Thai Amavasai is the New moon day in the Tamil month ‘ Thai’ (January – February). Thai Amavasai is special for Thithi and Tharpanam. This is also the first Amavasi of Utharayanam (the period when Sun moves Northwards).
On this day, people do tharpanam and shradh for their ancestors. This is also the first amavasai of the utharayana kala.
People observe fast on this day to get the blessings of their ancestors. It is believed that the ancestors will attain moksha and will bless the people.
Significance of Amavasya
Amavasya is the no moon day and it is the starting day of the first quarter of the lunar month. It is a known fact that there is no moonlight found on Amavasya night and the fortnight that follows is considered to be the growing phase of the moon ( Sukla Paksha) – a time of power and growth and auspicious for starting or doing good things. Etymologically, Amavasya means ‘dwelling together’, as ‘Ama’ means ‘together’ and ‘vasya’ means ‘to dwell’ in Sanskrit.
Amavasya is generally considered auspicious to do any kind of a good thing. A few, of course, deny this fact on the ground that no moon night is propitious for black magic and evil powers. Still, in general, the belief goes that Amavasya is a great day of spiritual significance, since the day is dedicated to the worship of the dead ancestors. People pay homage to the dead forefathers by way of Tarpanam and offerings to the poor and get rid of their sins and sorrows. Most of the people make it a point to have a dip in any of the holy rivers and wash away their bad karma. It is also a regular custom in the Hindu families to go on fasting or take only one meal on Amavasya to organize the senses and bring mind and heart under control, thereby, try to reach that unattainable goal of Liberation.
The importance of observing Amavasya in particular months and days
Mauni Amavasya: This Amavasya is observed on the day when the Sun and the Moon are in the Capricorn sign. It is on this Amavasya day, Manu Rishi came to this earth and the creation of the universe started. On this day, religious minded people and those who wish to follow the path of Mukthi and Satkarma go on mauna vratha (keeping complete silence} throughout the day to keep control over their desires and emotions and achieve that equipoise which will make us surrender at the Lotus feet of the ultimate power known as God or Lord Narayana. The silence of the day renders mental balance, physical discipline, spiritual enlightenment and austere lifestyle to the observers. People usually visit Maha Kumbh and have a bath to get rid of their karma effects on this day.
Mahalaya Amavasya: Mahalaya Amavasya is the last day of Mahalaya paksha, the dark fortnight of Aswayuja, which falls in September or October. It is the particular period for offering oblations to the departed souls, no matter whether they are related to you or not. It is known as the punya kala to do all kinds of offerings to the destitute and perform all obsequies and rites. Mahalaya Amavasya has its mythological significance with the association of Maharathi Karna. Karna, the great man known for his charities was lacking in the charity of food that when he went to Heaven, he was not able to find food there. So, he was sent back to earth for 14 days by the God of death to enable him to offer food to the poor and the downtrodden. So, this amavasya is the right time as considered by many to respect the departed souls.
Thai Amavasya: The Amavasya in the month of Thai is noted for the tarpanam performed on the day, since it solves the problems related to health, money and relationships. Even if the ancestors have curses, we can relieve them from them by offering to the poor. It purifies the mind of unwanted desires and brings prosperity and long life to the family.
Somavathi Amavasya: If Amavasya falls on Monday, it is called Somavathi Amavasya and people observe Somavar vratha to free themselves from grief, diseases and sorrow. It was recommended by Bhishma to Yudhistra that taking a dip in the holy rivers on this day will fetch salvation for human beings. Married women observe somvar vratha to lead a happy married life. They worship the pipal tree on the day to get long life for their husbands.
Shani Amavasya: Amavasya falling on Saturdays is the right moment to pray to Shani God and reduce the bad effects of the ill placed planetary positions of Shani Bhagavan. People undertake any offering that is tainted with black color on this day to appease Shani god.
Diwali Amavasya: This is auspicious to perform Lakshmi Pooja and bring riches to the family.
To conclude, Amavasya is a great day for doing offerings, respecting the departed elders and starting any new activity.