Showing posts with label religious observances. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religious observances. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is A Vrat?

 



Term referring to a religious pledge, said to be derived from the verb "to select." 

Vrats are an essential element of contemporary Hindu life as religious observances.

They can refer to one-time religious observances associated with specific festivals, such as the Shivaratri vrat, or more regular religious observances, such as those associated with the monthly lunar calendar (e.g., the ekadashi rites) or those performed on the day of the week associated with a specific patron deity.

The particular prescriptions for these vrats vary a lot, but there are a few things that they all have in common.

They frequently include dietary changes, sometimes via fasting (upavasa) and other times by consuming or avoiding certain foods.

Worship of the ruling god is another continuous feature.

The vrat's charter myth, which recounts how the vrat was created, how it should be performed, and what kind of blessings it offers, is frequently recited or heard as part of this devotion.

Vrats associated with festivals are practiced by a wide range of individuals, but weekly vrats (such as the Santoshi Ma Vrat) are most often practiced by married women in order to improve the health, safety, and prosperity of their families.

Despite the fact that such weekly vrats are ostensibly optional, they have become an anticipated component of women's religious life, through which women may protect their families' wellbeing via their sacrifices.


See Mary McGee, "Desired Fruits: Motive and Intention in Hindu Women's Votive Rituals," in Julia Leslie, ed., Roles and Rituals for Hindu Women, 1991; and Doranne Jacobson and Susan S. Wadley, Women in India, 1992, for more on women's rites.


Kiran Atma


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