Karthika masam or Kartik month is the most auspicious month amongst all 12 Hindu months. According to Hindus, pujas, rituals, other auspicious and prosperous celebrations during Kartik month give them great pleasure and happiness in life because this is the most favorite month for both of the Supreme Gods Lord Vishnu and Shiva. They believe that praying to Lord during Kartik maas fetches them Moksha (salvation).
In 2012, Kartika masam begins onNovember 14 and ends on December 13 as per Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat calendars. And as per North Indian calendars, Kartik Month begins on October 30 and ends on November 28.
The pujas, all other rituals, rules and code during the month are called as Kartika Masa Vratam. There are certain rules and codes to perform Kartika Masa vrata. The Karthika Purana details the rituals and customs to be performed during the month of Karthik.
Various Hindu sacred texts have mentioned the list of basic rituals and customs of Kartika masam.
Kartika Masa Vrata Niyama – Rituals and Rules during Karthika Masam
- Devotees should not eat non vegetarian food for whole month of Karthik. Eating non vegetarian food is considered as Brahma Hathya (Killing Lord Brahma).
- Devotees follow Nakabhukta or Ekabhuktam during the whole month of Kartik. They take meal only once a day. Some people take fruits or milk in the evening time after performing Puja. If devotees are not able to do so, they follow these customs at least on auspicious days like Karthik Somavar, Karthika Pournami etc.
- Devotees take ceremonial or spiritual bath everyday for the whole month.
- Devotees light diya every evening and perform Karthika masa puja.
- Reciting the Kartik Purana during Kartik month is very auspicious. Atleast one chapter of the Karthika Puranam a day is highly meritorious and gives them the result of visiting Chardham temples (Chardham yatra – four prominent temples for Hindus).
- Devotees perform rituals very strictly on most auspicious days of Karthika masam such as Karthika Somavara, Kalashtami, Kushmand Navami, Akshay Navami, Hari Bodhini or Prabodhini Ekadashi, Vaikunth Chaturdashi, Vyasa Puja, Karthika Poornima or Tripura Purnima, Tulasi Vivah (Marriage of Goddess Tulasi).