Terms

Kartik Vrat

Kartik Vrat or Kartik Puja: Kartik vrat (Sanskrit vrata). The term vrat is often translated as “vow” or “votive observance.” Vrats encompass a number of ritual elements, but they are most popularly associated with fasting. The Kartik vrat, like other vrats, entails abstention from certain foods.5 Even more central to this vrat, however, is Kartik snan, daily ritual bathing throughout the month. In Benares, most Kartik votaries bathe in the Ganges River. Such ritual bathing is considered especially meritorious when performed before sunrise.... They then swing the baby Krishna, along with all the other deities, offering Krishna milk and singing a special song to pacify him. After this, the icons, cloth, and all items offered during the puja are immersed in the Ganges River, marking the end of the puja, and the women disperse.About two thirds of the way through the month, however, there is a shift. A male priest is invited briefly into the worship circle to perform Krishna’s janeu or upanayana, the ceremony marking his investiture with the sacred thread and designating Krishna’s transformation from child to young man. For this occasion, a brass image is used in place of the usual clay one. Puja participants bathe Krishna in Ganges water and turmeric, dress him in finery, and sing special songs related to the occasion. After the janeu, Krishna is no longer thought to be a child. cssaame.com/issues/24/gender.pdf A few days later the marriage of Krishna and Tulsi
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