Every year the Tamil Indians in the Durban community observe a fast during the period from 17th September till the 17th of October, marking a month’s fast called the Purtassi fast. Purtassi is the Tamil word for September and in the Tamil calendar a month starts on the 15th day and Purtassi fasting commences according to the moon and planets. It was a tradition carried over from the South of India and is still largely practiced in Durban. The fast is devoted to the Preserver who is referred to as Vishnu. During this month Tamilians eat only vegetables and abstain from meat. This act purifies the mind, body and soul. It helps to discipline the mind and removes toxins from the body at the same time, therefore by observing this fast and paying homage to Lord Vishnu, the fast also serves as gratitude towards the Lord.
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