The Amavasya is the day of the conjunction of the sun and the moon, the 15th day of the dark half of a lunar month. Somavati Amavasya is the new moon day or no moon day that falls on a Monday in traditional Hindu calendar. Though Amavasya occurs every month, Hindus believe it to be the most auspicious when it falls on a Monday. Amavasya is important for performing the rituals for the departed ancestors.
There will be three Somavati Amavasya days in the year 2011. The first Somvati Amavasya date is 3rd January, 2011, the second is on 2nd May, 2011 and the third is on 29th August 2011. January 2011 Amavasya is Paush Amavasya as per North Indian calendars and Margasirsha Amavasya as per other Hindu calendars. May 2011 Amavasya is Vaishakh Amavasya in North Indian Hindi calendars and Chaitra Amavasya as per other calendars. August 2011 Amavasya is Bhadrapad Amavasya in North Indian and Shravan Amavasya in other Hindu calendars. Vaishakh Amavasya begins on 2nd May, Monday, at 10.25 am and ends at 12:21 noon on 3rd May. As Amavasya will start after Sunrise on 2nd May and ends after Sunrise on 3rd May. Due to this reason, Amavasya is mostly observed on 3rd May.
Significance of Somvati Amavasya
The significance of Somvati Amavasya was explained to Yudhishtra 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 sorrow and grief.
It is also believed that the soul of ancestors will rest in peace if family members take a holy dip in the sacred rivers like Ganga at Haridwar, Triveni and other places..
Somavara Amavasya Vrata (fasting) is observed for a long and happy married life. The women worship Peepal tree and tie thread round the trunk of this tree 108 times. Pipal is the most sacred tree in India. It is regarded as the dwelling place of the Hindu Trinity-Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. They circumambulate one hundred and eight times with their hands folded. They pour water and milk on its roots and offer sandal paste, vermillion, wet rice and flowers.
Vaishakha Amavasya is considered as important for Pitru tarpan and shraddh karma rituals.