Ammavasai - New Moon
Ammavasai holds great importance in Hindu religion, tradition as well as culture. Hindus usually use this day for offerings to their dead ancestors. These offerings are known as Tharpanam. Ammavasai is an auspicious day since the Moon will ever grow from New Moon onwards. If someone start auspicious activities like starting business, buying house or land it will grow like a waxing Moon. However, there are some who mistakenly consider it to be an inauspicious day. There has always been an ongoing debate whether Ammavasai is an auspicious or inauspicious day.
Tharpanam - Ancestor Ritual
Thai Ammavasai and Purattasi Ammavasai
The term Ammavasai is usually used in all regional languages in India. The fortnight from the day of Ammavasai is known as Shukla Paksha. Shukla Paksha means ‘the bright half of the month’. Mauni Ammavasai and Mahalaya Ammavasai are considered to be very auspicious. Mauni amavasai falls in the Tamil Thai month, which is January-February. On the other hand, Mahalaya Ammavasai falls in the Puratassi month, which is September-October. In the same way, Ammavasai falling in the Aadi month is of great importance in Tamil Nadu - the land of mystics.
From Ammavasai to Pournami, every month the opportunity is created naturally. Even for those who are completely unaware, there is a natural opportunity available beginning every Amavasai and moving on.
Somavara Ammavasai is associated with the new moon which occurs on a Monday. Monday or Somawar is a moon's day. It is an auspicious day for observing the somavara Ammavasai Vratam or fast, for the longevity of their spouses.
The Significance of Somavara Ammavasai was narrated toYudhishtra by Bhisma in the Mahabharata. It is said that who ever takes a bath in the sacred rivers on the day would be prosperous, free of diseases and would be free from grief and sorrow. There is also a popular belief that the soul of ancestors will rest in peace if children and relatives take a holy dip in the sacred rivers.
Arasam Maram - Pipal TreeMarried women take the holy dip for a happy married life and for the long life of their husbands. They also worship the 'arasam maram' - pipal tree on the day. Somavara Ammavasai Vratam (fasting) is observed for a long and happy married life by couples. Many devout Hindus also fast on the day and some people only have a single meal. On the day thousands of people take a dip in Ganga at Haridwar, Triveni and other places in North India.
Persons going through the main and sub period of Shani, Rahu, Ketu (mahadasha and antardasha) are suggested to conduct the Shani Ammavasai Puja and Danam so that quantum of suffering or debt is reduced.
Holy Dip in Gangai
Since time immemorial, Hindus have believed that the fortnightly cycle of the moon exerts a great influence on the human anatomy just as it affects the water bodies on earth resulting in tides and ebbs.
Most Hindus observe a fast on that day and offer food to their departed ancestors. It is said that the ancestors come to their descendents on Amavasai to partake of their food and if nothing is offered to them they are displeased. So, Hindus prepare 'Tharpanam' (sesame rice ball) and await their ancestors.
Many festivals like Deepavalli are observed on this day too. Ammavasai marks a new beginning. Devotees vow to accept the new with optimism as new moon ushers in the hope of a new dawn.
~ By Vijayakumar Alagappan
for more information about other Tithis (Moon phases) click the link below :