Amāvásyā (Sanskrit: अमावस्या) means
New moon lunar
phase in Sanskrit. The word Amāvásyā is common to almost all
Nepalese and Indian languages as most of them are derived from
Sanskrit. Ancient Babylonian, Greek and Indian calendars used 30 lunar
phases, called tithi in India. The dark moon tithi is when the
Moon is within the 12 degrees of angular distance between the Sun and
Moon before conjunction (syzygy). The New Moon tithi (called
Pratipada or Prathama) is the 12 angular degrees after syzygy.
Amāvásyā is often translated as new moon since there is no standard
term for the Moon before conjunction in English.
Amavasya and Prathama tithi
The dates for 2018 are 16 January, 15 February, 17 March, 15 April, 15
May, 13 June, 12 July, 10 August, 09 September, 08 October, 07
November and 06 December.
1 Meaning of Amāvásyā
2 Festive Amavasya
3 Tradition and Belief
3.2 Worship of Forefathers (Pitra)
5 External links
Meaning of Amāvásyā
In Sanskrit, "amā" means "together" and "vásya" means "to dwell" or
"cohabit". It also means "na" +"ma"+"asya" meaning to "na" = "No,
"ma"=Moon, "Asya"="There" inturn meaning to There is no Moon i.e.,
Moon is not visible.
In the pūrṇimānta māna Hindu lunar calendar used in most parts of
the Indian subcontinent, the lunar month starts on the day following
the full moon or purnima and therefore Amāvásyā always falls in the
middle of the month. However, in the amānta māna calendar used in
some places, the lunar month starts on the day of the new moon, making
Amāvásyā the last day of the lunar month in those places. Many
festivals, the most famous being
Diwali (the festival of lights), are
observed on Amāvásyā. Many Hindus fast on Amāvásyā.
Pancha-Gauda Brahmins have month from next day of
Purnima (day) to
Purnima (day), that is Purnima is last 29/30 days (Purnimanta).
Pancha-Dravida have month from next day of
Amavasya is last 29/30 days (Amanta). Śhukla paksha is called as
the bright half as the Moon changes from New Moon to Full Moon while
in Krishna paksha it changes from Full Moon to New Moon. Hence it is
seen that same
Amavasya has same festival all over the country.
Ujjain, Allahabad, Orissa,
Bihar Brahmins are one few Pancha-Gauda
Brahmins have month from 1 day after
Purnima (day) to Purnima
(day)(Purnimanta), While the people of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa,
Andhra Pradesh the Pancha-Dravida have month from
1 day after
Amavasya to Amavasya.
Amavasya is last 29/30 days
Kanchipuram Mutt where the
Adi Shankara lived and all
Pancha-Gauda and Pancha-Dravida use to visit hence Tamil Nadu
developed a mixture of
Panchangam and saka calendar. Similarly the
Pancha-Gauda and Pancha-Dravida are living together as
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Southern
Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
also show the mixtures. Also the people following
Amavasya is last 29/30 days.[clarification
In old Indian culture and beliefs, irrespective of religions, Amavasya
is considered a time of great power. In Tamil, though
commonly used in religious spheres, the pure Tamil scholars prefer the
term Puthuppi Rai Fast is observed to propitiate both the Sun and
Moon Gods. Except for the Karttika
Amavasya of Diwali),
Amavasya is considered inauspicious.
Lakshmi Puja (30
Ashvin or 15 Krishna
Paksha Ashvin; the
Lakshmi Puja marks the most important day of
Diwali celebrations in North India. Hindu homes worship Lakshmi, the
goddess of wealth, and Ganesh, the God of auspicious beginnings also
known as the remover of obstacles, and then light deeyas (little clay
pots) in the streets and homes to welcome prosperity and well-being.
Tradition and Belief
Amavasya Vrat (सोमवती अमावस्या
Amavasya falling on Mondays has a special significance. It is
believed that a fast on this particular
Amavasya would ward off
widow-hood in women and ensure bearing of progeny. It is also believed
that all desires could be fulfilled if one fasts on this Amavasya.
Worship of Forefathers (Pitra)
Every month, the Amāvāsyā day is considered auspicious for the
worship of forefathers and poojas are made. Religious people are not
supposed to travel or work, and instead concentrate on the rites of
Amavasyas, typically at home in the afternoon. Even today, traditional
workers like masons do not work on
Amavasya in India. However, they
will work on Saturdays and Sundays. Even High Court judges of 18th
century India used to observe
Amavasya as a day off. It was the
British Rule that brought the Christian Sunday-off principle to Indian
On Amavasyas, Shraadh is done to forefathers by Brahmins whose fathers
have died. In modern times, a short 20-minute version of the ceremony
is done—offering black sesame and water as oblation to departed
souls. This oblation is offered to father, grandfather,
great-grandfather, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. If one
of these persons are still alive, their name is skipped and the
corresponding earlier generation person is offered oblation. Then a
final oblation is offered to those anonymous souls which died and have
nobody in their lineage offering oblation. These oblations are
believed to give birth to good children without mental or physical
The dark fortnight of
Aswayuja (September–October) is known as the
Paksha (Mahalaya), which is especially sacred for offering
oblations to departed ancestors. The last day of this period, the dark
moon day, called mahalaya Amavasya, is considered the most important
day in the year for performing obsequies and rites. The manes return
to their abode on the evening of Deepavali. Due to the grace of the
Yama, it has been ordained that offerings made during this period
benefit all the departed souls, whether they are connected to you or
In Tamil Nadu, lakhs of People will make special Tharpanam (Oblation)
in Rameshwaram & other Holy Theerthas on Thai Amavasai, Aadi
Amavasai, Mahalaya Amavasai. Thai Amavasai comes in the month of
Jan-Feb and is the 1st Amavasai after Uttranayana Punya Kaalam
(Northern Journey of Sun). Aadi Amavasai comes in the month of Jul-Aug
and is the 1st Amavasai after Dakshinayanam Punya Kaalam (Southern
Journey of Sun). Pitru Paksh Mahalaya Amavasai comes during Navratri
^ Most, Glenn W. Hesiod Volume 1: Theogony. Works and Days.
Testimonia. Loeb Classical Library 57, Harvard University Press,
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2006.
^ Kolev, Rumen. The Babylonian Astrolabe. State Archives of Assyria
Studies, Volume XXII, 2013.
^ Cole, Freedom. Amāvásya and Pratipad. Jyotish Digest, Vol XI,
Issue II, April-Sep 2014
^ B. K. Chaturvedi (2002). Garuda Purana. Diamond Pocket Books (P)
Ltd. pp. 82–. ISBN 978-81-288-0155-6. Retrieved 13
^ Bibek Debroy; Dipavali Debroy. The Garuda Purana. Lulu.com.
pp. 151–. ISBN 978-0-9793051-1-5. Retrieved 13 November
^ Gaṅgā Rām Garg (1992). Encyclopaedia of the Hindu World: Ak-Aq.
Concept Publishing Company. pp. 370–.
ISBN 978-81-7022-375-7. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
^ K, Kandaswamy. "
Amavasya Date & Time This Year - Timings in
IST". Live Trend. K Kandaswamy. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
Kalnirnay on iPhone
A discussion of Amāvāsyā translation issues within
Days of the Paksha