Somvati Amavashya is also called Suhaag Amavashya – Married women commence the vrata of ‘Suhaag Amavashya’ usually in the Hindu months of Baisakh, Kartik or Maagh. On the day of Amavashya, the woman observing the vrata eats only once and keeps a fast for the rest of the tithi. She also feeds a Brahmin woman who is married and offers her money (Dakshina) and a ‘suhag pitari’ which is a collection of 16 means of ornamentation for Hindu married women.
According to sage Sankha, if the tithi of Amavashya falls on a Monday, then it is a time for celebrations. This day of festivity is known as the “Somvati Amavashya”. It is believed to be one of the most auspicious and favourable days for various reasons. One of the reasons for considering this day so lucky is that on this day, the Sun and Moon are positioned in the straight line, thus radiating more positive vibrations. Following rituals, observing a fast and doing charity on this day gives the best results for the whole year.
“Swarga Dwari” Somvati Amavashya
If within the period from the month of Vaishak (April) to the month of Poush (December), Somvati Amavashya falls on Monday, then these days are known to be ‘Swarga Dwari Somvati Amavashya’. ‘Swarga Dwari Amavashya’ are days of huge importance for married women. The vrata for this occasion should be commenced from the first Amavashya and should be observed every Amavashya for next 9 months. This year is special as this Parva takes place within a period of nine Hindu months as explained under:
First Amavashya – Monday, (Vaishak) 28.04.2014
Second Amavashya – Monday, (Bhadrapad) 25.08.2014
Third Amavashya – Monday, (Poush) 22.12.2014
Rituals for this Vrata
On all the three days of Somvati Amavashya, the vrata should be observed by consuming fruits only. During this period of vrata, consumption of any one type of grains should be avoided and water for drinking should be taken from a well. The vrata for the rest of the six Amavashya should be observed by eating one meal a day. The meal should comprise of ‘puri’ made of whole wheat flour, potato fry and curd. The following things should be donated on the day of ‘Udyapan’-
Rituals for the pooja
The vrata of Somvati Amavashya holds special importance for the Hindu married women. In some houses, this vrata is observed by all the women of the family while in some, only the eldest woman of the house takes the responsibility to observe it. This vrata is usually carried on for generations. In case, it is not possible to observe it anymore, then the ‘Udyapan’ ceremony of the vrata is performed.
On the day of Somvati Amavashya, the devotee takes a dip in the holy waters of Ganga or nearby Holy River before sunrise and then installs the idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu under a Sacred Fig tree (Peepal Tree). After the installation is done, she performs a puja sitting under the tree. Once the pooja is performed, she goes round the tree 108 times (Pradakshina) and worships it along with Lord Vishnu, Shiva-Parvati and the holy basil plant (Tulsi). While doing so, the devotee prays to God to free her from all sins and to bless her family with happiness, longevity and prosperity.
The ritual of worshipping and showing reverence to trees in general and Peepal in particular has a deeper significance apart from the obvious religious connections. The ancient seers understood the significance of trees in the lives of human beings and hence asked man to worship them during festivals. In today’s age, when man is going far away from Nature, this ritual proves to be a wonderful way to make human beings realize the role played by Nature in their lives.