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The birthday of the Adi Kavi (the First Poet), Valmiki is celebrated on the Full moon day(Purnima) of Ashwin (September-October). Valmiki is the author of the Ramayana. He was a contemporary of Ram, the hero of the Ramayana. Valmiki himself is also a character in the Ramayana. He received the banished Sita into his hermitage and was a teacher to her twin sons Kush and Luv. The creation of the "Shloka" (epic meter) is attributed to Valmiki.

Though Valmiki is calledd the Adi Kavi he did not belong to the traditional educated class the Brahmins. He is believed to belong to the traditionally oppressed class and was a robber. One day under the influence of some sages, he repented his deeds and became a hermit and carried the most difficult of penance. This is how he acquired the name Valmiki when he was so absorbed in his meditation that ants made anthills on his body but he carried on unaware. Valmiki today is worshipped specially as an example of man who rose above his limitations and achieved greatness.

On his birthday he is worshipped and prayed and his portraits are taken out in gay processions through the main bazaars and streets. Kirtans are also held in Valmiki temples.


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