Amavasya or the dark moon phase happens once every month. The Amavasya happens when the moon is within a distance of twelve degree of angular distance, between the moon and sun before conjunction.
Etymologically, the term Amavasya takes its roots from the Sanskrit Ama and Vasya. Ama meaning together and Vasya means to cohabit or to dwell. According to the ancient Indian culture and belief, Amavasya is a time of great and auspicious power.
Phalguna Amavasya occurs during the month of Phalguna, according to the traditional Hindu calendar and in March according to the Gregorian calendar in the month of March. Phalguna Amavasya takes on greater significance as it is the last Amavasya according to the traditional Hindu calendar before the New Year sets in.
- Significance of Amavasya
Amavasya days happen on the fifteenth day of the month and they are the new moon phase or the no moon phase of every month. Of the lunar calendar, Amavasya is the first day of the first quarter. It marks the end of the dark moon phase or the Krishna Paksha. Amavasya days are days when people whose day of death have not been able to be ascertained, can perform the last rites or the shraddha ceremony for those people. Lot of people chooses to do Tarpan, or an offering towards their departed ancestors on this day. People keep fast on this day, and the Kalasarpa-dosha Pujas are also performed during the Amavasya. The deities presiding on the Amavasyatithis are the Pithri Devathas, who are the ones that bring blessings to the family from ancestors and forefathers. Solar eclipses always happen during the Amavasya days and Amavasya in conjunction with a Surya Grahan then becomes the most propitious time to perform snana, tarpana, shraddha etc.
- Significance of Phalguna Amavasya
In 2016, the Phalguna Amavasya coincides with a powerful solar eclipse or surya grahan , making it extremely powerful and important. As mentioned earlier that Phalguna Amavasya is the last Amavasya of the year according to the Hindu calendar. Thus performing the shradhha or tarpana becomes important on this day. In case regular shraddha cannot be performed in the Amavasyas, there are some Amavasyas, where it is propitious to send food, water and other things to our departed ancestors in their temporary abode or the Pitru Loka. Phalgun Amavasya is one such day.
- Rituals performed on Phalguna Amavasya
People take a purifying bath or a holy dip early in the morning, especially in the Ganges to purge themselves. Followed by the holy bath, the shraddha or the tarpana ceremony (ritualistic prayers to seek blessings from the forefathers) is carried out during the eclipse period.