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What is Amavasya, and What are its significance and Rituals?


Amavasya 2024


Amavasya, also known as No Moon Day or New Moon Day, holds significant importance in the Hindu religion. Amavasya is the lunar phase of the new moon in the Hindu calendar. It occurs when the moon is positioned between the Earth and the Sun, making it invisible from Earth. This day highlights the profound power of absence. Amavasya occurs every month and can be calculated according to the Tithi using the Hindu Panchangam.  

Why is it Important? 

Just as we feel the presence of a loved one more intensely when they are gone, the absence of the moon on Amavasya makes the presence more powerful. Similarly, this day is dedicated to worshipping forefathers and ancestors. On this day, the moon is in its waning phase, which is considered inauspicious. So, commencing new ventures or conducting major life events such as marriages, engagements, mundan (first hair shaving ceremony), and griha pravesh (housewarming ceremony) on Amavasya is not good as it holds a special place religious people. But amavasya days are considered auspicious for religious activities such as taking a holy bath in the sacred Ganga River, performing Pitru Tharpanam (oblation) and Pitru Puja, and engaging in charity. An Amavasya that falls on a Monday holds special significance. It is believed that fasting on this day can fulfill all desires.  

Mahalaya Amavasya is mainly important in Amavasya. It honours ancestors and forefathers. It's known by various names like Sarvapitri Amavasya, Pitra Moksha Amavasya, or Pitru Amavasya, marking the culmination of the 16-day Shraddha rituals. 

In Tamil Nadu, millions of people perform special Tharpanam (oblation) in Rameswaram and other holy theerthas on Thai Amavasai, Aadi Amavasai, and Mahalaya Amavasai. By performing these rituals, it is believed they receive blessings and protection from their ancestors, ensuring the well-being and prosperity of their families. 

What are the Rituals followed?  

On Amavasya, many Hindus engage in a variety of sacred rituals and practices aimed at paying respects to their ancestors and seeking spiritual cleansing 

  • Holy Bath in Sacred Rivers:                                                                        Taking a holy bath in sacred rivers, especially the Ganga, is believed to purify the soul and cleanse one’s sins. Followers gather at riverbanks to perform cleansing rituals, believed to be highly rewarding and spiritually refreshing.  
  • Pitru Tharpanam (Oblation):                                                                          This ritual involves offering water mixed with sesame seeds and other sacred ingredients to the souls of deceased ancestors. Pitru Tharpanam (Oblation) should be performed at sunrise, while another tradition states it should be done at noon. Performing Pitru Tharpanam on Amavasya is believed to bring peace to the departed souls and earn their blessings for the family.  
  • Pitru Puja and Pind Daan:                                                                      Special prayers and offerings, known as Pitru Puja, are conducted to honour and appease ancestors. Pind Daan, involving rice balls and sesame seeds, is another important ritual believed to help the souls of ancestors attain peace and liberation. 
  • Charity and Donation:                                                                      Engaging in acts of charity and donation is considered highly auspicious on Amavasya. Many people donate food, clothes, and money to the needy, believing that such acts of generosity bring blessings and good karma. 
  • Hawan (Fire Ritual):                                                                        Performing a hawan or fire ritual is another common practice on Amavasya. This involves making offerings to the sacred fire while chanting mantras, believed to purify the environment and invoke divine blessings. 
  • Amavasya Fast or Vratham:                                                                       In Hindu culture, observing a fast for our ancestors on every Amavasya is considered beneficial. People prepare vegetarian meals to serve and worship their forefathers and ancestors. They follow strict fasting methods, refraining from consuming salt and dairy products. This fasting is believed to seek divine blessings for the prosperity and happiness of their families. 


Upcoming Amavasya Dates and Timing in 2024

  • July 5 (Friday) starts at 04:57 AM and ends on July 6 at 05:00 AM. 
  • August 4 (Sunday) - Aadi Amavasya starts from August 3 at 04:57 PM and ends on August 4 at 05:34 PM. 
  • September 2 (Monday) starts from September 2 at 06:30 AM and ends on September 3 at 08:00 AM. 
  • October 2 (Wednesday) - Mahalaya Amavasya is a full-day event. 
  • November 1 (Friday) starts from October 31 at 04:30 PM and ends on November 1 at 06:30 PM. 
  • November 30 (Saturday) starts from November 30 at 11:05 AM and ends on December 31 at 12:20 PM. 
  • December 30 (Monday) starts from December 30 at 04:45 AM and ends on December 31 at 05:05 AM. 





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