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Chaturmas 2018 dates – How to do or observe Chaturmas Vrat? - Importance of Four Holy Hindu Months of Chaturmas

Chaturmas Vrat, or Chatur Masam or Chaturmasya or Chatur Maas Vrat, is observed for a period of four months and it begins from the day after Deva Sayana Ekadasi in Ashada month and ends on Utthana Ekadasi in Kartik Month. Chaturmas 2018 dates are from July 24 and ends on November 19. It is of great importance to many Hindu communities. The months are dedicated to prayers, rituals and worships and therefore marriages, griha pravesh and other similar functions are not observed.

Chaturmas is ignored in Kerala and to a certain extent in Tamil Nadu.

Chaturmas begins on the Ekadasi day in Shukla Paksha in the month of Ashada and ends on the Ekadasi in the Shukla Paksha in the month of Kartik.

The Four Holy Hindu Months of Chaturmas

The four months are:
  1. Shravan 
  2. Bhadrapad
  3. Ashwin 
  4. Kartik 
It is believed that celestial beings and saints do not move around in the universe. They stay stationed at one place and perform Tapas and intense austerities.

There is popular belief that all the Teerths (sacred rivers and ponds) in the world arrive at Braj Mandal for the four months. People visit Braj (Vrindavan and Mathura) during the period.

The first month in Chaturmas, Shravan is dedicated to Lord Shiva, especially the Mondays. The next month is Bhadrapad, the month of festivals including the Ganesh Chaturthi and Krishna Ashtami. Then comes Ashwin month and the important festivals include, Durga Puja, Navratri, Diwali etc. Finally, Kartik, Diwali celebrations end in this month.

Different types of vows and Vratas are observed by Hindus during this period.

Hinduism and Nature is completely entangled and Nature plays a major role in important rituals and festivals associated with Hindu Religion. The Chaturmas occurs during the monsoon season and most of the important festivals in Hinduism take place during this period.

Most of the important festivals associated with Hinduism are closely linked to agriculture and especially the harvest season. The monsoon rains brings joy, greenery and fresh air and the four months is considered highly auspicious and ideal for rituals, pujas and festivals.

How to do or observe Chaturmas Vrat?

Many people avoid non-vegetarian food during the four month period.

Some people observe flexible fasting – eating just one meal or two, or just one meal on particular days in the month.

Certain food items like jaggery or oil is avoided during the period or in any one of the four months. Some people avoid salty and sweet preparations.

Those people who plan to undertake serious vows and fasting avoid garlic and onion as it can stimulate unnecessary excitements.

There are no hard and fast rules regarding the Chaturmas Vrata. It is often left to the devotee to decide how he/she wants to spend the four months.

Most people decided to read the Mahabharata or Ramayana or Gita or Bhagavad Purana during the fourth month period. Some people make it a point to visit temples daily and indulge in spiritual activities.

The four months is of great importance to Lord Vishnu devotees as this period is believed to be the night of Vishnu. Vishnu devotees listen to his stories and spend time in helping the poor and in cleaning and maintaining Vishnu temples.

Food Avoided During the Four Months

Importance is given to maintaining a healthy body during the four months, as the first two months are the peak monsoon season. Due to this reason, in some regions people avoid green leafy vegetables in the Shravan month. Curd, or yoghurt, is avoided in Bhadrapad month. Milk is avoided in Ashwin month. Pulses are avoided in Kartik month. Again there are no strict codes regarding food. It all depends on the person how he/she wants to observe the Chaturmas Vrat.