Somvati Amavasya

Date    :   August 29, 2011
Venue :  All over India

The Amavasya is the 15th day of the dark half of a lunar month – a day of conjunction of the sun and the moon. Somavati Amavasya is the new moon day or no moon day that falls on a Monday, in a traditional Hindu calendar.

Though Amavasya occurs every month, Hindus believe it to be most auspicious when it occurs on a Monday. In 2011, the first Somvati Amavasya was on the third of January and the second on the 2nd of May. The third will fall on the 29th of August, 2011.

The significance of the day was explained to Yudhishtira by Bhishma in the Mahabharata. He says that whoever takes a bath in the sacred rivers on the day would be prosperous, and would be free of diseases as well as sorrow.

It is also believed that the soul of the departed will rest in peace if family members take a dip in holy waters on this day.

Somavara Amavasya Vrata (fasting) is observed for a long and happy married life. Hindu women worship the peepal tree and tie a sacred thread around its trunk while circumambulating 108 times, with folded hands. Water and milk are poured on its roots, and offerings of sandal paste, vermillion, wet rice and flowers are made.

The peepal, regarded as the dwelling place of the Hindu Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, is the most sacred tree of Hinduism.