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Most Hindu people follow Kaarthika masam in which the women keep fasts whole masam (month) and eat at nights. This happens in my home as well. Whole month nobody should eat non-veg in home (can eat outside). To me this seems a bit weird as to this is followed only by women (my mother follows it) and nobody else in the family living in that same home.

Can someone please tell me background/story of Kaarthika masam and who should follow it and what exactly need to do in that whole month?

My family is Kshatriyas and we live like Brahmins (only veg) whole month. I want my mother not to follow this ritual/tradition because she fast whole month.

  • Even my family follows it. As this month is related to Shiva (i don't know how?), my sister and mother fast on Mondays of this month and fasted during recent Kartika Pournima. Tradition may change with region and caste. Even i have some doubts. Is Kaartika related to Kartikeya? Anyway, good question. Waiting for Answers. – The Destroyer Nov 29 '15 at 5:29
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    It is not restricted to women alone. All men and women of all castes should keep vratam. Sadly only the women are keeping our rituals and religion alive. You can read kaartika puranam to understand the rituals. Most important practices to be observed during kartika are lighting deepam, snaanam and proper diet. There are different ways of performing the fasting. What your mother is doing is called naktam. There are other easier methods too. – user1195 Nov 29 '15 at 7:27
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Karthika month is one of the best among all hindu months for doing all kinds of religious activities.

From the Karthika Masa Mahatmya chapter in the Skanda Purana:

As regards Kartika Month, Bhagavan Vishnu always accorded high esteem and whatever good deeds were performed in the ‘Masa’ were fully accepted by all the Devas since they were readily available there through out the month

The acts and endeavours of the devotees like ‘Snaan’, ‘Daan’, ‘Bhojan’, ‘Vrath’, ‘Til’(Sesame Seeds), Dhenu (Cows), ‘Suvarna’ (Gold), ‘Rajat’ (Silver), ‘Bhumi’ (Land), ‘Vastra’(Clothing), Tapasya, Japa, Homa, Yagna, Annadaan, Puja with Tulasi leaves, Abhishek of Vishnu’s Idol with Ganges and other holy river waters as also ‘Panchamrit’ comprising milk, ghee, curd, honey and sugar; ‘Shodasopacharas’ to Deities, Veda- parayana, Purana Shravan, Bhajans, Deva Stutis, Visits to Temples, fasting, abstinence, ‘Jaagarans’ (Keeping awake in the night singing hymns), Guru Seva etc. would indeed secure manifold returns in the consecrated month of Kartik.

Its not only the women who should actually observe the fasts and other austerities but men should also do the same.

What to do during Karthika masa:

At every time during the day and night, ‘kirtans’(Stanzas) on one’s own lips must be uttered like ‘Govinda Govinda Hare Murari, Govinda Govinda Mukunda Krishna, Govinda Govinda Rathangapane, Govinda Damodara Maadhaveti’. Specific time on each day must also be apportioned for ‘Bhagavat Geeta Paath’ or reading as many Chapters as possible.Also, a devotee must observe sleeping on the floor and if possible perform Kanya Daan and Vidya Daan in the month. Practice of the month long austerity and good conduct even in one Kartika month in a year ought to result in tangible benefits for sure!

What not to do during this month:

One has to observe certain dont’s during Kartika Month such as avoiding use of oil on the body and food (except on Naraka Chaturdasi), food from others, fruits with many seeds, rice, left over or spoilt food, heavy food and twice a day, drinking intoxicants, use of glass items, eating group food or Grama Purohit, Shraddhas and from women during menses period; eating in lotus leaves, consuming brinjals, carrots, ‘Loki, onions and masoor dal; eating on Ekadashi days; turning off guests at eating time; conversing with chandal, Mlechha, Patita (women with bad character), Vratahin ( those not observing the rules of Kartika month), hater of Brahmanas, those who talk ill of others, non believers of God/ Godmen and immoral beings

Bathing(Snana) in particular, in Karthika month, seems to be of considerable significance :

During the month of Kartika, Snanaas (bathings) acquire considerable importance. Those who are devoted to Surya Deva, Ganesha, Shakti, Siva and Vishnu are all required to formally observe Kartika Snanas. Snanas in favour of Surya need to be followed as long as Surya is in ‘Tula’ Rasi. Snanas in favour of Shankara be performed from Asvayuja Pournami to Kartika Pournami. Bathings in favour of Devis be observed from Aswayuja Shukla Pradhana day till Karthika Krishna Chaturdasi while for Ganesha Snanas are to be performed From Ashvin Krishna Chaturdasi till Kartika Krishna Chaturdasi. Bhagavan Janardana would be pleased with formal Snaanas from Aswin Shukla Ekadashi till Kartika Shukla Ekadashi.Those who observe the Snana Procedure during the month of Kartika would be free from the tributations of Yama Dharma Raja.

To sum up:

If during the entire Kartik Month-or atleast ‘Pancha Rathras’ (five nights), a devotee recites ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’ as well as reads / hears ‘Vishnu Sahasranam’ and ‘Gajendra Moksha Paatha’, he secures freedom from want, disease, adversity and discontent. Most certainly, the austerities observed on Kartika Ekadashi day alone would ensure contentment in ‘Iham’ (Current Life) and bliss in ‘Param’ (Post Life). Each act of virtue on the most auspicious day of Kartika Ekadashi is bound to obtain a multiplier effect endlessly.

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