I have seen my dad doing fasting on every Amavasya in remembrance of my late grandfather i.e., dad's father. He usually will not have breakfast and lunch on that day and directly will have dinner with all variety of food after offering it to a photo of the grandfather and having that food later.

When I asked him why he does so every Amavasya, his reply was "Its on the remembrance of Ancestors" and nothing more than that. I'm not satisfied with his reply.

What is the reason behind doing so every Amavasya? Does it have any significance with Hindu history and Hindu scripts? Is it more than any beliefs? Can anyone help me out with this?

3 Answers 3


As per our scriptures,each of the 15 different Tithis are ruled by some specific Deites.For example ,Moon rule the Purnima,the Nagas rule the Panchami and in particular the Pitras(ancestors) rule the Amavasya tithi.

So,fasting,doing charity and also doing Pitra Tarpanam(offering black sesame and water offerings) on Amavasya appease the Pitras.

The Varaha Purana lists the ruling Deities for all the 15 tithis as follows:


Dwiteeya-Aswini Kumars

Tritiya-Goddess Gowri

Chaturthi-Lord Ganesha


Sashti-Karthikeya or Skanda


Ashtami-The Ashta Matrikas

Navami-Goddess Durga

Dasami-Dasha Disha(The ten directions)


Dwadasi-Lord Vishnu


Chaturdasi-Lord Rudra

Purnima-Moon God


He(Lord Brahma)designated �Amavasya� as the most important day for worship to �Pitras� and Tanmatras as well.

Human beings perform Tarpanas along with �Kusha� and �Tilas�on Amavasyas falling in each month which would indeed provide contenment to Pitras as well as Tanmatras.

Thus Amavasya is required to be the special day when fast is observed and �tildaan� is performed without fail, and that would not only give satifaction to Pitras but the Kartas or the Performing Devotees

  • Chaturdasi is 14th day but generally Masa Sivaratri or Mahasivaratri is celebrated on 13th day time but important event of Linga Avirbavana time is around midnight 12. So, Pradosha Kala actually falls under chaturdasi which belongs to Lord Rudra. Am i right?
    – The Destroyer
    Apr 15, 2016 at 8:35
  • @TheDestroyer Pradosh Vrat falls on the 13th tithis,Masik(& Maha ) Sivaratri falls on one of the 14 th.In some other Puranas too there are lists for the ruling Deities of the Tithis and some of them differs with the one i have given in my answer.But no differences wrt to the Amavasya tithi.For example,here Durga is said to be worshipped on the Navami.But Durga astami,the fasting day for Durga,actually falls on the astami tithi.Goddess Durga's favorite Tithis are actually both the 8th and the 9th.
    – Rickross
    Apr 22, 2016 at 5:58

On Amavasya many people fast and offer puja to the souls of their forefathers. They also offer water to the departed souls. The Fifteen days before the Navratri there is Amavasya which is called Mahalaya. This is the time which is called Pitri paksha and is considered as a very good time to offer prayers to the departed souls and ensure that they rest in peace. Food is offered to the ancestors. It is said that lord Vishnu himself said that on these days the ancestors come to earth and if they are not offered puja and food they feel offended. There is also a popular story that Karna who was a famous character in Mahabharata after death could not get food. He was known for charity and he gave people a lot of gold but not food. When Lord Yama saw his state he advised Karna to go back to earth and feed the poor. Karna got back to earth and fed the poor during the pitri paksha. This enabled him to get food in his life after death. This is exactly why many people even today feed the poor on these days so that their forefathers get peace in their after lives.

  • Please site resources for your answer. Apr 28, 2016 at 17:57

Amavasya is [new] moon day and Purnima is full moon day in Hindu calendars. Both Amavasya and Purnima are considered equally strong in Hindu beliefs. In the olden days people would always fast on Amavasya. It is said that if one can fast on an Amavasya that is on a Monday then all their wishes will be fulfilled. It is believed that whatever you wish for will be granted if we fast on that day. The Vedas state that as full moon and no moon may have some influence on the human body this is exactly why on these days people are told to fast and this will ensure that the acidic content in their blood is reduced. Doing puja on a no moon and full moon day can also ensure that the people attain peace of mind and become calm. The purpose of fasting is not simply refraining from eating and drinking but refraining from evil speech thoughts and deeds…and to be in a state of worship even while asleep.

Having said that Fasting creates remarkable endurance in a person,a special feeling of empathy and a sense of equality between the rich and the poor.

Fasting occasionally, is a key to good health.

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