Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pushya maasam-the tenth month of the Hindu lunar calendar (December 25-January 23)

Pushya maasam is the tenth month in hindu lunar calendar followed in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, and Gujarat. The star pushyami coincides with the pournami of this month, so is the name of the month. This month is considered as inauspicious month for some sorts of rituals like marriages, gruha pravesh, engagements, etc. but is well-known for its spiritual importance. Dhanurmaasam (solar month) started on Dec 17, lasts till Jan 15. Apart from the major festival four day festival of Bhogi, Makara Sankranthi, Kanuma, and Mukkanuma; Vaikunta Ekadasi is also celebrated this month.
There are 24 Ekadasis (11th day after amavasaya or pournami) observed by Hindus during the year. Of these Vaikunta Ekadasi (January 5) the 11th day after pournami in pushya maasam, is considered very auspicious. Vishnu’s abode or heaven has an open house where the gates are opened on this day. Lord Himself came to the doorstep of Vaikunta to receive His devotees, who entered the temple through the ‘uttara dwara darasanam’ (north entrance to the temple) which remains open on this day. People take up fasting on this day for all their wishes to come true. It is believed that one who worships Lord Vishnu on this day will reach Vaikunta (Heaven). Vaikunta is the sacred abode of Lord Maha Vishnu, the Maintainer God. “Vaikunta Ekadasi” is the most powerful, and it is believed that we can be rescued from our current confusion and suffering by seeking redemption in this place of peace. If one observes this time, then it is said that the gates will be kept open, till the person’s soul leaves the physical body. The importance of Vaikunata Ekadasi was narrated to Yudhishtira by Lord Krishna and is found in the Bhavishyotara Purana. 
Bhogi (January 14) is the first day of four-day Sankranthi festival in Andhra Pradesh. Bhogi 2012 date is January 14. Bhogi mantalu or sacred bonfire, Bhogi pallu-a mixture of fruits with turmeric rice is showered on children by the elders on this day. Bommala koluvu, various dolls are assembled and show cased. We draw Sankranthi Muggulu on the occasion of Bhogi inviting Sankranti Lakshmi into our houses.
Makara Sankranti (January 15) is the only Hindu festival which is based on the solar calendar rather than the lunar calendar. Uttarayanam (winter solstice) starts with the Sun’s movement into Capricorn (Makara) constellation are considered very important. It is the beginning of a six-month period of the auspicious time of Sun’s called Uttaraayana Punya Kaalamu (Uttar-North, aayana-course, Punya-divine, Kaalamu-time).  In some parts of India, the festival is celebrated by taking dips in any river and offering water to the Sun God. Special puja is offered as a thanks giving for good harvest on Sankranti day. Since the festival is celebrated in the mid winter, the food prepared (ex. Sesame seeds) for this festival is such that they keep the body warm and give high energy.
Kanuma (January 16) festival is usually celebrated by farmers, as thanksgiving to the harvest. Cattle, instruments used in farming like tractors, plows are worshiped. Cattle and harvest help nourish us. The energy in them is considered like real nature of God. On this day there is wide display of gangireddu (decorative bull) in front of the homes, the owner of the cow is given grains or clothes in return for the blessings. Animals are decorated and races are held, sometimes the banned cockfights and bullfights are common. At home usually we make dishes with urad dal as main ingredient (vada or garelu), offered to Goddess. There is a saying “that even crow takes head bath on this day”, and normally traveling outside the town or village is not advised.
Mukkanuma (January 17) is observed the day after Kanuma and is primarily a day of feasting and merry making.

1 comment:

  1. Decorated bull picture is cool


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