English meaning of the festival
Purattasi is a Hindu festival celebrating the Hindu deity, Venkateswara. Purattasi is the name of the Tamil month.
How the date is decided annually
Purattasi is observed from mid-September to mid-October annually.
Significance of the festival to Hinduism
Since our physical body is prone to ailments and is considered an impediment or obstacle to spiritual progress, it is necessary to make the physical body strong and enlightened. We need to create a physical envelope around the body so that the evil forces do not succeed in attacking the body. The period of Purattasi, with its fasting, abstinence and discipline is there to provide protection against the evil forces. The fast, abstinence and discipline serves to purify the mind, body and soul. This is an ideal time to discipline the mind and to remove toxins from the body. Devotees pray that God’s grace of preservation is bestowed upon all individuals and allows for progression of life.
How to observe/practice
All the Saturdays of this month are treated as holy days. Devotees gather in large number at Lord Vishnu temples, and special prayers are offered. At the temples, a flag hoisting takes place on the first day of the month. The entire month is observed with a vegetarian diet. Many devotees also abstain from smoking and drinking of alcohol. Devotees also pray in heir homes.