Amavasya is the Sanskrit term for the lunar phase in which the moon goes completely dark. The term is accepted uniformly in the hundreds of languages used in the Indian subcontinent because practically most of these languages were formed from Sanskrit. The literal breakdown of the word Amavasya – “Ama” means together and “vasya” means live or cohabit.
There are about 30 lunar phases recognized by Indian and Greek calendars, which are called “tithi” in India. Amavasya (dark moon lunar phase) occurs when the Moon lies at or under 12 degrees of angular distance from the Sun before coming into a straight line.
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Now comes the New Moon lunar phase where the moon is 12 degrees in angular distance from the Sun after conjunction. The Hindu lunar calendar suggests that the lunar month begins the day after Purnima (full moon Day). On the other hand, in some calendars the lunar month begins the same day as the new moon phase.
The significance of Amavasya is embedded in the Indian culture. For example, the festival of lights called Diwali (the most important festival for Hindus) is celebrated on the day of Amavasya. Several gods are worshiped and presented with rich food along with long prayers and chanting. In the Indian culture, Amavasya is believed by people to make sure Progeny and also avoid widow-hood.
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Furthermore, some even suggest that those who fail to complete the Amavasya rituals may have abnormal offspring which is why some workers even take the day off on Amavasya and are willing to work on weekends instead. In earlier times, Amavasya was considered a national holiday as the rituals would continue throughout the day. But now most people spend little time on the ritual due to their busy lifestyle. All in all, Amavasya is taken as a period of immense spiritual and internal power.
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