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Chitra Purnima (Full-moon night of the month of Chitra)

Updated on March 29, 2012

The first full-moon night of Chitra (April-May) is the occasion for a picnic, festival and community get-together.

The Legend

The origin of this ancient custom is not known, but it is said to be in honour of Chitragupta, the record keeper of Yama, Lord of Death, through whose means millions of souls are born on earth and depart from it. The festival also expresses the spontaneous enjoyment of nature's beauty on a clear night of the full moon in early summer.


In the morning, a kolam or drawing of rice-flour is done outside the south door of the house because it is believed that the Lord of Death lives in that direction. Inside the house, the figure of a Moon is drawn on the floor. Nine kinds of grains are arranged around it to please navagrihas, rice is cooked, and a little ghee is added. Two plantains, two mangoes and a coconut with betel leaves and nuts are also offered to Yama. After puja and arati, the prasad is distributed.

Symbolic grains for Planets

For Sun—wheat, Moon—rice, Mars—whole red gram, for Mercury—green gram, Jupiter—whole bengal gram, Venus— mochai, karamani, string-bean, Satum-sesame, Rahu—whole black gram, Ketu—horsegram. All these nine kinds of pulses along with betel leaves and nuts, plantain and cash are given as gift to brahmins after the navagriha puja.


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