Purtassi prayer at home

2018-09-20 06:00
Namam is in the form of a ‘V’. This is drawn with a special white chalkreferred to as the Nama Katti.PHOTO: Sourced

Namam is in the form of a ‘V’. This is drawn with a special white chalkreferred to as the Nama Katti.PHOTO: Sourced

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MEMBERS of the community who follow the Tamil denomination of the Hindu faith will be observing the month-long festival of Purtassi, which will commence next week.

The observance of this festival is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is commemorated with a prayer which can take place on any Saturday during the festival period. Devotees partaking in the prayer sometimes will keep a vegetarian fast for at least a week prior to the prayer, while others partake in a vegetarian diet for the full month.

As per tradition, this prayer is usually conducted in the afternoon, closer to sundown and culminated with the breaking of past by partaking in vegetarian treats which were prepared.

Some of the items prepared can include payasam, sweet rice, vadas, woorandai and kozhu kattai for Naivedyam. Vegetarian meals can also be offered alongside these items. These items are arranged on a banana leaf which will be placed on the altar inside the house (or temple). Accompanying the offerings will be a ‘theertham’, which is made up of milk, sugar, and tulsi leaves.

For the actual prayer itself, if a picture of Lord Rama or Vishnu or Krishna is absent, the devotee can substitute this with a drawing of a Namam. The Naman is ‘V’-like symbol drawn with a chalk known as a Nama Katti, a red line is thereafter drawn in the middle of the ‘V’ with kungu. The Naman is also drawn on the centre of the foreheads of all the men and children present, whereas a women’s forehead is adorned with a red dot.

The devotees commence with their prayer outside the house (or temple), where a camphor is lit next to a lota of water. The devotees will then break a coconut and they will proceed into the house or temple chanting “Govinda.”

The prayer will continue indoors, and will culminate with the theertham being distributed to all those is present. To conclude, parsad (blessed food) is offered to all those who have attended the prayer. - Weekly Reporter

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