Upvas Vrat (Fasting Feasts)

A typical Upvas or Vrata involves a fast for a fixed period of time, usually a full day, where either no food is eaten, or only one meal is eaten in the entire day, or only a certain food such as milk is consumed during the period of the Vrata. Other observances include sleeping on the ground or a short sleep, or alternatively yoga with meditation, reading scripture and charitable giving (dāna).

Some Vratas are more elaborate, such as those associated with major feativals or tirtha or rite of passage ceremonies, involving weeks of preparation, the drawing of Vrata mandala from various colored grain flour, wall decoration, cleaning of the house, special bath and festive dress, charity, a visit to a Hindu temple for a darśana of the inner sanctum or puja within one’s home In Nepal, Hindus visit Pashupatinatha temple for example, families light lamps on Balacaturdasi on a winter night and then set them afloat in Bagamati river next morning, followed by strewing grains for birds.