Purattasi month (mid-Sep to mid-Oct) is a holy month for Tamil people. During this month, many special rituals and festivals take place. Some important events of this month are Mahalaya Amavasya, Purattasi Saturdays, Maavilakku and Navaratri. This month is dedicated to Lord Venkatachalapathy, who is believed to have come down to earth during this time. Hence, special prayers are usually offered at Tirupati, in this month.

Puratasi Month

Puratasi Month

Significance of Purattasi Saturdays

All Saturdays in Purattasi month are considered auspicious. During this entire month, people worship Lord Venkatachalapathy and observe fast on Saturdays as it has importance for the Lord. There is a Vishnu temple (Padavedu Kottaimalai Sri Venugopalaswamy temple) in Kottaimalai, near Vellore, on the hilltop. The temple opens for worshippers only on Saturdays, from 9 am to 4 pm. The strange thing about the temple is that on one Purattasi Saturday alone, early in the morning, the rays of the sun fall exactly on the feet of the Lord and rises to his head. Nobody, however, knows on which Saturday this phenomenon occurs. The temple is located roughly 200 km from Chennai.

It is believed that one should worship Shani Bhagavan (Lord Saturn) on Purattasi Saturdays as during this time Shani supposedly loses his malefic power. Hence, Shani worship in Purattasi is more beneficial.

Significance of Maavilakku

At the temple, Tamil-speaking people light Maavilakku (lamps made of rice flour) during Purattasi Saturdays. The reason is that Lord Venkatachalapathy wants his devotees to visit him in the hills. As this is not possible for many devotees owing to various reasons, those who are unable to travel to Tirupati light Maavilakkus at home and worship the Lord, chanting his name, ‘Govinda.’ The rays of the maavilakku light are believed to have a purifying effect. In scientific terms, the carbon emitted by the mixture of burning rice flour and ghee destroys all harmful radiations in the home.

Mahalaya Amavasya

There is one Amavasya or new moon day every month, and on that day people offer Tarpanam to ancestors. The Amavasya in Purattasi month is a very auspicious one. On this month, ancestral souls descend to earth and remain on it for the first 15 days before the new moon. This fortnight is highly auspicious for offering Tarpanam to ancestors. The waning moon phase is called Krishna Paksha, and this phase in Purattasi month is called Mahalaya Paksha. Performing Tarpanam rituals in this month ensure that our ancestors will bless us twice over.

Purattasi Navaratri

Purattasi Navaratri is also called Durga Navaratri and is the most important among the 4 Navaratri. This month heralds the arrival of winter. It is the month of autumnal equinox when the sun crosses the equator and moves southward.

Many observe fast during Navaratri. This is done to help the body adjust to the changing climate. Many rituals in Tamil Nadu emphasize the idea of living in harmony with nature. Navratri Golu is an important ritual performed by the ladies of the house. It involves arranging dolls of gods, goddesses, saints, people, etc. on a multi-tiered platform. During the first three days of Navaratri, Goddess Durga is worshipped and the three days that follow are spent worshipping Goddess Lakshmi. The last three days are meant for worshipping Goddess Saraswathi. On the tenth day, people celebrate Saraswati Pooja or Ayudha Pooja.

In the month of Purattasi, Hindus avoid eating meat because of its spiritual significance.