Purnima Purnima is the night of the full moon, while amavasya is the night of the new moon. These names are also often used to refer to the entire lunar cycle.
The word "amavasya" comes from two Sanskrit words: "a" which means no or void and "mavya" which means moon or light. Thus, it means the night when the moon is without a shadow. The word "purnima" comes from two Sanskrit words: "pur" which means full and "nimba" which means moon. Thus, it means the full moon night.
Purnima and Amavasya are important nights in Hinduism. On these nights religious rituals are performed across India to honor these days associated with gods.
There are several myths related to the origin of Amavasya. One of them says that on this night the god Shiva destroyed all creatures on earth except for Brahma who saved himself by entering a cave. Another myth has it that on this night Vishnu destroyed all creatures except for Lakshmi who was inside a palace. Yet another story says that on this night Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura who was an evil demon who had taken human form to fight against her.
Purnima is the name given to the full moon day that splits the month into two equal lunar fortnights (called Paksha). This day is regarded particularly favorable for beginning any labor, business, or other endeavor. Purnima is often referred to as Pournima or Poornima. The word purnima itself means "full moon".
The full moon of April or May is called Magha Phalguni in Hindu astronomy. It is celebrated as a harvest festival. In Japan, people celebrate the start of the spring season by viewing the new moon and eating noodles with sliced eggplant and pork products. In Korea, people celebrate the coming of spring by viewing the new moon and eating sweet potatoes filled with pine nuts.
The full moon of October or November is called Guru Poornima. It is regarded as an important religious date in India and Nepal. On this day, it is believed that God himself appeared before Prophet Mohamad (also known as Jesus Christ) on the shore of Lake Timsah. Jesus is said to have asked God to allow humans to read His words, which became the Bible. It is also believed that God has spoken through other prophets since then; all these teachings together form the holy book Islam.
The full moon of January or February is called Ashvinādi. It is the first night of the Indian summer period. People go out to enjoy the evening air by walking or riding bikes.
In India, the full moon on Wednesday is known as Jyeshtha Purnima. It is considered to be the greatest night of the year and many people worship the moon at these times.
The word "jyestha" means "auspicious" or "fortunate" and this name was given to the full moon because it is when the nights are longest during the summer season. The new moon can be seen whenever there is a crescent moon along with its two other faces: dark and light. But only on one of those three sides does it get darker from direct illumination alone. So on the jyestha purnima night, when the full moon is visible, it is believed to be blessed by Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration.
The full moon of June or July is called Jyeshtha in India because it is when the nights are longest during the summer season. According to myth, if you sleep under the light of the full moon you will wake up feeling happy even if you had nothing to eat or drink during the night.
People use the full moon to pray for prosperity, good health, a safe journey, etc.