Amavasya falls on the fifteenth day of the Krishna Paksh every month. It is the new moon day. The Amavasya falling in the month of Jyeshtha is known as Jyeshtha Amavasya. This year, Jyeshtha Amavasya will fall on June 13th, 2018.
Amavasya is a day dedicated to the worship of one's ancestors. It is believed that offering prayers to the ancestors on this day liberates their souls from the cycle of birth and death and brings salvation to them.
Many women even offer their prayers to Vat Vriksh or the Banyan tree on this day, if they observe it as the Vat Savitri Vrat (a fasting day for married women). It is also celebrated as Shani Jayanti in many parts of the country.
However, when there is an extra month in the Hindu calender, that month is known as Adhika Maas. This year, the extra month follows the Jyeshtha, therefore, it is also known as Adhika Jyeshtha month. Amavasya tithi begins at 4:34 AM on June 13th and will end at 1:13 AM on June 14th, 2018.
Amavasya And Purnima
A month is divided into two halves, each consisting of fifteen to sixteen days. While one half witnesses the waxing phase of the moon, the other half witnesses the waning phase of the moon. The phase of the waxing Moon is known as the Shukla Paksh and the period of the waning Moon is known as the Krishna Paksh.
The fifteenth day of the waxing moon is known as the Full Moon day and that of the waning Moon is known as the New Moon day. While the Indian name for a Full Moon is Purnima, that for a New Moon is Amavasya.
Due to an extra month in the year 2018, according to the Hindu calender, there will be two Purnimas and two Amavasyas in the month of Jyeshtha for 2018.
Observed As A Fasting Day And Dedicated To Forefathers
People often observe Amavasya as a fasting day. Both men and women observe a fast and break it on the next day. The next day is also an auspicious one and is known as Chandra Darshan. It is so named as observing the moon on the first day after the Amavasya is said to be very auspicious.
The devotees must get up early and take a bath during the Brahma Muhurat in a holy river. If taking a bath in a holy river is not possible, then they can just add a few drops of the Gangajal (sacred water of the river Ganga) in the water and take bath in it.
Then, they should offer water to the Sun God and worship the Peepal tree. Black sesame seeds are poured in running water, as an offering to the forefathers.
This day is considered even more auspicious if the individual suffers from Pitra Dosh, as pujas such as Pitra Trapan, Pinda Daan, etc., can be performed on this day. However, it is advised to perform these pujas only under the right guidance. Donations made on the Amavasya day are said to be very beneficial.
On the day of Amavasya, people generally do not undertake work and remain at home to perform the auspicious puja for their forefathers. Many communities even believe that washing hair, getting a haircut and cutting the nails, are all considered to be very inauspicious for this day.
Amavasya is considered auspicious for performing the Shraadh. People offer black sesame seeds to the forefathers, by pouring these sesame seeds in running water. It liberates the departed souls from the cycle of birth and death and brings salvation to them.