Vaman Dwadashi

Vaman Dwadashi

August-September; 12th day of Bhadrapada
According to Hindu belief, the god Vishnu turned himself into a dwarf, Vamana, to trick Bali, who conquered and ruled the kingdom of Indra, into giving up some of his domain. This story appears in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana . Devout Hindus worship both Vishnu and Bali with a fast beginning on the 11th day of Bhadrapada and keeping an all-night vigil. Offerings and mantras are made to an image of Vamana. On the 12th, Hindus rise at dawn, bathe, continue to worship the image of Vamana, then, finally, break their fast with a festive meal. It is primarily women who observe this day, and they often invite a young Brahman boy to the celebration—a boy to represent the short height of Vamana, and a Brahman because it is believed that good fortune will come to those who give alms to Brahmans. Thus the boy is given such gifts as shoes and an umbrella.
SOURCES:
DictHindu-1977, p. 321
HinduRelCustManners-1960, p. 149
HinduRelYr-1921, p. 77