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Chaitra Purnima, or Chait Poornima, is the full moon day in the month of Chaitra (March - April) in a traditional Hindu calendar. The full moon day of Chaitra (March-April) is also observed as a sacred day dedicated to Chitragupta in South India. On this day Chitragupt, the assistant of Yamaraj, maitains the recirds of births and death in the whole world, is worshipped. It is Chitragupta who also maintains the accounts, of our good and bad actions in this world, and we are rewarded or punished accordingly hereafter. At Kanchipuram, near Madras, the image of god Chitragupta is taken out in a procession and the devotees have a holy dip in the River Chitra flowing down the nearby hills.

The worship and prayer offered to Chitragupt, the chief scribe of Yama, reminds us of the gods, high above, keeping a watch on our every action and maintaining a record of it. It helps us in self-analysis and maintaining good conduct so as to reap good rewards and avoid punishment after death. It also reminds us that a sin can be forgiven if one repents sincerely, vows not to repeat it, and prays to the Lord with penitent heart, devotion and intense faith.

The deity is also invoked in a metal or earthen pitcher filled with an elaborate ritual. Chitragupta literally means a "hidden picture" and it is he who presents a true picture of our actions after death.

This occassion falls on the full moon day on the Chithirai Natchathiram. It is celebrated at night with the Swami Porappadu.

THE TWELVE months of the Hindu year, based on the lunar calendar, are named after that star during whose ascendency the full moon of that month occurs. The full moon day of Chaitra month, that is, the Purnima during the ascendency of the Chitra star is particularly sacred to the Chitra Guptas, the recording angels of the Hindu pantheon. A special worship is offered to these celestial representatives of the god of death, and an offering of spiced rice is prepared and later distributed as prasad or holy sacrament. A fire worship is done at the close of the ritualistic worship. By the performance of this religious observance annually, these angels of the other world are greatly pleased and judge man's actions with more sympathy.

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