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What is Purtassi?
Purtassi is the term referred to the period mid September to Mid October observed- by some Hindus as a time of prayer and self discipline. This entails a month long fast- abstaining from ‘worldly pleasures’. Within the period of Purtassi, Saturdays are observed as the day for prayer. Purtassi, is considered to be a time of self discipline and physical and spiritual cleansing for mind and body. During the month of Purtassi, a vegetarian diet is followed.
Meaning of Purtassi
The period of Puratssi is essentially a period of devotion to the Hindu God Lord Vishnu (the preserver).
Why are Saturdays Significant during Purtassi?
The significance of Saturdays in this period is that the earth is free from the influence of the planet Saturn.
Purtassi Food includes a vegetarian diet, excluding meat, in some cases it also excludes the use of salt, ginger and garlic, and shop bought bread, cakes and confectionary as well as alcohol.
Purtassi Rituals and Prayer
The period of Purtassi culminated in a prayer or ritual offering on the last Saturday or preceding Saturdays within the period of Purtassi. On this day of prayer the following foods are prepared; vegetable curries, rice, vada and gulgula, fruit, sweet rice, milk and mavilakku (rice lamp).
Known as 'Fasting Prayers' in South Africa, this prayer is performed in the afternoon. Apart from food, significant rituals includes drawing the Nama Katti (pronounced Namo) on the foreheads of all present. The Nama is a drawing with a white chalk like liquid to form a V then a red line down the centre on the foreheads of men and children. A red dot is made for woman.
More Purtassi Recipes
Further Reading About Purtassi
- Radhey provides a more detailed explanation of the meaning of Purtassi in www.indiadivine.org
- For a full list of requirements for the Saturday Purtassi Prayer visit Amma’s.com
- For a full list of Vegetable Curry recipes and Eggless baking view the Purtassi Recipes Page.