By Swami Harshananda
Dvādaśi literally means ‘the twelfth day’.
Dvādaśi follows ekādaśi and is known as pāraṇā. On this day, a devotee worships Viṣṇu Lord and then ceremonially breaks his fast. It is recommended that he avoid a second meal and non-vegetarian food on that day.
There are eight kinds of dvādaśīs in the Purāṇas e.g., Jayā, Vijayā, Jayantī and Pāpanāśinī. These dvādaśīs are associated with certain nakṣatras (asterisms). Fasting is enjoined for these days also.
One of the most well-known festivals that falls on dvādaśi is the Utthāna-dvādaśī. On this day Lord Viṣṇu who had gone to sleep on the Śayanī day, gets up. Hence it is called ‘Utthānadvādaśī.
It is also on dvādaśi that Tulasī (Vṛndā) married Hari (Viṣṇu) and thus this day is also referred to as ‘Tulasīvivāha day.’ Ceremonial marriage of the Tulasī plant (holy basil) with Lord Hari is performed on this day. In some houses images of Hari and Tulasī are kept and worshiped for three days from navamī to ekādaśī.
Vaikuṇṭha-dvādaśī or Mukkoṭi-dvādaśī is an another festival observed in the South. It is the next day of Vaikuṇṭha Ekādaśī. Details of the festival are the same for the Ekādaśī.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore