navratri festival is also observed in this month. Devotees of Vishnu eat only only one meal or they eat only vegetarian food during this time.
According to legend, Lord Vishnu as Venkateshwara appeared on earth in Purattasi month. Hence, this month is ideal for thanking the Lord for preserving the Universe in the Kali Yuga, an epoch at the end of which, the current world will end, according to Hindu mythology. Purattasi Saturdays especially are very sacred. As Saturday is Vishnu’s favorite day, devotees worship him by fasting on all Purattasi Saturdays. They observe a strict fast or Vrat and offer special worship to him on all these Saturdays. This worship has a great benefit – it helps reduce Saturn or Shani afflictions and bestows a life of abundance. During this time, Shani’s malefic powers will diminish.
Worshipping Vishnu on Purattasi Saturdays also offers salvation and brings success in business and profession.
On Purattasi Saturdays, Hindu men draw the Naamam, the symbol of Lord Vishnu’s feet, on their foreheads, while Hindu women keep a red dot. They also chant hymns dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and visit Vishnu temple, where special flags with Garuda emblems are hoisted in his honor.
In Purattasi month, devotees prepare special food items as offerings for Vishnu. This is Purattasi Padayal. Some of the favorite dishes of Vishnu, that devotees make as prasad during this time include.
Lighting Maavilakku is an important ritual observed on Purattasi Saturdays. Maavilakku is an edible lamp made using rice flour and jaggery. The rationale for this ritual is that Vishnu wants his devotees to visit him at his hilly abode in Tirupati. But not everyone can do so. Those who are unable to visit him at Tirupati can light Maavilakku in their homes and worship him by chanting his name, 'Govinda'. Devotees believe that he blesses them through the rays of the Maavilakku deepam or light. The carbon emitted through the mixture of rice flour and cow's ghee is also said to destroy negative radiation in the home.
There is one Amavasya or New Moon day in every Tamil month, and on that day people offer Tarpanam to their ancestors. But the Amavasya occurring in Purattasi month is very auspicious. There is a reason for it. On this month, our ancestors supposedly come down to earth and remain here for the first 15 days before the New moon. This 15-day period is very auspicious for offering Tarpanam. Purattasi Amavasya is called Mahalaya Amavasya. The Scriptures say that by performing these rituals during this time, we will be blessed twice by our Pitrus or ancestors.
Purattasi Navratri is called Durga Navratri. It is the most important among all the Navratris. This month heralds the beginning of the winter season as well, with the Autumnal equinox occurring during Purattasi. This is an important celestial occurrence where the sun crosses the equator and moves southward in the northern hemisphere.
Some devotees observe a fast during Navratri. This helps the body to adjust to the changing climate. Such rituals evolved from the need to live in harmony with nature. Navratri Golu is another important ritual. Golu is the display of dolls representing saints, deities, and human beings on a tiered platform. Many families vie to have the best Golu arrangement and friends and relatives are invited to view it. It may be based on different themes every year. On the first three days, people worship Goddess Durga. The next three days, it is Goddess Lakshmi. On the last three days, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped. Ayudha Pooja or Saraswati Pooja is celebrated on the tenth day.
In Purattasi 2021, there are five Saturdays. Purattasi Shani 2021 dates are Sept 18, Sept 25, Oct 2, Oct 9, and Oct 16.
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