MOON (September 2008)
Moon has a very special connection with Hindus – it plays a personal and unique role in our lives. Not only Hindu calendars are lunar based but also our festivals and rituals are associated with Moon’s position.
Moon represents cool/’sheetaltaa’. It is called Chandra or Chand in Hindi. Moon is also considered lord of plants and vegetation, Vedic Lunar deity Soma. The Soma name refers to juices in plants and fruits.
The Hindu calendar measures time in lunar months. Lunar month is 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes and 3 minutes long. New moon night in Hindu religion is called ‘Amavasya’. It is the first night of the first quarter of the lunar month. It holds a great importance in Hinduism. Many Hindus choose this day to make offerings to the ancestors. No new beginnings or important ceremonies are held on this day.
Full moon night is called ‘Poornima’ in Hindi. It is considered an auspicious day in Hinduism. Many important rituals and festivals take place on full moon day. Special Pujas are performed in temples on ‘Poornima’ day including Satyanarayana Puja. Sharad Poornima, which is a harvest festival, is celebrated on full moon day of Ashwin month (comes in Sep-Oct). As the rainy season is over and the brightness of the full moon brings special joy, it is a celebration of the moon and is also called the Kaumudi celebration, Kaumudi meaning moonlight.
There are various festivals in which moon plays great significance. One such fast is Karvachauth. Married women observe this fast for long lives of their husbands. They eat food after seeing moon at night.
In Vedic astrology Chandra represents brain, mind, emotions, sensitivity, softness, imagination, queen and mother.