Sanskrit : अमावस्या) means dark moon
lunar phase in
Sanskrit . The word Amāvāsyā 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 Pratima ) is the 12 angular degrees after syzygy.
Amāvāsyā is often translated as new moon since there is no standard
term for the Moon before conjunction in English.
* 1 Meaning of Amāvāsyā
* 2 Festive
* 3 Tradition and Belief
* 3.2 Worship of Forefathers (Pitra)
* 4 References
* 5 External links
MEANING OF AMāVāSYā
In Sanskrit, "amā" means "together" and "vāsya" 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
Indian subcontinent , the lunar month starts on the day
following the full moon or purnima and therefore Amāvāsyā 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 Amāvāsyā the last day of the lunar month in those
places. Many festivals, the most famous being
Diwali (the festival of
lights), are observed on Amāvāsyā. Many Hindus fast on Amāvāsyā.
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
Amavasya has same festival all over the country.
Allahabad , Orissa ,
Bihar Brahmins are one few
have month from 1 day after
Purnima (day) to Purnima
(day)(Purnimanta), While the people of
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
Madhya Pradesh , Southern
Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
also show the mixtures. Also the people following
Amavasya is last 29/30 days.
In old Indian culture and beliefs, irrespective of religions,
Amavasya is considered a time of great power. In Tamil , though
Amavasya is 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
Amavasya of Diwali), the
Amavasya is considered inauspicious.
Lakshmi Puja (30
Ashvin or 15 Krishna
Ashvin ; the Diwali
Naraka Chaturdashi ):
Lakshmi Puja marks the most important day
Diwali celebrations in North India. Hindu homes worship
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
TRADITION AND BELIEF
Amavasya Vrat (सोमवती
अमावस्या व्रत )
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
* ^ 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. Amāvāsya 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 November
* ^ Bibek Debroy; Dipavali Debroy. The Garuda Purana. Lulu.com. pp.
151–. ISBN 978-0-9793051-1-5 . Retrieved 13 November 2012.
* ^ 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.
* Kalnirnay on iPhone
* A discussion of Amāvāsyā translation issues